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Purdue at Maryland: Preview, Odds, & How to Watch

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Purdue faces its toughest opponent to date as it tries to stay alive in the Big Ten race.

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Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

This is Purdue's most difficult game of the last eight.

That is the obvious when you look at the rankings. Purdue is playing on the road at a top 5 team, so of course it is going to be difficult. Honestly, I am expecting a loss because it is tough to win anywhere on the road in this conference, let alone at one of the best teams in the league. It is a chance to score a huge resume-boosting win, however. A win also keeps alive Purdue's small chances to win at least a share of the Big Ten. If Purdue can get this game then it should be able to win any of its remaining games.

My biggest concern, honestly, is the officiating. Diamond Stone is a great player to be sure. Unfortunately, he has been protected by the officials in close games even more than Jared Sullinger famously was. Against Penn State he had 39 points, but the Nittany Lions were winning by 13 with six and a half minutes left before Stone attempted nine free throws and a total of 25 in the game. That is... suspicious. A questionable foul call in overtime against Northwestern was a big factor in Maryland's win there.

There is nothing more aggravating when certain players are protected by officials, especially as freshmen. All I ask for here is an evenly called game. I am grateful that Ted Valentine and Bo Boroski are safely elsewhere on Saturday. I am convinced that Isaac Haas and A.J. Hammons would be stepping off the bus with two fouls each if they were involved. Purdue has a great chance here against a team that has had a habit of playing to its competition.

Opponent

Maryland Terrapins

Location:

College Park, MD

Date:

2/6/2016

Venue:

Xfinity Center (17,950)

TV:

ESPN

Radio Stream:

TuneIn

Satellite Radio:

SIRI 136, XM

Odds:

No Line Yet

Tickets:

As low as $85 on Stubhub

Tipoff:

4:00pm

KenPom Ranking:

9 of 351

RPI:

7

Blog Representation:

Testudo Times

2015-16 Record:

20-3, 9-2 Big Ten

All-time series

Maryland leads 1-0

Last Purdue win:

None

Last Maryland Win:

69-60 at Purdue on 1/10/2015

2014-15 Record:

28-7, 14-4 Big Ten (lost to West Virginia in NCAA Second Round

Last NCAA appearance:

2015 (25 appearances), 2002 NCAA Champion

Coach:

Mark Turgeon (107-53 in 5th year at Maryland, 357-212 overall, 1-1 vs. Purdue)

Perhaps I spent too much time harping on the officials in the introduction, but I have seen it way too many times in the Big Ten. Sullinger was notorious for getting protected, especially by TV Teddy, and from what I have seen of Stone he is going down the same path (yet no Purdue player EVER receives the same consideration). Maryland is still a very, very good team that has had some close calls, but has gotten the job done when it matters.

First off, the Terrapins are undefeated at home this season. Losses at North Carolina, Michigan, and Michigan State are more than forgivable. Their top 5 ranking is earned, as they are the only Big Ten team that has successfully beaten Iowa.

That's not to say there have been struggles. They only beat a highly over-rated Georgetown team by 4 and struggled to beat Rider by 7. Penn State had them beaten in the Big Ten opener before collapsing late. Northwestern took them to overtime in College Park, while Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Nebraska played them tight on the road.

One of the things that makes Maryland so good is their balanced offense. All five starters average in double figures lied by Melo Trimble. Trimble, simply put, is a Big Ten Player of the Year candidate. He averages 14.8 points and 5.3 assists whiles shooting 47.2% from the field and 86.5% from the line. I think one of the things that makes Trimble so scary is not his averages, but his potential. He is one of those players that can explode for 25-30 on any given night and just be completely dominant.

Stone, a highly touted freshman, has averaged 13 points and 5.7 rebounds per game and presents a fascinating matchup with Hammons and Haas. Michigan State held him in check with 6 points and six rebounds on only three shot attempts. Against Penn State he had 39 points on 10 of 15 shooting and 19 of 25 shooting from the line as he generally ran amok. I suspect Purdue can keep him somewhere in the middle.

Robert Carter, Jake Layman, and Rasheed Sulaimon provide an excellent 3-5 that shoot the ball very well. Sulaimon is an impressive 47.7% from three. Layman led Maryland with 14 in the win over Purdue last year, getting to the line 11 times. He can hit well from long range as well as Trimble. That is what will likely be the deciding factor in this game. Maryland shoots 36.5% from three and has three players averaging over 34%. They will test Purdue's perimeter defense and have the interior presence in Stone to make the Boilers choose what the priority is on defense. Fortunately, Purdue is one of the few teams with a weapon (Hammons) that can handle Stone by himself.

The Terps don't get a lot from their bench every night. Jared Nickens is the top bench scorer at 5.6 points per game, but he is a 34% three-point shooter. Damonte Dodd is an experienced veteran big man at 6'11" that does a good job of spelling Stone.

Maryland is also one of the top defensive teams in the Big Ten at just 64.2 points per game given up. Only Purdue and Michigan State are better. If it is a close game they have an advantage as the best free throw shooting team in the Big Ten and they are second in field goal percentage behind Indiana.

If there is a weakness with Maryland it is that they turn the ball over. Against Nebraska on Wednesday the Cornhuskers stayed alive because Maryland could not hold on to the basketball. Only Michigan State has a worse turnover margin in the Big Ten.

This is a very big game for Purdue because it is the type of game the Boilers are going to need to win in March if they are going to go beyond the second weekend. It goes beyond the Big Ten at this point. Yes, Purdue is 19-4, which is very good, but there are still naysayers because of the Illinois loss and collapse at home against Iowa. There are still those that will attack Painter for lack of adjustments and inability to beat excellent teams like Maryland. This is a chance to get a statement win and should be a very, very good game against a quality opponent. I have no doubt that Purdue can hang with the Terrapins and that they are capable of winning. It is awfully tough to win at Maryland, however, and I expect the Terps to show us why.