Let’s jump right into the matchups on the lower half of the bracket that will see Northwestern take on Penn State and Maryland versus Indiana.
Game 9 | #10 Penn State vs. #2 Northwestern | 5:30pm CT
Penn State looked good against a very good Illinois team as the players around Jalen Pickett played very well with Seth Lundy going for 17 points and 10 rebounds while Andrew Funk scored a game high 20 points. Camren Wynter also chipped in 18 points for Penn State but they didn’t get much production out of their bench, which has been an issue for most of the season. Penn State shot to their average behind the arc going 8-12 (38%) and if they can keep that or shoot better, they have a great chance of solidifying their position in the NCAA Tourney by getting to the semi-finals of the B1G Tourney.
Northwestern received a double bye as the 2nd seeded team from the regular season and are led by Second Team All B1G Guard Boo Buie who averaged 17.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 4.3 assists on the season. He is supported mainly by Chase Audige who was also on the Second Team All B1G and averaged 14.1 points per game. The Wildcats also don’t get a lot of support from their bench and will need another scorer against the Nittany Lions if they want to make the semi-finals and garner as high a seed as possible for the NCAA Tourney.
In the end, Jalen Pickett is too good of a player and PSU has more around him when it comes to shot making with Lundy and Wynter having been good, as of late. I’ll take the Fighting’ Micah Shrewsberry’s to make the semi-finals.
Penn State: 70
Game 10 | #6 Maryland vs. #4 Indiana | 25 minutes after Game 9
Well, it would appear the only team that will face a higher seed at any point of the tourney so far is Indiana. After lower seeds won the first 5 games, Maryland beat Minnesota Thursday night to have a shot at the Hoosiers to make the semi-finals. These teams met only once in the regular season and Maryland won a very ugly game 66-55 but that game was at Maryland and we all know the Terps play differently when at home this season.
Maryland is led by Jahmir Young who will give Indiana’s guards a difficult time as he not only scores in bunches but can setup teammates behind the arc and at the rim. Averaging 16.3 points per game and 3.2 assists, Young had 15 points in their win against Minnesota but the combination of Julian Reese, Donta Scott, and Donald Carey combined to score 41 points. If they can get that kind of production from their other starters, it will make it very difficult for Indiana to beat the Terps.
The Hoosiers enter their first game of the 2023 B1G Tourney alternating wins and losses for the last 8 games. With that trend, this Maryland game could be a loss for the Hoosiers who are looking to get even on the season against the Terrapins after dropping their first meeting in January. The Hoosiers are led by Trayce Jackson-Davis but the emergence of Jalen Hood-Schifino late in the season made the Hoosiers incredibly difficult to defend. Hood-Schifino is a pro shot maker from all over the court and his ability to get into the lane and hit mid-range jumpers opens up the offense for the players around him, specifically sharpshooters Miller Kopp and Trey Galloway who both shoot over 45% from three on the season.
This is a game that could easily swing either way but the presence of Jackson-Davis in the middle ends up pushing the Hoosiers past the Terrapins oveall.