Breakdown: No.5 Wisconsin vs. No.14 Maryland

One game away from its first conference title in seven years, No.5 Wisconsin faces its toughest test of the Big Ten season tonight against No.14 Maryland in the Xfinity Center. BadgerNation takes a closer look a the Terps and how the Badgers are approaching their title fight.

No.5 Wisconsin (25-2, 13-1 Big Ten) vs. No.14 Maryland (22-5, 10-4 Big Ten)

Date/Time -Tuesday, February 24, 6 p.m. Central

Arena –Xfinity Center (17,950)

Television -ESPN (Mike Tirico, Jay Bilas and Quint Kessenich)

Radio - Wisconsin Radio Network (Matt Lepay and Mike Lucas)

Series – Wisconsin leads 5-2 (Series tied 1-1 in College Park, MD)

Last Meeting – Wisconsin won, 78-69, on November 25, 2009 in Maui, Hawaii

Wisconsin Probable Starters

10 Nigel Hayes (6-8 Sophomore Forward, 12.1 ppg)

15 Sam Dekker (6-9 Junior Forward, 13.1 ppg)

21 Josh Gasser (6-4 Senior Guard, 7.1 ppg)

24 Bronson Koenig (6-4 Sophomore Guard, 7.7 ppg)

44 Frank Kaminsky (7-0 Senior Forward, 17.7 ppg)

Off the Bench

3 Zak Showalter (6-2 Sophomore Guard, 2.3 ppg)

13 Duje Dukan (6-10 Senior Forward, 5.0 ppg)

30 Vitto Brown (6-8 Sophomore Guard, 2.2 ppg)

Maryland Probable Starters

2 Melo Trimble (6-3 Freshman Guard, 16.1 ppg)

10 Jake Layman (6-9 Junior Forward, 13.6 ppg)

20 Richaud Pack (6-4 Senior Guard, 6.6 ppg)

35 Damonte Dodd (6-11 Sophomore Forward, 3.9 ppg)

44 Dez Wells (6-5 Senior Guard, 14.6 ppg)

Off the Bench

1 Evan Smotrycz (6-9 Senior Forward, 4.9 ppg)

5 Dion Wiley (6-4 Freshman Guard, 4.9 ppg)

11 Jared Nickens (6-7 Freshman Forward, 6.1 ppg)

Last Meeting

LAHAINA, Hawaii — Jason Bohannon and Wisconsin went outside the arc to take down Maryland.

Bohannon scored 20 points and Jon Leuer added 16, leading the Badgers to a 78-69 victory over No. 21 Maryland in the third-place game of the Maui Invitational on Wednesday at the Lahaina Civic Center.

Trevon Hughes had 14 points for the Badgers (4-1), who made 10 of 22 3-pointers, including four by Bohannon.

"The difference was we hit more 3s and they didn't," Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said.

Greivis Vasquez led Maryland (4-2) with 18 points. He was 6 for 13 from the floor and 2-for-4 from beyond the arc.

"What hurt us today is that they shot 10 for 22 on their 3s, combined with us shooting 10 for 17 on free throws," Terrapins coach Gary Williams said. "That combination in a game like that isn't good."

Ryan said that while both teams are well-conditioned, it showed for his players in their long-range shooting.

"I attribute that to our hill running. Like our book says, this was another hill to climb," Ryan said. "Conditioning is big. I thought that showed here. Maryland does the same things and they are in good condition, too. But we hit our 3s on the third game in three days. The only way to do that is to have your legs and our guys had their legs."

Maryland scored the first seven points before Wisconsin answered with a 16-2 run to take a 16-9 lead with 11:59 left in the first half. Wisconsin stretched the lead to 37-27 at halftime.

Maryland pulled to 51-48 with just more than 10 minutes remaining, but got no closer. Led by Leuer's seven points, Wisconsin went on a 14-5 run to open a 65-53 lead with 5:51 to play. The Badgers led by at least seven the rest of the way.

Bohannon finished 4 for 5 from long range. Hughes went 5 for 17 from the floor, including 3 for 8 on 3s.Maryland was 5 for 13 on 3-pointers.

The Terrapins, the top-ranked team in the field coming in, beat only Division II tournament host Chaminade. Wisconsin left Maui with wins over Maryland and Arizona.

-Associated Press

Last Time Out

MADISON - Feeling in control virtually the entire second half, No.5 Wisconsin grinded out another conference victory – this one a 63-53 decision over Minnesota – to give the Badgers their best start in school history and push their winning streak to 10.

With two weeks and four games left in the Big Ten season, Wisconsin (25-2, 13-1 Big Ten) enters its challenging closing stretch with a three game lead over Maryland, Michigan State and Purdue and can clinch a share of the conference title – its first in seven years – with a win at the Terrapins Tuesday.

Senior center Frank Kaminsky took another step toward Big Ten Player of the Year honors with 21 points, but the UW offense – as it has been the routine during conference play - didn’t sag when Kaminsky wasn’t scoring. Registering 12 points in the first 9:44, Kaminsky didn’t score the rest of the half but UW added two points to its halftime lead.

The Gophers (16-12, 5-10) had been killed from 3-point range in their last two losses (giving up a combined 33 3-pointers), but the Badgers shot faked them to death and attacked the paint. Wisconsin shot 53.1 percent (17-for-32) on two-point field goals, scored 28 points in the paint and scored points – 12 in all - off all five first-half offensive rebounds.

Kaminsky finished 9-for-13 shooting, including a 3-pointer with 10:35 remaining (one of only six made 3-pointers for Wisconsin) that pushed the lead to 15 points and put it on cruise control from there.

Bronson Koenig added a career-high 17 points three days after he finished with five points – his lowest as a starter – on 2-of-10 shooting. In the 11 games as a starter, Koenig has reached double figures nine times.

- Benjamin Worgull,

Series Notes

In College Park, UW claimed a 22-13 decision in 1932 and suffered a 73-67 overtime loss in the 2003 Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

Bo Ryan owns a 2-2 record against Maryland, having defeated the Terps, 78-69, at the 2009 Maui Invitational in the most recent meeting.

The Badgers and Terrapins have met in some noteworthy circumstances over the last 15 years. Wisconsin’s 78-75 overtime win in the 2000 Big Ten/ ACC Challenge marked Dick Bennett’s final game coaching at UW. The 2002 meeting, an 87-57 Terps win, came in the second round of the NCAA tournament en route to Maryland’s 2002 National Championship.

In the summer of 2012, Layman and Dekker were teammates on the under-18 United States national team that beat host Brazil for the gold medal in the FIBA Americas championships. Layman averaged 7.6 points per game in the tournament.

Wisconsin Notes

Wisconsin is 27-6 (.818) away from home over the last two seasons (11-1 this season), owning the most road/neutral wins and 2nd-best win pct. away from home among major conference teams.

Wisconsin has now won 25 games for just the eighth time in school history. All eight occurrences have come with Bo Ryan at the helm.

The Badgers’ 10-game Big Ten win streak puts them in pretty exclusive company. Over the last eight seasons, only four teams have owned a Big Ten win streak of at least 10 games. The last Big Ten team to win at least 10 conference games was Ohio State’s 11 game winning streak to open the 2010-11 season.

With a career-high 22 points Wednesday at Penn State, junior Sam Dekker is making a push for First-Team All-Big. He is averaging 14.0 ppg and 5.9 rpg while shooting 52.8 percent during league play.

The 2014 Sixth Man of the Year, Nigel Hayes is now a starter and averaging 12.1 ppg and 6.5 rpg this season. He is shooting 52.8 percent on the season and 40.7 percent (11-27) on 3-point field goals during B1G play.

Maryland Notes

The Terps have been ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 poll for 13 straight weeks, the longest streak since 2002-03 when they were ranked all 19 weeks. Maryland was ranked 73 consecutive weeks from 1999-2003.

Wells, Layman and Trimble are combining to average 44.3 points per game this season. Maryland is one of only two teams in the league (Indiana) to boast three players averaging 13.5 points or more per contest. All three players have scored in double-figures during Maryland’s current three-game win streak.

Trimble was named one of 16 watch list finalists for the 2015 Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced Feb. 21. Trimble has scored 20 or more points a team-high eight times this season, including three of the last four games. He is averaging 21 points per game during that span, shooting .615 from the floor (24-for-39) with a .906 mark from the charity stripe (29-for-32).

Wells has scored in double-figures in seven straight games, posting 16.9 points per game during that span. Wells is also on pace for a career best in single-season scoring average (14.6).

Maryland ranks seventh in the nation in free throws made (481) and 31st in attempts (643). Trimble is sixth in the nation in free throws made (167) and 12th in attempts (190). He is currently first in the Big Ten in free throw percentage (.879). Wisconsin opponents are just 210-313 (.671).


Wisconsin is bored.

That was the assumption of ESPN color analyst, a former college coach, Dan Dakich during the telecast of the Badgers’ latest triumph – a 63-53 victory over Minnesota – to push their winning streak to 10.

After all, according to Ken Pomeroy’s efficiency rankings, the Badgers are the nation’s No. 1 offense, averaging 123.5 points per 100 possessions. During Big Ten play, UW ranks second in the conference in scoring (71.2 ppg); leads the league in field goal percentage (.477) and assist-to-TO ratio (1.9), while ranking fifth in the league in 3-point field goal defense (.361).

Throw in the fact that Wisconsin’s defense has come around as of later (five straight opponents limited to 55 points or less) and winning eight of the last 10 games by double digits, the Badgers – now one game away from a share of a Big Ten title – must just be biding their time as they get to March, right?


“I’m not bored at all,” said Gasser. “It’s not easy out there. Just because we’re winning, we’re still fighting. We’re still playing really hard. It’s never boring winning. It might be boring if we’re losing games and you can’t find a way to win them.”

That hasn’t been the case for Wisconsin, considering the Badgers have won by an average margin of victory of 13.9 points on their winning streak. Need more proof of UW’s recent dominance? The Badgers have won four of the games wire-to-wire and haven’t trailed by more than four points (Jan.15 vs. Nebraska).

“It’s never easy,” Gasser insisted. “To get up for every game, knowing that we’re playing for a championship, that’s fun. That’s not boring at all. I know we’ve been winning pretty comfortably, but still, some of the guys, some of the teams around the league are really good. We’ve just played well.”

While Dekker admits there’s been times the Badgers have relaxed after building a big lead, the junior was honest that a team doesn’t win 10 straight conference games without being sharp. A fine edge will be needed over the final two weeks of the Big Ten season for Wisconsin, which has the toughest closing kick in the league.

Holding a three-game lead over Maryland, Purdue (18-9, 10-4) and Michigan State (19-8, 10-4) with four games remaining, Wisconsin has Michigan State Sunday, play at Minnesota (16-12, 5-10) on March 5 and then close at Ohio State (19-8, 8-6) on March 8.

“We said one of our goals was to win a Big Ten championship, and it’s right in front of us now,” said Kaminsky. “We’ve got to go out there and take it. Obviously it’ll be a great accomplishment, but we’re looking to close out this Big Ten season.”

Kaminsky says it’s “awesome” for Wisconsin to be so close to one of its goals, but Gasser calls himself a pessimist.

“It’s great to know we’re this close, but we’re still so far away,” said Gasser. “I’m always looking at what could happen potentially. A lot of things could happen, so we just have to keep taking care of our own business.”

The business at hand tonight is arguably the toughest UW will face this Big Ten season. Newcomers to the league this season with Rutgers, the Terrapins have been tough at home, holding a 16-1 overall record (the only loss coming to No.2 Virginia by nine points) and are 7-0 in league play.

The Terps are also battle tested. In games decided by six points or less, Maryland is 8-0, which includes wins in its last three games and a double overtime battle at Michigan State to open the conference season.

“Maryland just knows how to win,” said Gasser. “They’ve been in some really close games off their court and at home, especially. They know how to win. They have a veteran group of guys, tough kids over there and they’re obviously talented. We have to be ready to go for that.”

On the flip side, Wisconsin has been fairly comfortable this season. The Badgers are only 2-1 in games decided by no more than six and haven’t played one in a month (a 69-64 overtime win at Michigan Jan.24), but Kaminsky points out that the Badgers’ veteran group has been in virtually every time of game situation there is over their careers.

“We’ve been tested enough,” he said. “We know we’re a good team. We know they’re a good team. That’s all we’re concerned about. We can look at how they’ve played over the last however many games and try to find things that may or may not happen. We’re going to prepare for them like they’re the best team in the country, like we do with everyone.”

This will be like a road nonconference game for Wisconsin, playing in a new place with new scenery and new fans. Both Dekker and Gasser are expecting tonight to also be a lot like last year’s regular season finale at Nebraska. Needing a win to give its NCAA tournament chances a considerable boost, the Huskers shot a blistering 52 percent and held Wisconsin to under 43 percent in an arena that was loud from start to finish.

Maryland appears locked into a NCAA tournament bid, but the Terrapins want to make a statement in their first year in the league by knocking off the league’s top dog.

“We’ve accomplished a lot of things so far but we still haven’t won anything,” said Kaminsky. “We’re so close to winning a Big Ten championship, but we have more goals past that. That’s one of those stepping stones to achieving something greater.”

I have yet to pick Wisconsin to lose this season, but my gut is telling me otherwise. Combine a new environment with a tough team that shoots free throws well, I think the Badgers fall tonight by four.

Worgull's Record: 25-2

Points off Prediction: 198 (7.3 per game)

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