Here’s what you need to know about the No. 7 Maryland men’s basketball team’s game vs. Northwestern on Tuesday:
Time: 8 p.m.
Location: Xfinity Center, College Park
TV/Video: Big Ten Network
Radio: 105.7 FM, 980 AM, SiriusXM 83, TuneIn Radio App (Johnny Holliday, Chris Knoche)
Records: Maryland (21-4, 11-3 Big Ten) vs. Northwestern (6-18, 1-13)
Line: Maryland by 13 (as of Tuesday morning)
What to watch
1. How do the Terps come out facing another lowly Big Ten opponent?
Before an anticipated Big Ten matchup on the road this weekend, the Terps will host Northwestern, a team that sits at the bottom of conference standings.
If the situation sounds familiar, that’s because it is.
Last week, before Maryland headed to East Lansing to face Michigan State, it had to take care of Nebraska at home. For one half, the Terps looked focused and locked in, building a 14-point lead early into the second half.
But the Cornhuskers fought back, taking the Terps to the brink of a huge conference upset. Coach Mark Turgeon said he didn’t have his team ready to play Nebraska but his players should enter Tuesday night’s game knowing the Wildcats won’t be an easy out. Last month, Maryland found itself down 14 at the half in Evanston before rallying to beat Northwestern for its first true road win of the season.
“I know [Northwestern’s] record, but they’ve been pretty good on the road,” Turgeon said. “We just let that game [against Nebraska] sneak up on us the other day, and we didn’t finish it the right way, twice. ... Hopefully we’ll learn from that and finish the game a little bit better.”
2. How does Maryland defend Pat Spencer?
In the team’s first matchup with Northwestern, graduate transfer Pat Spencer (Boys’ Latin), a former lacrosse player for Loyola Maryland, recorded a team-high 17 points and nine rebounds. Spencer scored 11 of Northwestern’s 26 points in the second half.
This season, Spencer is Northwestern’s second-leading scorer (10.2 points per game) and leads the team with 3.8 assists.
“He’s kind of on the bigger side of the guards,” senior guard Anthony Cowan Jr. said. “Likes to really post up. He’s very talented, on both ends of the floor. So I think we’ve all just got to be aware of him.”
3. Who steps up from the bench options?
The search for more depth outside of Maryland’s top six players continues with three weeks left in the regular season. Against Michigan State on Saturday, sophomore forward Ricky Lindo Jr. registered eight minutes after not playing in last Tuesday’s win against Nebraska.
Redshirt junior forward Joshua Tomaic and sophomore guard Serrel Smith Jr. logged one minute apiece in the first half. Outside of sophomore guard Aaron Wiggins, every starter played at least 32 minutes, including Cowan, who played a game-high 37 minutes.
Before the team’s practice on Monday, Turgeon said he would “try some things today in practice I’ve never tried before. Hopefully it works, hopefully it gives more guys confidence.”