Maryland (16-2, 4-1) at Iowa (11-8, 3-3)
When: Thursday, January 19th 2017
Where: Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City, IA
Time: 7:00 ET | TV: ESPN
The Maryland Terrapins look to take sole possession of first place in the Big Ten when they visit the Iowa Hawkeyes on Thursday night. Maryland has won three straight including road victories over Michigan and Illinois to move back into the Top 25. They can move ahead of No. 17 Wisconsin in the conference standings with a victory tonight. Maryland, which has won nine of its last 10 games, beat the Hawkeyes 74-68 in a top 10 matchup last season and hopes to improve to 4-0 in true road games this season. Anthony Cowan led the Terrapins with a career-high 19 points to go along with seven rebounds while Jaylen Brantley came off the bench to score 12 second-half points in the win over Illinois. Junior forward Michal Cekovsky, who is averaging 10 points per game this season, missed his fifth consecutive game because of an ankle injury but could be available Thursday after his walking boot on his right foot was removed last week. Maryland has won eight games by six points or fewer this season and will host lowly Rutgers on Sunday.
The Hawkeyes are licking their wounds after an embarrassing 89-54 loss at Northwestern on Sunday. Iowa is coming off their best win of the season against No. 22 Purdue 83-78 on January 12th suffered their worst loss in the 112-year series with the Wildcats, and hope to avoid dropping below .500 in conference play for the third time this season. Iowa guard Peter Jok leads the Big Ten in scoring at 21.9 points per game, but was held to a season-low four points on 2-of-9 shooting from the field against Northwestern. Iowa coach Fran McCaffery revealed after the game that Jok was battling a back injury, but is expected to dress against the Terrapins. Sophomore forward Dale Jones practiced for the first time since fracturing his wrist in the season-opener on November 17th. Tyler Cook continued his solid play since returning from an injury to his shooting hand as he scored 14 points and pulled down five rebounds while Ryan Kriener added a career-high 14 points off the bench against Northwestern. Iowa won seven straight games at Carver-Hawkeye Arena and four of their last five against ranked opponents overall.
Iowa really doesn’t shoot very well and is terrible on defense. I can’t see them getting much going against a very underrated and solid Maryland team. I don’t like going against a small home favorite, but I think Maryland wins this one.
Pick: Maryland +1.5