Northwestern at Maryland Preview & Free Pick [2/26/2023]

Northwestern (20-8) at Maryland (19-9)
When: Sunday, February 26th 2023
Where: Xfinity Center,
College Park, MD

Time: 12:00 ET | TV: BGTN
Opening Odds: Maryland -6.5/131

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The race for the Big Ten regular season title is probably over. Purdue has a two-game lead entering Saturday’s action, but two teams who recently beat the Boilermakers will square-off Sunday afternoon in College Park, as the Maryland Terrapins host the Northwestern Wildcats. Neither team was expected to do much this seasons, but both are headed to the NCAA Tournament next month, barring a collapse. Northwestern was picked by many to finish second-to-last in the conference, but they are in second place behind Purdue and will have their first winning season since 2016-17.

The Wildcats saw their six-game winning streak come to an end on Thursday in heart-breaking fashion. They led Illinois by 16 points with 11 minutes left and ended up losing 66-62. During the six-game run, Northwestern was an underdog in every single game. Both the Wildcats and Terps are 18-10 ATS on the season. Maryland has won eight of 10 and are coming off an 88-70 home win over lowly Minnesota. That improve the Terrapins to 15-1 at home and 12-4 ATS on the season at Xfinity Center. These teams split their encounters last season and this will be the only regular season meeting this year.

Illinois missed their first 11 tries from the 3-point line, but made 7-of-13 down the stretch to stun Northwestern on Thursday night. Boo Buie scored a career-high 35 points for the Wildcats but the rest of the team was horrible. The other four starters combined for just 14 points on 5-of-26 shooting and the bench did nothing either. Northwestern finished at 34.9 percent shooting from the floor and were outrebounded 40-31. The Wildcats rank 340th out of 358 Division I teams in shooting the basketball (40.8 percent). The defense keeps them in games and winning. They rank 21st in points allowed (62.0) and 37th in defensive field goal percentage (40.8). Northwestern will host Penn State next Wednesday.

Maryland is coming off one of their best offensive efforts of the season, shooting 68.1 percent from the floor and made 7 of 13 shots from beyond the arc in the blowout win over Minnesota. Julian Reese led the way with 21 points, while Hakim Hart and Donta Scott scored 20 and 18 points respectively. The trio went a combined 22-of-28 from the floor. Like Northwestern, Maryland is not a very good offensive team overall, but play terrific defense. The Terps allow just 63.0 points a game, but have allowed 70 in each of their last two contests. Maryland will close the season next week at Ohio State and at Penn State.

These teams are pretty equally matched and both are playing well. I’ll take Northwestern and the points, thinking this will be a low scoring game between bad offenses and solid defenses.

Pick: Northwestern +6.5

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