Undefeated Maryland will face another grind-it-out test when the No. 13 Terrapins visit defensive-minded Wisconsin on Tuesday in a Big Ten matchup at the Kohl Center in Madison.
Maryland (8-0, 1-0 Big Ten) took down No. 16 Illinois 71-66 on Friday and the Terps were rewarded by poll voters this week, moving up nine spots. Wisconsin (6-2, 0-0) outlasted in-state rival Marquette 80-77 in overtime on Saturday.
Maryland is 8-0 overall for the first time since 2019-20 when the Terps won the Big Ten championship.
Jahmir Young had a season-high 24 points and Hakim Hart added 17 in Maryland’s win over Illinois. The Terps also got to the free-throw line, making 14 of 18, while the Illini were 7 of 8. On the season, Maryland has hit 127 free throws, 10 more than opponents have attempted.
“We still have a long way to go, obviously,” first-year Maryland coach Kevin Willard said. “But I think everyone got a glimpse of how hard these guys have worked, the attitude they’ve had and what this program is not only about now, but what it’s going to be about in the future. So, it’s really cool to be 8-0.”
Donta Scott leads Maryland in scoring at 15.4 points per game, with Young averaging 15.1, Hart 13.8, and Julian Reese with 12.6 points and a team-best 7.8 rebounds. The Terps, shooting 49 percent from the floor on the season, are outscoring opponents by 19.8 points per game.
The Badgers have won the last two against Maryland, including 70-69 last season behind Tyler Wahl’s 21 points. Wisconsin has won seven of the last 10 vs. the Terps, with the last eight games decided by eight points or fewer.
Wisconsin’s last five games have been decided by five points or fewer. The Badgers lost to No. 9 Kansas 69-68 in overtime in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament, and lost at home 78-75 to Wake Forest.
Wisconsin led Marquette by 11 at the half behind Chucky Hepburn, who had 16 points before the break. But Hepburn left in the opening seconds of the second half with a lower body injury, before returning with just under seven minutes remaining
The Badgers struggled without Hepburn on the court.
“An all-conference point guard, that’s what’s missing,” said Wisconsin coach Greg Gard. “That’s not just his play, but how he impacts the game for everybody else. He’s accustomed to playing with those guys, they’re accustomed to having him on the floor.”
Wahl leads the Badgers with 14.5 points and 7.1 boards per game. After an early-season shooting slump, Hepburn has scored 59 points in the last three games, making 21 of 41 shots, including 14 of 23 from 3-point range.
Freshman Connor Essegian has added double-digit scoring off the bench in each of the last five games for Wisconsin.
Wisconsin is allowing 59.9 points per game. The Badgers are 68-8 under Gard when allowing 60 points or fewer, including 5-0 this season.
–Field Level Media