What to Expect: Indiana vs. Maryland
Indiana will begin Big Ten tournament play on Friday night against Maryland at the United Center in Chicago. The Terrapins are 21-11 and are the No. 6 seed in the tournament. Maryland beat Minnesota 70-54 on Thursday night.
Friday’s tip is scheduled for approximately 9 p.m. ET on BTN:
Indiana’s win on Sunday against Michigan at Assembly Hall secured a double-bye for the Hoosiers in this week’s Big Ten tournament, but the Hoosiers didn’t learn their opponent until late Thursday night.
Maryland finished 11-9 in conference play and advanced to the quarterfinals by knocking off No. 14 seed Minnesota in the final of four games on Thursday at the United Center.
Both teams are locks to make this year’s NCAA tournament, but the Hoosiers will be looking to avenge a regular-season loss to the Terrapins in College Park.
THE FIRST MEETING
Maryland’s defense thoroughly dominated Indiana on Jan. 31 at the Xfinity Center.
The Hoosiers scored only 55 points in an 11-point loss to the Terps and managed only .89 points per possession. From an offensive efficiency standpoint, it was Indiana’s worst performance in all of Big Ten play.
The struggles of Jalen Hood-Schifino were a major reason for IU’s offensive struggles. The freshman scored only three points and committed four turnovers in 34 minutes. Hood-Schifino shot just 1-for-14 from the field.
Free throws and 3-point shooting were also pivotal in the loss. The Hoosiers were outscored by 15 points at the free throw line and only attempted 11 3-pointers in the game against Maryland’s zone defense. The Terrapins attempted 17 more free throws in the win and had a free throw rate (FTA/FGA) of 55 percent compared to just 21 for Indiana.
Indiana also struggled to contain Jahmir Young, who finished with a game-high 20 points. Donta Scott added 19 points, but needed 18 field goal attempts to get there. Scott did, however, outplay Race Thompson and Malik Reneau. Thompson was still working his way back from injury then, and Reneau fouled out in 13 minutes.
What did work for Indiana in the loss was the play of Trayce Jackson-Davis.
Despite a valiant effort to keep the ball out of his hands, the IU senior still scored 18 points with 20 rebounds, two assists, a blocked shot and a steal in 38 minutes. Jackson-Davis shot 7-for-13 from the field and 4-for-5 from the free throw line.
All stats are from conference play only and include all 20 Big Ten regular season games.
Maryland finished the Big Ten season with a better offense and defense than Indiana despite finishing a game behind in the standings. The Terps played the slowest pace of any team in the conference and dictated the tempo of the first meeting, which was just 62 possessions. That was the lowest number of possession in a game for IU in 31 regular season contests.
The Terps finished in the top five of the league at forcing turnovers and Indiana was 11th in the conference. In the first meeting, Indiana turned it over 12 times compared to just five for Maryland. For Indiana to prevail, the Hoosiers will need to do a much better job at handling the pressure from the Terrapin guards.
The free throw line also looms large. Indiana ranked last in the Big Ten in opponent free throw rate (FTA/FGA) in league play and Maryland was the third-best Big Ten team at getting to the line. Rebounding will also be key. Indiana was the 12th-best defensive rebounding team in the Big Ten and Maryland had some success on the offensive boards, ranking sixth in the league in offensive rebounding percentage.
The one caveat with Maryland is the Terps did most of their best work this season at home. Maryland went 2-1 in neutral court games in the regular season with wins against Saint Louis and Miami (FL) and a loss to Tennessee. Maryland’s only road wins came against Louisville and Minnesota, the two worst major conference teams on its schedule.
WHAT IT COMES DOWN TO
The KenPom projection is Maryland by two with a 46 percent chance of an IU victory.
Maryland had a balanced performance on Thursday against Minnesota as four players finished in double figures, led by 20 from Scott. The Terps, as they typically do, forced turnovers (15) and got to the foul line (20 attempts) against the Gophers.
If Indiana is going to avenge its loss from late January in College Park, the Hoosiers are going to need to handle Maryland’s pressure and get a much better performance from Hood-Schifino and the rest of the supporting cast. Look for Maryland to try to force the supporting cast to step up and make shots while trying to force the ball out of the hands of Jackson-Davis.
(Photo credit: IU Athletics)