Two of the top teams in the Big Ten – and the country, for that matter – square off Thursday when Maryland hosts Iowa in an intriguing matchup between Final Four contenders. The fourth-ranked Hawkeyes are aiming for their 10th straight victory, while the No. 8 Terrapins suffered their worst loss of the season at Michigan State last time out.
Maryland shot 38.6 percent and missed 19 of its 27 3-pointers in its loss to the Spartans, and getting outrebounded by 10 didn’t help matters either. “We know what we have to do to win this league and get better as a team every day,” forward Robert Carter Jr. told reporters. “We don’t want to drop two in a row. We feel like we have an opportunity to get back on track.” It won’t be easy, with Iowa the league’s only unbeaten team in conference play and owner of two wins against the same Spartans group that just defeated the Terps. No. 21 Purdue was no match for Iowa on Sunday as Jarrod Uthoff led the Hawkeyes with 22 points while Adam Woodbury notched 13 and 10 boards.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
LINE HISTORY: The line has yet to move since hitting the board, with Maryland pegged as 4-point favorites. The total opened at 146.5.
Iowa – F D. Jones (out for season, knee).
Maryland – G D. Wiley (out for season, knee).
WHAT SHARPS SAY: “Iowa has seemingly been a team on a mission this season. Not only did they beat Michigan State once this season, they did it for a second time out in East Lansing. The Hawkeyes are getting it done on both sides of the ball and are one of the more balanced teams in the country.” – Covers Expert SPS Investors.
ABOUT IOWA (16-3, 10-6 ATS, 10-6 O/U): After shooting 37.2 percent from 3-point range as a junior, Uthoff is up to 48.3 percent this year, including a 15-of-27 clip over the last five games. He has reached 20 points in five of his last six outings, while Peter Jok has shot at least 50 percent in four straight games after failing to do so in his previous five contests. Woodbury enters on the heels of three straight double-digit scoring performances, averaging 12.3 points and nine boards on 66.6 percent shooting in this contests.
ABOUT MARYLAND (17-3, 9-11 ATS, 9-10-1 O/U): The Terps are 9-0 following a loss the last two seasons, but they’ll need a strong effort from Trimble to extend that streak. The sophomore guard had a pair of disappointing games in mid-January but has rebounded nicely with 42 points over the last two games. “(Trimble) is just as dangerous when he’s looking for shots for himself as he is when he’s loading other people up,” said Iowa coach Fran McCaffery. “Those are the toughest guys to guard, especially when they can stop behind a screen and make a 3; he can put up points in a hurry.”
* Iowa is 8-0 ATS in their last 8 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
* Maryland is 0-5 ATS in their last 5 Thursday games.
* Over is 4-1 in Iowa’s last 5 overall.
* Under is 6-1 in Maryland’s last 7 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
COVER CONSENSUS: The public is fairly split in this matchup of Top 10 teams, with 52 percent of bettors giving Maryland the slight edge. Bettors love the over here, with 73 percent of wagers on it.