The Big Ten race tightened up even more this week, and No. 10 Wisconsin and No. 24 Maryland head into their matchup Sunday afternoon in Madison, Wis., as part of a three-way tie for first place in the conference standings. Wisconsin lost its second straight game Thursday against Michigan, allowing the Terrapins and No. 16 Purdue to pull even atop the Big Ten with five regular season games remaining.
The Badgers played their last game without second-leading scorer Bronson Koenig, but the senior point guard practiced Friday and Saturday and appears ready to return from a left calf strain that also played a part in his two-point performance in last weekend’s loss to Northwestern. Maryland experienced its own two-game skid earlier this month, but has bounced back with quality wins against Ohio State and Northwestern to regain a share of first place. Melo Trimble is coming off his best game with the Terrapins, scoring a career-high 32 points Wednesday against Northwestern, shooting 12-for-17 from the floor. The 6-3 junior will likely match up with Koenig, who’s also considered a score-first point guard, and Koenig got the best of their last matchup, as Trimble shot 1-for-14 from the field in a 70-57 loss to the visiting Badgers last February. In a meeting a month earlier, Trimble hit a game-winning 3-pointer with 1.2 seconds left in a 63-60 victory at Wisconsin.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS
LINE HISTORY: Wisconsin hit the board as 6.5-point home chalk and they have been faded to the current number of -6. The total opened at 130.5. Check out the complete line history here.
Maryland – G Dion Wiley (Questionable, back)
Wisconsin – G Bronson Koenig (Questionable, calf), F Andy Van Vliet (Questionable, ankle)
ABOUT MARYLAND (22-4 SU, 14-7-3 ATS, 11-13 O/U): Trimble’s shooting struggles haven’t been limited to games against Wisconsin. He shot 2-for-14 in a three-point loss to Michigan State last season in a Big Ten Tournament semifinal, 5-for-16 in a loss to Kansas in the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 and 31 percent in the four games leading up to Wednesday’s win against Northwestern. Trimble averages 17.2 points for the Terrapins and the next highest scorer is 6-7 freshman forward Justin Jackson at 11 a game, leaving a wide gap in between.
ABOUT WISCONSIN (21-5 SU, 11-12 ATS, 9-13-1 O/U): Ethan Happ is the player who should cause difficulties for Maryland on the interior. The 6-10 sophomore forward averages a team-leading 14.5 points and 9.1 rebounds and has been on a bigger tear the last four weeks, averaging 18.4 points and 10.4 rebounds and should be able to use his foot speed to take advantage of Maryland 6-11 forward Damonte Dodd. Happ even leads the team in assists at 2.9 a game and has been better in that category of late too, combining for 11 in the last two games.
* Terrapins are 12-3-2 ATS in their last 17 games overall.
* Badgers are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
* Under is 4-0 in Terrapins last 4 Sunday games.
* Under is 4-1 in Badgers last 5 games following a straight up loss.
* Under is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings.
Check out the complete list of hot and cold trends here.
COVERS CONSENSUS: The early consensus is seeing a heavy majority of the public backing the underdog here, with the 71 percent of wagers backing Maryland. Click here for complete consensus data.