Preview: Maryland men’s basketball looks to bounce back at home vs. Minnesota

Minnesota (7-18, 1-14) vs. Maryland (18-9, 9-7)

When: Wednesday, February 22

Where: Xfinity Center

TV: BTN – Mike Hall (pxp), Stephen Bardo (analyst)

Radio: 105.7 (Baltimore), 980AM (DC)

Spread: Maryland -16

Maryland will put Sunday’s overtime loss to bed when they look to bounce back at home versus Minnesota on Wednesday evening.

Maryland has won the last eight against the Gophers and leads the all-time series 14-2 with the return matchup nearly three weeks after the Terps’ 35-point win in The Barn. Still, Maryland will look to remain undefeated at home through conference play as head coach Kevin Willard looks to prepare his team against a squad that returns leading scorer Dawson Garcia. “I think what Dawson [Garcia] brings them is, … they’re very long and athletic on the front line now,” Willard said on Tuesday. “[Jamison] Battle is long and physical, Garcia’s physical, … they were undersized and small the first time we played them, … I’ve been impressed with the way they have played defensively since Garcia has been back.”

Garcia isn’t alone as threats on the offensive end after Battle dropped 31 points, including 22 in the second-half, in Monday’s road loss against Illinois while forward Joshua Ola-Joseph has scored 11 points in three straight games. Guard Ta’Lon Cooper is the third and final Gopher averaging double figures with an even ten points per contest on 40% shooting, but the Terps will lean back on their defensive identity to stifle the Gophers. Minnesota shot just 34.2% from the field, including 14.3% from deep, in the first matchup as Maryland dominated for 40 minutes.

Despite the loss, sophomore forward Julian Reese finished with a quiet 16 points and 16 rebounds in the overtime loss against Nebraska, marking his fourth double-double of the season. “He’s really not a center, he’s more of a power forward, but if you look at the bigs in this league, he’s in the upper-half,” Willard added.

While they won’t get a chance to redeem themselves tonight, Willard knows his team has one big question that still needs to be answered. “I think experience is really the most important thing. I think we’ve gotten better on the road, … it’s a conference that’s really difficult to win on, … [Nebraska] was an unbelievable crowd, probably as good [of] a crowd as we’ve seen besides Purdue. I just think that’s what makes this conference very unique, probably what makes it the best basketball conference and probably what makes it so hard to win on the road.” Nonetheless, Wednesday will mark one of the final chances for Maryland to iron out its kinks with March right around the corner.

“I feel like as a team, … we just leave it up to the coaches for things like that, as far as rankings. As far as social media and people saying stuff, I don’t think any of us pay attention to any of that, … I feel like the coaches look at it here and there and just take it into account but they don’t really worry about it that much,” Julian Reese said.

Related Links

Dominating run proves the difference in 96-68 win vs. Iowa

Terps baseball falls to WVU in home opener, drops to .500 

Maryland signee named first team All-Conference

Maryland football announces dates for spring ball, spring game

Four star safety eyeing spring visit and official to Maryland (+)

Buzz continues on defensive side of the ball (+)

Note on pair of underclassmen (+)