The Indiana Hoosiers will face the Maryland Terrapins on Friday evening with a trip to the Big Ten semi-finals on the line. The two teams split their matchups this season with the Terps grabbing a thrilling 68-66 win in the middle of February. Don't be surprised if this game comes down to the last possession just like the last meeting.
Maryland will certainly be the favorite going into this one. They ended the season on a 7 game winning streak and appear to have hit their stride. Melo Trimble has carried the Terrapins throughout their winning streak, and will try to do the same in the Big Ten Tournament.
This is Maryland's first season in the Big Ten, and will look to make a statement in their first conference tournament. The Terrapins have already shown that they belong in the Big Ten for basketball with their terrific conference record of 14-4. Having a nice run in the Big Ten Tournament would only cement their place in the Big Ten.
Indiana is going into this game with a much different outlook. They were a sure bet to make the NCAA Tournament earlier this season, but are now sitting on the bubble. There really is no guarantee if they are in the tournament at this point or not. That being said, it would be hard to keep them out of the big dance if they pulled off a win against the Terrapins who are considered to be one of the top teams in the country.
The Hoosiers could also be forced play this one without Hanner Mosquera-Perea who suffered a knee injury in Thursday's win against Northwestern.
Matchup to Watch
James Blackmon Jr. vs Melo Trimble
All eyes will be on the two freshman in this game. Both players have shown that they have the ability to carry their teams to victory. Blackmon put up 25 points in the Hoosiers much needed win over Northwestern on Thursday night. Melo Trimble is also coming off of a tremendous performance with 21 points in Maryland's final game of the regular season against Nebraska.
Key to the Game
Will Indiana be able to hit from 3?
Maryland has had good season this year, but they have struggled at times to stop the opponent from deep. They allow their opponents to shoot 31% from deep. On the other side, Indiana is 3rd in the conference in 3 point percentage and are shooting 41% from deep. This proved to be a key to their last meeting as the Hoosiers were able to hit 10 of their 25 attempts from behind the arc*. Don't be surprised if it's a key again in this matchup.
This should be a thrilling game with excellent guard play from both sides and one that means a lot to both teams. Indiana needs a win to secure its NCAA Tournament position and Maryland needs a win to help legitimize itself in the Big Ten and help in its pursuit of a #2 seed. When Friday night is finished, one team will have achieved their goal and one team will have some question marks heading into Selection Sunday.
[*Editor's Note: a previous version of the article had an incorrect stat here.]