Believe it or not, Selection Sunday is just two weekends away. With only a handful of games remaining in conference play, Big Ten teams are fighting for quality wins to boost their seeding come March. Two such teams are Maryland and Purdue, both top 25 squads that could make big noise in the NCAA tournament. Here's what to expect from today's action in the Big Ten.
Game of the Night
#20 Purdue Boilermakers vs. #10 Maryland Terrapins - 4 ET (ESPN)
Fresh off a loss to in-state rival Indiana, Purdue looks to rebound when they host the tenth-ranked Maryland Terrapins. In the last meeting between these two programs, the Terps won 72-61 in College Park in a come from behind effort. This time around, Matt Painter is sure to have his team prepared for another fight to the finish.
The interesting matchup in this one will be between the big men one both sides, mainly between Purdue's A.J. Hammons and Maryland's Diamond Stone. When the two met earlier this month, Hammons put up 18 and 10, while Stone produced 12 and 6. Both are dangerous defenders and can score at the rim, both are potential prospects in this summer's NBA draft. While Hammons, clearly has three more years of experience in the league than Stone, there's likely no better young big man in the Big Ten. We'll see which of the two is able to dictate the tempo.
It will also be interesting to watch 2-time reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Raphael Davis guard one of the nation's top scoring threats, Melo Trimble. The Terps' sophomore point guard was instrumental in the game earlier this month, going for 14 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds, and will likely be the main target of the Boilers' defense. If Purdue can stop Trimble, they can halt the flow of Maryland's offense, and that will be exactly what they try to do.
Purdue enters as 3.5 point favorites on their home court, and have more than enough capability to cover the line. The question will be, can Purdue slow down Trimble and stick to their game in the post? This is a national showdown that you're not going to want to miss.
Northwestern Wildcats vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights - 2 ET (ESPNU)
If tanking for the draft was a thing in college basketball, then Rutgers would be a perfect candidate. Unfortunately, there isn't and there's not much reason for Scarlet Knights fans to be hopeful in the near future. Not only has their team yet to have won a Big Ten game this season, they are currently ranked 301st in the KenPom rankings and have become the first Power 5 conference team to dip below the 300-mark. They're that bad.
Northwestern, while having put together a rather disappointing season, should be able to win this one handily. Despite just a 5-10 record in conference play, the Wildcats are favored to beat Rutgers by 18.5. Yeah, that's steep. But will the Scarlet Knights be able to cover the spread? Unfortunately for you guys out in New Jersey, you're gonna have to watch to find out.