After a loaded Thursday slate, things will be a bit quieter on Friday for the Big Ten with only one game taking place. That matchup will feature Maryland going on the road to face Penn State in what feels like a crucial game for both team’s NCAA hopes.
Let’s take a look at the schedule.
Game of the Day:
- Time/TV: 7:00PM ET (FS1)
- KenPom Spread: Penn State by 3
Every week, the Big Ten gets a handful of quietly important games. They are the matchups that don’t get much attention nationally, but have a big role in determining the league standings and its postseason potential. And Friday’s matchup between Maryland and Penn State certainly fits the bill. The Terps are desperately trying to secure their spot in this year’s NCAA Tournament and Friday figures to be a key game in those efforts.
Maryland enters this game at 10-8 overall and 4-7 in Big Ten play. The Terps have generally performed well in January, with the team winning four of its last six games. The only two losses came against Michigan and Wisconsin. However, Maryland still has a long way to go to guarantee itself a spot in the postseason, as its 10-8 record suggests.
And while this might surprise some, Penn State is actually trending relatively well for the NCAA Tournament as well. The Nittany Lions are 32nd in the NET rankings and actually in the first eight out of the field, per Joe Lunardi. Penn State also enters this game with some momentum. The team lost to Wisconsin on Tuesday, but has still won three of its last five with the only losses coming against Ohio State and the Badgers.
All of this makes Friday’s matchup a crucial one for the Terps and Nittany Lions. Whoever wins should get a nice bump in their NCAA odds, while the loser will be in tough position moving forward. Expect a tight and competitive game from two teams with some desperation.
The matchup to watch will be in the backcourt between Jamari Wheeler and Eric Ayala. Both have led their respective teams this season. Whoever plays better on Friday night likely leads his team to victory.
- Pick Against The Spread: Penn State
Record Against The Spread: 20-15-2