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12/14 Big Ten Preview: Maryland Hosts UCLA

Preview all of Wednesday’s Big Ten action.

NCAA Basketball: Illinois at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten only has two games on Wednesday, but both are notable. Maryland hosts UCLA in a top 20 battle and Minnesota gets a must win game to help it get it back on track after a horrid non-conference performance.

Let’s take a look at the schedule.

Game of the Day:

-No. 16 UCLA Bruins at No. 20 Maryland Terrapins

  • Time/TV: 9:00PM ET (FS1)
  • KenPom Spread: Maryland by 1

Through 10 games, it’s hard to complain much about Maryland’s start. While the Terps enter Wednesday’s game having lost two straight, the team opened the season at 8-0 and has already shown its capabilities with multiple marquee wins. However, the recent missteps have fans hungry for a rebound, which could come on Wednesday at home against a ranked UCLA squad.

On the other side, UCLA enters the game having won five-straight, including a solid win over Oregon earlier this month. The Bruins have a nationally elite offense, led by Tyger Campbell in the backcourt and Jaime Jaquez on the wing. While the team plays inside-out, it converts more than enough from deep to keep opponents honest.

The matchup in this one will be in the backcourt as Jahmir Young faces off against Campbell. Both are fantastic players who will be in consideration for plenty of awards at the end of the season. It should be a fun battle. Young has the size advantage, but Campbell has more than enough speed to create his own shot and initiate offense.

All told, this feels like a game you’d see in March. Both teams look really good and have the pieces to hang in a matchup like this. However, expect what should be a great home court environment to push the Terps across the finish line.

  • Pick: Maryland

The Rest:

-Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions at Minnesota Golden Gophers

  • Time/TV: 8:00PM ET (BTN)
  • KenPom Spread: Minnesota by 16

Things haven’t gone well for the Gophers so far this season. Despite modest hopes entering the season, the team has underachieved significantly, drifting to 4-6 overall heading into Wednesday’s matchup. The team has lost nearly all of its marquee games by double-digits, including a few by well above that margin. It’s been a rough go.

Fortunately for fans, things should get easier on Wednesday night as Minnesota gets a weak Golden Lion squad at home. Arkansas-Pine Bluff ranks a putrid 354th nationally on KenPom entering the matchup and sits at 3-8 overall. For perspective, the team is coming off a 45-point loss to Texas on Saturday.

This is a game Minnesota should not only win, but win comfortably. The goal here should be unloading the bench and getting some of the young players like Joshua Ola-Joseph and Pharrel Payne extended playing time. Minnesota is quickly running out of opportunities to explore its bench, so Ben Johnson needs to take advantage here.

  • Pick: Minnesota


Picks Record: 55-17-0