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What to know about Wisconsin men’s basketball’s road trip to Maryland

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Maryland guard Eric Ayala is averaging 19.2 points and is shooting 48.3% from 3-point range over his past five games.

The University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team is on the road again and is headed to Maryland for its only matchup with the Terrapins this season.

UW is 6-5 against Maryland since it joined the Big Ten Conference, including 6-4 under Greg Gard. The past seven meetings between the Badgers and Terrapins have been decided by single digits. The teams split the season series last year, with both picking up road victories.

No. 23 UW will try to extend its four-game winning streak when it travels to College Park.

The Badgers are ranked No. 23 in the NET rankings, a tool used to measure a team’s quality that is used to evaluate teams for NCAA tournament consideration, while Maryland sits at 109th.

The basics

What: Wisconsin (12-2, 3-1) vs. Maryland (8-6, 0-3)

When: 6:30 p.m. Sunday

Where: Xfinity Center in College Park, Maryland 

TV: Big Ten Network, with Cory Provus and Len Elmore

Radio: 1310 AM and 101.5 FM, with Matt Lepay and Mike Lucas

Last meeting: UW defeated the Terrapins in College Park 61-55 last January. Micah Potter scored a season-high 23 points and Maryland’s Aaron Wiggins led the Terrapins with 18 points.

Wisconsin

Fast fact: UW ranks second in the NCAA in lowest turnover percentage (12.1%) and fewest turnovers per game (8.2).

Coach: Greg Gard, 130-72 in his seventh season at UW.

Probable starters: Steven Crowl, Johnny Davis, Brad Davison, Chucky Hepburn and Tyler Wahl.

University of Wisconsin guard Brad Davison speaks to the media about the team's strategy for defending Iowa's Keegan Murray, the leading scorer in the nation, after the 23rd-ranked Badgers defeated the Iowa Hawkeyes 87-78 in a Big Ten battle Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, at the Kohl Center in Madison.

Player to watch: Wahl scored 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the Badgers’ win over Iowa on Thursday. He leads the team with 17 blocks and is the second most-consistent shooter, connecting on 46.8% of his shots.

Maryland

Fast fact: Maryland is one of six teams in the country with at least four wins over ranked opponents each of the past three seasons. Michigan State, Michigan, Purdue, Iowa and Kansas are the others.

Coach: Danny Manning, 3-3 as interim coach at Maryland.

Probable starters: Eric Ayala, Fatts Russell, Danta Scott, Hakim Hart and Qudus Wahab.

Player to watch: Ayala is averaging 19.2 points over his past five games, shooting 31 of 57 from the field and 48.3% from beyond the arc. He had averaged just 7.0 points on 25% shooting in the three previous games leading up to his improved performance.

Three things to watch

Midseason coaching change

Maryland and coach Mark Turgeon announced their decision to mutually part ways after eight games on Dec. 3 when the team was 5-3. Assistant coach Manning was named interim coach for the remainder of the season.

University of Wisconsin men's basketball coach Greg Gard speaks to the media about how his team has progressed after the 23rd-ranked Badgers defeated the Iowa Hawkeyes 87-78 in a Big Ten battle Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, at the Kohl Center in Madison.

Manning has eight years of previous head coaching experience, having coached for two seasons at Tulsa (2012-14) and six at Wake Forest (2014-20). UW junior Jahcobi Neath played one season (2019-20) under Manning while at Wake Forest.

Manning was a decorated collegiate player for Kansas, where he won the 1988 national championship and was named the Final Four Most Outstanding Player. Manning was drafted with the No. 1 overall pick in 1988 by the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers.

He was also an assistant coach when the Jayhawks won the title in 2008.

Experienced roster

The Terrapins feature four players who have appeared in at least 100 career games: Xavier Green, Simon Wright, Russell and Ayala. They also have two juniors who have played at least 70 games.

Every player in the starting five is either a junior or graduate student. The three graduate students on the roster wear patches that say “Graduate” on their uniforms. Maryland is the only school in the Big Ten that wears these patches.

The trio of Russell (1,769), Ayala (1,208) and Green (1,076) are all members of the 1,000-point club.

A look at the starting five

Ayala has scored fewer than 10 points in just two games this year.

The other graduate student in the starting five is Russell, who was rated the No. 19 overall player in the Big Ten by Big Ten Network personality Andy Katz prior to the season. He is the only active player in Division I with more than 1,700 points, 450 assists and 225 steals. He’s averaging 12.5 points for the Terrapins this season.

Hart is averaging 9.6 points per game and has reached double figures in the past seven games. Hart has made 20 consecutive free throws dating back to Dec. 12 against Florida. He is also second in the Big Ten in steals with 1.79 per game. Maryland is 7-0 when Hart notches at least two steals in a game.

University of Iowa men's basketball coach Fran McCaffery talks about how the UW defense, led by Tyler Wahl, tried to slow down Keegan Murray, the nation's leading scorer, as the 23rd-ranked Badgers pulled out an 87-78 victory over the Hawkeyes in a Big Ten battle Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, at the Kohl Center in Madison.

Scott is the team’s third-leading scorer with 11.2 points per game but has averaged 14.4 over his past five outings. This included a team-high 17 points in a 76-64 loss to Illinois on Thursday. The Terrapins have also lost to Iowa and Northwestern to start their Big Ten schedule.

Wahab is a transfer from Georgetown and has made an immediate impact, scoring more than 17 points in his first two games. He’s averaging 9.4 points per game.

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