Michigan Wolverines vs. Maryland Terrapins Pick
Michigan Wolverines (25-4 SU, 16-13 ATS) vs. Maryland Terrapins (21-8 SU, 15-13-1 ATS)
When: Sunday, March 3, 2019 – 3:45 PM ET
Where: Xfinity Center, College Park, Md.
Point Spread: MICH -1/MD +1 (WagerWeb)
Total: O/U 130
Last Time Out: Michigan routed Nebraska 82-53; Maryland lost 78-61 to Penn State.
Scouting the Wolverines:
On one hand, Michigan’s win over Nebraska answered a lot of questions for the Wolverines. They played their game from start to finish and hammered the Cornhuskers to earn a win in their final home game of the season. Plus, they got some key help off the bench from Isaiah Livers, who stood in for injured guard Charles Matthews and dominated Nebraska.
On the other hand, questions still remain about whether Michigan is genuinely back because the Wolverines were just 2-2 in their previous four games and hadn’t looked like themselves on offense until they met Nebraska. With no Matthews, can the Wolverines produce the same kind of performance a second time against an opponent who is much better than the Cornhuskers? This game will tell a lot about what team Michigan really is and if the version we saw for the first two months of the year is really who the Wolverines are in March.
Scouting the Terrapins:
65 points was indeed the magic number for Maryland in the first meeting, as the Terrapins held the Wolverines to exactly that in the first meeting. The problem was that Maryland’s offense wasn’t anywhere near as effective as it usually is, as the Terps ended up with a mere 52 points thanks to shooting just 36 percent. What information came out of this game? Precious little. Maryland found out that it does indeed have the ability and blueprint to beat Michigan, but the Terrapins botched the execution by failing to hit their shots and coughing up the basketball too often. Fix those issues, and Maryland will be in prime position to get itself a victory over the Big Ten’s best.
Decision-making. In the first meeting, I said that Maryland might be able to withstand the issues of playing at Crisler Center because of how many hostile arenas it had visited and left with a victory. That proved not to be the case because the Terrapins shot themselves in the foot with 16 turnovers to Michigan’s six in a 13-point defeat. But lost in that sea of turnovers was the fact that Maryland did most of what it needed to do to give itself a chance to knock off Michigan. If the Terrapins can clean up their errors, they can pull the upset this time around.
Michigan will Cover if:
The Wolverines get more aggressive on the glass. Michigan isn’t likely to win the rebounding battle given that Maryland is the best rebounding team in the Big Ten, but the Wolverines have to limit the damage the Terrapins cause on the glass. Michigan’s weakness all year has been giving teams second chances, and the Wolverines can’t afford to get burned again by the Terrapins on the boards.
Maryland will Cover if:
The Terrapins can play the kind of defense they did in the first game. Maryland plays among the best defense in the Big Ten because of its ability to deny good looks at the basket and considering what Michigan did to Nebraska from behind the arc, Maryland’s shot denying has to be at its best in order to get a result in this rematch.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread:
This is a tough one to pick given that Maryland just got blown out on the short trip north to Penn State and Michigan is likely going to play without Matthews again. With such a tight spread, I’m going to have to pick the Terrapins given that they’re a different team at home, their style of play is a matchup nightmare for the Wolverines and Matthews isn’t likely to be on the floor.
Michigan got a good performance from his replacements, but the Terrapins aren’t the Cornhuskers and don’t let themselves get outfought on the glass. This matchup just doesn’t look favorable for Michigan, so I’m going to choose to put aside Maryland’s debacle at Penn State and gamble on the Terrapins to bounce back.