Maryland-Michigan Preview (Jan 15, 2018)
Michigan doesn't have too long to celebrate its biggest win of the season.
In the Top 25 for the first time in 2017-18 after knocking off rival Michigan State, the 23rd-ranked Wolverines will try to avoid a letdown Monday night as they host a Maryland team that hasn't looked too comfortable on the road of late.
Michigan (15-4, 4-2 Big Ten) missed a golden opportunity for a signature win with a 70-69 loss to then-No. 5 Purdue last Tuesday, but bounced back on the road four days later in a big way. Moritz Wagner, questionable after aggravating an ankle injury in Thursday's practice, played and lit up the then-No. 4 Spartans with a career-high 27 points in the Wolverines' 82-72 win.
"It's a highlight in our season," coach John Beilein said. "It's not going to be the highlight of the season. We've got more work to do!"
Wagner went 3 of 4 from 3-point range as Michigan stayed hot behind the arc. Beilein's team is shooting 43.1 percent from long distance in its last seven games, and that's particularly troubling news for a Terrapins team that's been bombarded from deep so far this month
Maryland (14-5, 3-3) entered January with the fourth-best 3-point defense (27.7 percent) in the nation, but suddenly it's looked lost defending the 3. Opponents are not only hitting at a 51.0 percent clip during the Terps' four Big Ten games this month, but they're averaging 13.3 makes.
Ohio State hit 17 of 29 from 3 in Thursday's 91-69 rout of Mark Turgeon's team in Columbus.
"Hopefully we compete a little bit more (and) we don't put our heads down if they make a bunch of threes on us (Monday)," Turgeon said.
"We've started these games pretty good and our lack of depth has caught up with us on the road against really good teams," he continued, referencing a 91-61 road loss to Michigan State on Jan. 4. "Hopefully we can stay out of foul trouble, our depth will be good and we can hang around and have a chance."
Wagner scored a game-high 17 points the last time these teams met, at the Crisler Center on Jan. 7, 2017. But it was the Terrapins who were coldly efficient from long distance, hitting 10 of 15 3s - reserve Jared Nickens knocked down all 4 of his attempts - and winning 77-70.
Aside from needing to guard the arc better, Maryland has about a decade's worth of recent history working against it. The Terps have lost 22 straight road games against ranked opponents since beating No. 1 North Carolina 82-80 on Jan. 19, 2008.