The Maryland Terrapins took a blow against the No. 1 team in the country.
Despite a seven-game win streak and pulling a close against Penn State, the Michigan State Spartans soundly beat the Terps, 91-61.
Maryland kept pace with the Spartans early in the first half, but lack of depth and foul trouble prevented the team from keeping up with Michigan State’s high-scoring offense.
The Terps have little time to rest, though, as they return to the Xfinity Center Sunday night to host their third Big Ten game against Iowa.
One might look at Iowa’s record (9-8, 0-4) and think the Terps have an easy game. But that is not the case, as the Hawkeyes have played Maryland tough in the past seven games.
At 4-3, the Terps have a slight advantage in the all-time record against Iowa, but they are 2-2 against the Hawkeyes since joining the Big Ten.
Like Maryland, Iowa started out the season winning its first five games, but it followed up that performance by losing seven of its next eight games.
Although Iowa plays well outside of its conference, the team doesn’t fare well against Big Ten teams. Outside of a 77-73 loss to Penn State, the Hawkeyes have lost to every Big Ten team to this point by double digits.
The Hawkeyes are a young team that has 11 underclassmen on the roster. Most of what the Hawkeyes do centers around their three main starters: Tyler Cook, Jordan Bohannon and Isaiah Moss. All three have started all 17 games, and each shoot above 41 percent.
Each of these three players do something different, and they complement each other well. Tyler is the team’s leading scorer from the floor, shooting 59 percent on 91-of-154 shooting. Bohannon leads the team in three-pointers with 42, and Moss shoots 83 percent from the free throw line.
The combination makes for a unique challenge, and it’s one that the Terps could have difficulty overcoming.
In order to win this game, Maryland is going to have to figure out its issue with depth. The loss against Michigan State showed how thin Maryland is on the bench. The players who are left, like graduate transfer Sean Obi, Joshua Tomaic and Dion Wiley, need to play better and more often for the Terps to get more points from their bench.
The lack of depth is also why freshman Bruno Fernando and senior Michal Cekovsky cannot get into foul trouble again against the Hawkeyes.
Iowa is not on the same offensive level as Michigan State, but it still has plenty of firepower. If Maryland finds itself in a similar position as it did against the Spartans, it could be a long game.
This is still a game Maryland can win, though. But the key is playing small, clean basketball and allowing its bigs to dictate the pace. Tipoff against the Hawkeyes will be at 8 p.m.