The Gophers-Maryland Big Ten showdown is being billed as one of Wednesday’s must-watch games.
CBS Sports college basketball insider Jon Rothstein included the game as one of his five games to watch. The Gophers and Terrapins made the cut with Duke at Syracuse, Louisville at North Carolina, Butler at Villanova, and TCU at Kansas.
Here are five reasons why Wednesday night’s game in College Park is one you won’t want to miss. Tip-off is 7:30 p.m. on the Big Ten Network.
--The Gophers have the opportunity to climb into the top four of the Big Ten standings with a victory at No. 24 Maryland. If the Gophers can finish out the season in the top four, they would get a double bye in the conference tournament. Northwestern lost to Illinois 66-50 Tuesday and holds a half-game lead over the Gophers for fourth place.
--The Gophers are riding a five-game winning streak entering Wednesday night’s game. This is the fourth-longest active win streak among teams in the six major conferences. The Big Ten’s top team Purdue has won six straight.
--Maryland was the last team to beat the Gophers almost a month ago on Jan. 28 at Williams Arena. The Gophers held a seven-point lead at halftime, but gave up 59 second-half points to Terps and lost 85-78. It was the Gophers’ final loss of a five-game losing streak that prompted the team to address the problem in a players-only meeting.
--Maryland’s Big Ten title hopes took a blow Sunday against Wisconsin. The Terps entered half a game back of the top spot in the standings, but now sit 1.5 games behind first-place Purdue after the Boilermakers' overtime victory Tuesday night against Penn State. Maryland has four games left on the schedule and Purdue three games remaining.
--The Gophers could use another signature win to boost their NCAA tournament resume. They have one win against a ranked opponent this season (at Purdue) and an overtime loss at home against Wisconsin. Star Tribune beat writer Marcus Fuller projects the Gophers will be a No. 7 seed, possibly a No. 5, if they win Wednesday.