Champaign, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - The 11th-ranked Maryland Terrapins will do everything in their power to prevent the Illinois Fighting Illini from ruining a seven-game win streak as the teams clash in Big Ten Conference action at the State Farm Center.
The Terrapins have been victorious in all seven of their most recently played games, which includes a tight double-overtime victory over Michigan State (68-66) and a 12-point win over Minnesota (70-58). Maryland comes into this match with a 14-1 record, and a 2-0 mark away from home.
Illinois has been bounced around lately, with two straight losses and defeats in four of the team's last seven games. The Illini have lost to Michigan (73-65 OT) and Ohio State (77-61) to open up Big Ten play. Fortunately for Illinois, the team is 7-0 at home this season.
This will be just the 10th all-time meeting between Illinois and Maryland, one of the newest additions to the Big Ten. The Terrapins hold a slim 5-4 series advantage over the Illini, and are 1-0 against Illinois in Champaign.
Sometimes teams in college basketball live and die by the 3-pointer, and that's exactly what Minnesota did Saturday against Maryland. The Golden Gophers were held to 3-of-22 shooting from the perimeter, and to 33.8 percent from the floor in general in the Terps' win. Melo Trimble netted 20 points to pace Maryland, while Dez Wells and Jake Layman each tallied 12 points in the victory. Damonte Dodd pulled down a team-best 12 boards for the Terps, who outrebounded Minnesota in the contest, 44-35.
Trimble has burst onto the scene this season as Maryland's best current option in scoring. The guard comes into Wednesday averaging a team-leading 16.2 ppg on 44.2 percent shooting from the field. His 45 assists this season are also the most on Maryland, along with his 20 steals. Dez Wells, who missed some time earlier in the year due to injury, is back at full health and averaging 14.9 ppg through eight games. Layman checks in at third on the squad with a 14.7 ppg mark, also adding in a team-best 6.3 rpg. The Terps are netting 74.1 ppg this season on 46.2 percent shooting, and are allowing just 61.3 ppg to opponents.
Illinois' offense was, for the most part, on point on the road against Ohio State. The Illini finished the game shooting 44.4 percent from the field, although the wheels came off a bit in the second half after the visitors made just 1-of-9 from 3-point range. But it was Illinois' inability to slow the Buckeyes down on offense that killed them. Ohio State shot an even 60 percent from the floor and went 16-of-22 from the free-throw line in the 16-point beatdown over Illinois. Rayvonte Rice netted 20 points to lead the Illini, also adding seven rebounds. Kendrick Nunn contributed 10 points in the loss.
Only two Illinois players are averaging a scoring total in double figures this season, but the Illini still head into their next game with a respectable 76.9 ppg mark on 44.9 percent shooting. The team is tops in the Big Ten Conference in free-throw shooting percentage, making 77.6 percent of their attempts from the charity stripe. Rice leads the team in scoring at 17.2 ppg, also averaging a team-leading 6.9 rpg with 27 steals. Malcolm Hill chips in with 13.1 ppg on 53 percent shooting from the floor, and Ahmad Starks has dished out a team- best 44 assists this season. The Illini are allowing 64.1 ppg to opponents.