The Iowa Hawkeyes (11-6, 3-3) look to extend their conference winning streak to four with the Maryland Terrapins (11-5, 2-3) coming to town this afternoon. The Hawks have had their number in recent years, going 4-1, but we should probably take last year’s games with a grain of salt as they were a dead program walking led by Danny Manning who was left holding the bag after Mark Turgeon left town in the dead of night.
The Hawkeyes have caught absolute fire, with their three-point shooting finding them at just the right time. They’ve shot 36% or better in each of the last three games and a threshold which seems like the marker for success: they’re 7-0 when they meet that this season and were 15-2 last season. The only two losses came to Illinois because of course they did.
As it pertains to this particular matchup: Maryland’s three-point defense is among the best in the country by holding teams to 29.9%. Perhaps an even better marker is just how rarely Maryland opponents shoot from deep, with 31.5% of shots coming from behind the arc (30th in the country). The question will be, can Iowa find clean looks from deep enough because when they have settled from distance, it has sometimes been to their detriment. Losses against Eastern Illinois, Wisconsin, Penn State, and Nebraska featured three-point rates above 38%.
Defensively, I’ll be keeping an eye out on the exact same thing. Iowa let Michigan’s best volume shooter (Jett Howard) get a clean look on the very first possession of the game and lived with the consequences of those actions the next 35 minutes of game time. There were certainly other considerations that night as Howard but Maryland has a similar shooter hierarchy: Ian Martinez & Hakim Hart are the only volume shooters over 35% with everyone else as either low-volume or low efficiency (under 30%). Jahari Long, their backup point guard, is 50% on the year but shooting less than 1 per game. Could he decide today is the day to make it happen? Sure. Let’s hope not.
So, let’s hope Iowa can keep those two in check. Otherwise, offense can be tough for Maryland to come by, as they’ve got just 5 games at or above 80 points on the season.
One last thought: conference-only games have been rough for Maryland in the turnover department with a league-high 21.0% turnover rate so that may be an opportunity for Iowa to get some easy points. They’ve also allowed the highest free throw rate in conference play - road games at Wisconsin & Michigan featured 56 combined free throws against 103 shots. Iowa should get some chances at the line so let’s hope they convert.
How to Watch
Date: Sunday, January 15th
Time: 3:31 pm CT
Opponent: Maryland Terrapins (11-5, 2-3); Big Ten Conference; College Park, MD
Location: Carver-Hawkeye Arena; Iowa City, IA
Gambling (by DraftKings): Maryland +5.5 | +195 at Iowa -230 | O/U 150.5
TV: Big Ten Network (Dave Revsine & Brian Butch)
Radio: Hawkeye Sports Network (Gary Dolphin & Bob Hansen)
Streaming: Fox Sports Live
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
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