In the biggest game of its season to date, Northwestern (13-1, 1-0 Big Ten) hosts No. 4 Maryland (12-1, 1-0 Big Ten) at Welsh-Ryan Arena on Saturday. The Wildcats are coming off Wednesday's come-from-behind, nine-point victory at Nebraska while Mark Turgeon and co. struggled to a six-point home victory over Penn State.
The Terrapins came into 2015 as one of the top teams in the nation but have only played two teams inside KenPom's top 50: North Carolina and UConn. Maryland suffered an eight-point loss at UNC in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and took held off a late rally by UConn in Madison Square Garden.
Last season, Northwestern played Maryland close in the two teams' only meeting. The Wildcats lost in College Park in the final seconds, despite the stellar play of Bryant McIntosh (21 points). McIntosh battled with Terrapin point guard Melo Trimble, who scored 27 points in the game. It's more likely, though, that Turgeon will try to force the ball inside against Northwestern's Alex Olah-less interior to a host of Maryland scoring options. It might take another performance like the one Dererk Pardon had for the Wildcats against Nebraska for Northwestern to pull off the upset.