GameDay Preview: Three Things I Want to See from Purdue Against Maryland

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COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Purdue needed rest, and got that this week. They also still had three full days to prepare for Maryland, so we'll see if that can pay off, too.

No. 17 Maryland is unbeaten at home this season, so today's game at College Park will be a huge challenge. These two teams are both 3-3 in the league, having won all their home games and lost all their road games. So, figuring that, advantage Maryland.

But let's also factor in that time to prepare for the Boilermakers. They could have some surprises in story for the Terrapins, and they will have fresh legs.

Here are the particulars:

  • Who: Purdue Boilermakers (10-7, 3-3 in the Big Ten) at Maryland Terrapins (13-4, 3-3 in the Big Ten) 
  • When: 2 p.m. ET, Saturday, Jan. 
  • Where: Xfinity Center, College Park, Md. 
  • Line: Maryland is a 6.5-point favorite
  • Rankings: Maryland is ranked No. 17 in both the Associated Press and Coaches pollsm and have been as high as No. 3 in mid-December. Purdue is not ranked but is receiving votes in both polls. They would be ranked No. 37 in both polls. 
  • Kenpom.com rankings: Purdue 17, Maryland 13
  • TV: ESPN2
  • Announcers: Jason Benetti, Dan Dakich
  • Radio: Purdue Radio Network
  • Announcers: Larry Clisby, Rob Blackman, Ralph Taylor

Here are three things I want to see from Purdue today: 

1. Get at least 35 points inside from Haarms, Williams

It's hard to score on the road in the Big Ten, and Purdue has been the worst in the Big Ten in scoring disparity between the home and road. With that history, the best way to have success as an underdog on the road is to get good paint touches and then finish them.

Trevion Williams has been a beast lately, and his last road game — 36 points and 20 rebounds — is a great blueprint for how to win on the road. Those kind of numbers aren't likely to be seen again, but Williams and the 7-foot-3 Matt Haarms need to score well, and when double-teams come, hit open spot-up shooter. Purdue's biggest edge is on the inside, and they need to take advantage of that.

Haarms, still dealing with a hip flexor issue, will come off the bench again, Purdue coach Matt Painter said Thursday. He still needs to be a factor, though, on both ends of the court.

2. Make those open shots when they get  them

Purdue is shooting only 27.9 percent from the 3-point line in its six conference games, and that needs to improve dramatically, starting on Saturday.

The three guys who have really struggled in conference play are Aaron Wheeler (2-for 27, Jahaad Proctor (4-for-15) and Matt Haarms (1-for-8). Maryland will likely pack the lane on Saturday, so guys need to him open shots.

3. Finally beat a good team on the road

Purdue has lost six straight road games to nationally ranked team, not having won since beating Maryland back on Feb. 4, 2017 against Maryland. That day, Carsen Edwards, just a freshman at the time,  made two free throws with 2.1 seconds left to give Purdue a 73-72 win. 

During that stretch, Purdue has lost to Michigan and Michigan State teams twice, Maryland once and Florida State once.

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