Meet the Opponent: The Maryland Terrapins


COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Maryland's Mark Turgeon isn't any different from most coaches in the rough and tumbling Big Ten. He's a good coach, has a good team, knows what he's doing and, mostly, wishes he was winning more.

They're all in the same boat. That applies at Purdue as well, of course, and when the two teams battle at 2 p.m. ET on Saturday, another tough game is expected. 

For Purdue, there's a great challenge ahead because No. 17-ranked Maryland is unbeaten at home all season, winning 10 straight games. They are 13-4 overall, and they've been perfect in the Xfinity Center in the Big Ten, beating Illinois (59-58), Indiana (75-59) and Ohio State (67-55). The Terrapins, like the rest of the Big Ten, can't win on the road, though. They've lost on all three trips, losing at Penn State, Iowa and Wisconsin.

Purdue knows that deal all too well. The Boilermakers are 10-7 overall and also 3-3 in the league. The Boilermakers still haven't won a conference road game, losing at Nebraska, Illinois and Michigan. 

"Two eerily similar teams,'' Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. "Sure, we'd like to be 6-0, but the fact is we're 3-3 and every game in this league is a tough game. This will be a tough one too. They've been off since Sunday, so they'll be well-prepared for us and locked in, I'm sure. We've got to play well, but we're coming home, and that makes a difference. It would be nice to keep playing well at home.''

Here are three three you need to know about Maryland:

1. The Terrapins are hard to beat at home

Like a lot of venues in the Big Ten, it can get pretty loud in the Xfinity Center and the Terrapins do feed off their crowd. That's why they are 10-0 at home and play much better there, especially offensively. Saturday's game is a near sell-out as well.

Aside from those three big wins at home in the conference, Maryland also has blown out  Notre Dame on its home floor by 21 points each. For a team like Purdue that has struggled mightily away from home, this is going to be a big challenge. 

2. Anthony Cowan Jr. is the real deal at guard

Anthony Cowan Jr, Maryland's 6-foot senior guard from Bowie, Md., has scored at least 16 points in 10 of his last 13 games, and at least 20 points in five of those games. He's great at attacking the basket and will be a real challenge for the Purdue guards, who have to keep Cowan in front of them. He's averaging 16.2 points a game so far.

Cowan currently leads the Big Ten in both free throws made (83) and attempted (109). He was recently named to the Wooden Award top-25 list. Cowan has 1,650 career points, and ranks 14th on Maryland's career scoring list. He became the seventh player in program history to reach 500 assists against Iowa. Cowan is one of two active players in the Big Ten who has at least 1,600 points and 500 assists (Michigan State's Cassius Winston is the other.) 

College Park, Maryland, USA; Maryland Terrapins guard Anthony Cowan Jr. (1) celebrates after scoring a being fouled by Indiana Hoosiers forward Trayce Jackson-Davis (4) during the second halfat XFINITY Center. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

3. The Terrapins can go on long runs

Maryland was ranked as has high as No. 3 in the country in mid-December and plenty of people still think this team can make a deep run come March. The conference losses have been hard to swallow, but Turgeon has said that even in some of those losses, "we've done a lot of good things.''

What makes them so dangerous at homes is they get hot for stretches to break games open. The win against Indiana was a perfect example. Maryland led only 36-33 with 14 minutes to go in the game, but then scored on five of its next six possessions and were off and running. They tossed in another 12-0 run and were suddenly up by 30.

They did the same thing against Ohio State. After falling behind 8-0 in the first four minutes, they outscored the Buckeyes 28-14 the rest of the half, and then another haymaker in the second half with a 10-2 to open up the lead for a comfortable 12-point win. Purdue will have to minimize those hot streaks.

RELATED: An interesting player to watch is 7-foot-2 center Chol Marial, who's had an amazing journey from Africa to America. READ HIS COMPLETE STORY HERE IN THIS SPORTS ILLUSTRATED PROFILE

After a difficult journey from Africa and then battles through a myriad of injuries, Chol Marial is finally living his dream and playing college basketball for Maryland. (USA TODAY SPORTS)