The Nebraska Cornhuskers host the Maryland Terrapins tomorrow night in Lincoln for the first time in three seasons. Maryland last visited Nebraska Feb. 6, 2019 in a 60-45 win by the Terps.
The 2019-20 season schedule only featured one regular season matchup between the teams in College Park (attended by this author), and the 2020-21 game scheduled in Lincoln was moved to College Park in a back-to-back series two nights in a row after the COVID-19 outbreak among the Husker roster resulted in the teams having to reschedule a compacted series. Nebraska lost both games, each of which was covered in person by me. And only me when it comes to Nebraska “media.” Yet, certain professionals in the field act like they and their outlet take this sport of men’s college basketball seriously and have the prestige and acumen to weigh in on head coach Fred Hoiberg with wisdom and insight... Right, and I’m the Queen of England. Hard eye roll. Minor venting session to open this with something that’s been eating a bit at me since that happened last year aside, let’s break down this game.
The Huskers are coming off a rough loss to Iowa nobody wants to rehash. However, 15 turnovers giving your opponent 24 points is the recipe for a bad time. Sure enough, that game was a bad time.
Maryland is coming off a narrow and heartbreaking 62-61 loss to No. 3 Purdue on Sunday. The Ters led by 12 with 11 minutes left in the game before the Boilermakers mounted a big run in the final stretch to take a 62-59 just with 13.1 seconds left. UMD’s Donta Scott’s attempt to tie the game at the end of regulation was blocked by Trevion Williams, giving Purdue the win. Maryland was without leading scorer Eric Ayala for the matchup as he was out with an injury.
Maryland comes to Lincoln with an 11-14 record and is riding a five-game losing streak. Former Kansas player and Wake Forest head coach Danny Manning took over as the interim coach following Mark Turgeon’s departure from the program in December. Manning, who had previously served as head coach at Tulsa (2012-14) and Wake Forest (2014-20), joined the Maryland staff as an assistant in April of 2021.
The Terps opened the season with a 5-1 record before suffering three straight losses in early December, including its Big Ten opener against Northwestern. Notably though, two of Maryland’s three conference wins have been on the road. Those include a double-overtime win over Northwestern in Evanston and a victory at Rutgers. The Terps’ other Big Ten win was against nationally ranked Illinois at home.
Offensively, Maryland depends on its experienced backcourt of Eric Ayala and Fatts Russell. Ayala, a four-year starter for the Terps, is averaging a team-high 15.1 points per game while averaging 4.6 rebounds per game. Ayala also leads Maryland from behind the arc with 58 three-pointers on the season, hitting 34.3 percent on the season. Russell, a three year starter at Rhode Island before transferring to College Park, adds 13.6 points, a team-leading 3.9 assists, and 1.0 steal per game. Donta Scott is the third Terrapin scoring double figures, averaging 12.6 points per game, including 34 three-pointers, and a team-high 6.2 rebounds per game.
Friday night’s matchup marks the 13th meeting all-time between the conference foes. The teams never played one another prior to Maryland joining the Big Ten in 2014-15. Maryland has been ranked in seven of the previous 12 meetings, including four times in the top-10.
When: Friday, Feb. 18 at 8:00 p.m. CST/9:00 p.m. EST
Where: Pinnacle Bank Arena (15,000) - Lincoln, Nebraska
TV: Big Ten Network
Announcers: Kevin Kugler (play-by-play), Robbie Hummel (analyst)
Radio: Huskers Radio Network
Play-by-play: Kent Pavelka
Analyst: Jake Muhleisen
Broadcast Stations: KLIN (1400 AM) in Lincoln, KKCD (105.9 FM) in Omaha, KHYY (106.9 FM) in Scottsbluff, and KAMI (1580 AM) in Lexington
Also available on Huskers.com and the Huskers app.
Line: Shrug, hasn’t been published yet.
2021-22 Record: 11-14 (3-11 Big Ten)
Interim Head Coach: Danny Manning
Record at UMD: 6-11 (1st year)
Career Record: 122-151 (9th year)
2021-22 Record: 7-18 (1-13 Big Ten)
Head Coach: Fred Hoiberg
Record at Nebraska: 21-63 (3rd year)
Career Record: 136-119 (8th year)
All-Time: Maryland leads 9-3
Big Ten action: Same
In Lincoln: Nebraska is 1-3 all-time (1-1 neutral court, 1-5 College Park)