It’s Christmas Day basketball. Maryland will head to West Lafayette, Indiana, to take on the Purdue Boilermakers in a Christmas Day match up. The Purdue men’s basketball team returns home for the final time in the 2020 calendar year, Maryland basketball needs to start their conference-only schedule strong on the road at Mackey Arena, it won’t be easy.The Boilermakers have won all four of their home games this season and look to end 2020 on a high note.
The Boilermakers have made the most of their opportunities in their nonconference schedule with key wins against Valparaiso, No. 23 Ohio State, and Notre Dame.
After back-to-back losses against Clemson and No. 11 Rutgers, the latest victory gives the Terps a chance to build positive momentum with a deep schedule looming. Four of Maryland’s next six games come against top-25 opponents, including two more before the end of 2020.
Maryland vs Purdue Game info and How to Watch
Date & Time: December 25, 2020, 2:30 pm ET
Venue: Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, IN
TV: Fox Sports 1
Live Stream: WATCH FREE HERE
It is likely a one-off, as well. The Rainbow Classic has not had a Big Ten team in quite a while and the unique circumstances of COVID-19 has kept our players on campus for the holidays, so we have a special Christmas Day game. Like so many in conference play, it is a big one, too. Even without fans Purdue needs to defend its home court if it wants to make the NCAA Tournament.
The Boilermakers put for guys on the perimeter and one in the post which has benefited their big men down low. This gives them an advantage because their frontcourt starters are skilled. Also, it puts the opposing defense in a bind if they want to double team because Purdue can pass the ball out for a perimeter shot or find someone cutting to the basket for the score.
So far for Maryland basketball, Donta Scott has been the Terps most effective player on the floor. In their two losses to the Clemson Tigers and Rutgers, Scott led the team in scoring. He’s averaging 13 points and seven rebounds. He has been the best three-point shooter for the Terps and is one of the most efficient shooters from the field.
Three Things to Watch
1. Can Maryland continue its positive trajectory? The Terps dropped the ball against Clemson and Rutgers transitioning from mid-major to Power Five competition. After an 84-71 victory over La Salle, the team has a chance to continue pushing in a positive direction. Building momentum will be key, as the Terps face ranked opponents in four of their next five games after Friday.
2. How will minutes be split? Maryland’s losses to Clemson and Rutgers didn’t allow the coaching staff to spread minutes around, leaving the question as to how things will be divided in close games. With routine conference play here, Friday’s game should be a chance for Turgeon and his staff to work out how much each player will see the floor.
3. Who will win the battle inside? Maryland will see its first matchup against extreme height as the Boilermakers will trot out 7-foot-4, 285-pound center Zach Edey (No. 15). Purdue has been able to get 14.6 minutes per game out of Edey so far this season, seeing him average 10.3 points and 3.9 rebounds per outing, showing that the freshman may be more adjusted to the college game than Chol Marial is. The main question is whether or not Turgeon will try to match the two together on the floor, or trust Galin Smith and other forwards to get the job done.
Last year’s loss in College Park was like so many for Purdue. The offense completely betrayed us as we fell behind early before making a late run to make the score closer. In this case Purdue trailed 36-20 at the half after hitting just one field goal in the first eight minutes of the game. The Boilers outscored the Terrapins over the final 32 minutes 46-37, but were already down 20-4 by the time they got going. It was a frustrating game a bit like Tuesday night in Iowa City. The defense did enough to win, but the offense did not.
Maryland entered this season after its first Big Ten men’s basketball championship, shared with Wisconsin and Michigan State. So far this season they have beaten who they should beat and have lost their two toughest games. We have a common opponent in that they lost 67-51 to the same Clemson team that beat us by 11. They also opened conference play with a 74-60 loss to Rutgers. Their five wins have come over Old Dominion, Navy, Mount St. Mary’s, Monmouth, and LaSalle. All those wins were by at least 13 points.