Wisconsin Badgers vs. Maryland Terrapins Pick & Prediction MARCH 14th 2024

If there were two teams that were happy to see the regular season end and get a fresh start with the arrival of the postseason, they were Maryland and Wisconsin.

Going into their Big Ten tournament second-round matchup in Minneapolis on Thursday, both the Terrapins and Badgers hope that the conference tournament will offer a late-season chance to avenge disappointing endings to the regular season.

Maryland (16-16) finished the regular season losing five of its last six games to finish as the No. 12 seed for the conference tournament, but easily handled Rutgers on Wednesday in a first-round game, beating the Scarlet Knights 65-51.

“Our defense has kept us in every game,” Maryland head coach Kevin Willard said. “We had seven losses by one possession. It’s hard in college basketball right now. They are frustrated by how the season ended, but it’s just getting them to understand how close we really were. It’s not like we were getting blown out and it’s not like we weren’t in any games.”

Wisconsin (19-12) has been ranked as high as sixth during the season but faded badly down the stretch, losing eight of its last 11 games.

The Badgers are still in good shape for an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament, hoping a win over Rutgers and a hard-fought loss at Purdue to close the regular season are signs they can get back to the team they were earlier in the year.

“I thought we played really hard,” Wisconsin junior Steven Crowl said to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “The effort was there. We’re going to win games if we play with that effort, that heart.”

There was concern for Wisconsin earlier in the week after starting point guard Chucky Hepburn took a blow to the head in the Purdue game, but he is expected to play.

The teams played once during the regular season, with Wisconsin earning a 74-70 win on Feb. 20 in Madison.

The winner will advance to meet fourth-seeded Northwestern in a quarterfinal matchup Friday.

–Field Level Media

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