Big Ten: No. 7 Maryland looks to keep streak, boost lead

Big Ten: No. 7 Maryland looks to keep streak, boost lead
Iowa center Luka Garza (55) drives to the basket between Ohio State's Kyle Young, left, and Luther Muhammad, right, during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020, in Iowa City, Iowa. Iowa won 85-76. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

What to watch in Big Ten basketball:

GAME OF THE WEEK

No. 7 Maryland at No. 25 Ohio State on Sunday. The Big Ten-leading Terrapins look to win their 10th in a row and complete a two-game sweep against the Buckeyes, after suffocating them 67-55 at home last month behind Anthony Cowan Jr.’s 20 points. Ohio State shot just 31% in that one, 5 for 27 on 3-pointers. With a two-game lead over No. 9 Penn State, Maryland also hopes to create more space in the conference standings.Ohio State had won five of six before falling 85-76 to No. 20 Iowa on Thursday.

LOOKING AHEAD

Penn State will try to remain two back or gain ground on the Terps when it visits Indiana on Sunday. The Nittany Lions beat Indiana 64-49 late last month, with Lamar Stevens scoring 17.

PLAYER TO WATCH

Iowa center Luka Garza continues to make a push for Big Ten and national player of the year honors.

The conference’s top scorer (23.7) and fourth-leading rebounder (9.6) through Thursday’s win over Ohio State. the 6-foot-11 junior has scored 20 or more in 12 straight Big Ten games — the most by any conference player over the past two decades and the most by a Hawkeye since since Fred Brown (13) in 1971. Garza’s 641 points are the most by an Iowa junior.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

The Big Ten started the week with 10 teams in the top 40 of the NCAA NET Rankings: Maryland (No. 7), Michigan State (No. 13), Penn State (No. 17), Ohio State (No. 18), Michigan (No. 26), Iowa (No. 28), Rutgers (No. 30), Wisconsin (No. 31), Purdue (No. 33) and Illinois (No. 38). Maryland, Penn State, Iowa and Ohio State are also in the AP Top 25. … The lone Big Ten team unbeaten at home, Maryland (15-0) is off to its best start at Xfnity/Comcast Center. The Terps most recently finished unbeaten at home when they went 15-0 in 2001-02, their final season at Cole Field House. Iowa (12-1), Wisconsin (12-1) and Rutgers (17-1) each have one loss. Iowa has won 11 straight at Carver-Hawkeye Arena since a loss to DePaul on Nov. 11, while Rutgers got beaten by Michigan on Wednesday.

ON THE WOMEN’S SIDE

The race for first place remains tight, with No. 7 Maryland (14-2) — the defending champion — holding a slim lead over No. 18 Northwestern (13-2) and No. 19 Iowa (12-3). The Terps have won 12 straight since a loss at Iowa on Jan. 9. They returned the favor by routing the Hawkeyes at home last week, and have split two games with Northwestern. Maryland hosts Purdue on Tuesday. … Iowa puts a 34-game home win streak — only defending national champion Baylor (53) has a longer run going — on the line when it hosts Penn State on Saturday. … Northwestern (23-3) has its highest win total since going 23-9 and reaching the NCAA Tournament in 2014-15 and needs just two to match the program record. The 1978-79 team went 25-4 in 1978-79.

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