Two teams on the cusp of the Top 25 square off Wednesday, when Maryland hosts Butler in the Gavitt Tipoff Games, which pits teams from the Big East and Big Ten against one another for early-season clashes. It’s the first true test for both teams after coasting to 2-0 records.
The Terrapins have shown off their depth and tinkered with different lineups during easy wins over Stony Brook and Maryland Eastern Shore to start the season. “We can go a lot of different directions,” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon told reporters. “The hardest thing for me right now is just getting guys enough minutes.” Butler has started its season with double-digit wins over Kennesaw State and Princeton. The teams’ only previous meeting came in the second round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament, with Butler winning 62-59.
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, FS1
ABOUT BUTLER (2-0): The Bulldogs are led by reigning Big East Player of the Week Kelan Martin (20 points, 11.5 rebounds), who leads five players scoring in double digits. Martin has led an efficient effort at the offensive end thus far, as Butler has shot better than 50 percent and topped 80 points in each of its first two games and committed just seven turnovers against Princeton. Butler’s big men have been effective, with 6-8 senior Tyler Wideman leading the way with 12 points per game, but they will face a height disadvantage against the Terrapins.
ABOUT MARYLAND (2-0): Eight players are averaging at least 7.5 points for the Terrapins, with guard Anthony Cowan Jr. (15.5 points, 7.5 rebounds) leading the way. Fellow sophomores Kevin Huerter (11.5 points) and Justin Jackson (9.5, 10 rebounds) have picked up where they left off after strong freshman campaigns. The Terps started a big lineup Sunday against Maryland Eastern Shore, with 6-10 freshman Bruno Fernando (8.5 points) starting alongside 7-1 center Michal Cekovsky (10).
1. Butler has outscored its first two opponents in the paint 100-42.
2. Maryland is 28-2 in non-conference home games under Turgeon.
3. The Bulldogs are shooting 26.8 percent from 3-point range while allowing opponents to hit 54.5 percent from beyond the arc.
PREDICTION: Maryland 78, Butler 74