Around the nation, conference play is getting geared up. It’s no different for Nebraska, who have hit the road to take on the Maryland Terrapins Wednesday evening in College Park (4:30 pregame start right here on 1400, KLIN).
The Terrapin’s head coach, Mark Turgeon, is in the midst of his eighth season with Maryland. The 2017-18 season marked the first time in three years that the Terrapins missed out on the NCAA Tournament, after they finished 19-17.
Like the Huskers, Maryland is 1-1 in the Big 10 thus far. They have three losses this season, one of which came to Seton Hall, who Nebraska beat handily back in November. The Huskers, ranked No. 24 in the AP poll, will have all they can handle though against the Terrapins.
They’re led in scoring by junior guard Anthony Cowan Jr., who averages 16.5 points per game. The six-footer can help clean the glass as well, pulling down around 4 rebounds per contest. The Terrapins also have a pair of forwards who can pose a threat both offensively and defensively.
Bruno Fernando, from Angola, is a lengthy big man who swats 2.5 shots per game, and is scoring at a clip of 14.5 points a night. Jalen Smith, also known by his nickname “Sticks,” is shooting around 52% from the floor while averaging about 12 points and 7 rebounds per game. Both players are 6-foot-10.
“Those two kids inside, Sticks (Smith) and Bruno (Fernando), are just really a tough tandem,” Nebraska head coach Tim Miles said after practice on Monday. “They can hurt you inside and outside.”
However, the Huskers appear to be up for the challenge. “I would say that watching their actions in practice, it’s about to get real,” Miles said. “We have a veteran team, so I would expect them to act accordingly.”
Senior forward Isaac Copeland is well aware that the Big 10 schedule can feel like a gauntlet. Including Nebraska, there are a total of seven teams in the conference that cracked the AP Top 25. “We have to tighten up,” Copeland said. “The Big 10 is crazy.”
Last season, Nebraska defeated Maryland 70-66, but Copeland says this time around, the Huskers won’t be able to catch anyone by surprise.
“This year, we have pretty much the same group coming back, minus a couple guys,” Copeland said. “(Maryland) is bringing back a lot of the same people too, so I think they’re ready.”
Nebraska is still without freshman guard Amir Harris, who is still recovering from mono, though he did practice in a “limited role” on Monday, according to Miles. The Huskers may need to play without junior forward Isaiah Roby, who missed Saturday’s game against Southwest Minnesota State with a groin injury. In 12 games, Roby is averaging 10 points and 6 rebounds.
(Photo by Kenny Larabee)