There is a lot of small conference college ball on the docket on Friday. That’s usual for a Friday, while the big boys dominate the card tomorrow. There is one game that sticks out among the small conferences, though. The Maryland Terrapins and Penn State Nittany Lions will meet in State College on the campus of Penn State University or a Big Ten matchup on Friday night.
Both of these teams have upset potential over some of the bigger teams in the conference. We already saw that with Maryland over Michigan on January 19. That game wasn’t even close, with Maryland pulling away for a 87-63 win. On the other side, Penn State has a recent win over Wisconsin last week. They were on the winning side by a score of 81-71 in an impressive showing at home.
Penn State was unable to keep that momentum going in the backend of their home and home against Wisconsin, but it was still nevertheless a solid effort at home. The Badgers returned the favor with a 72-56 win a few days ago. We were on the Badgers in that game, so the game played out exactly as expected. Penn State is a vastly different team on the road versus at home. It wasn’t much of a surprise to see them collapse on their trip to Madison.
At 6-8 on the season, I’d feel confident in the Nittany Lions being above the .500 mark right now if they showed some life on the road. There has been little energy from them when heading outside of State College. Penn State has won just one game on the road, with a record of 1-6 through seven outings. The Nittany Lions have been much sharper at home with a record of 5-2. We should expect to see a much better team than the 72-56 effort we saw against Wisconsin.
Maryland is not a team to take lightly. They’ve beaten Michigan, Wisconsin, and Illinois this season for a pretty impressive resume. However, consistency has not been part of their game. The Terrapins have been all over the map, and have a record of 10-8 to show for it. They’re coming off a 61-60 loss at home against Purdue, five days after losing against Wisconsin at home, 61-55. Their win over Wisconsin was back in December in Madison, which was a rare terrific showing for the Terrapins on the road. Head below for our free Maryland vs. Penn State pick on February 5, 2021.
Maryland Terrapins vs. Penn State Nittany Lions NCAA Betting Odds:
Maryland vs. Penn State Prediction:
Maryland has proven that they’re capable of beating good teams, but so has Penn State. They’re both in the same category in the Big Ten. Two teams that are good when everything seemingly comes together at the right time. For Penn State, that tends to happen much more often at home than it does on the road. The only road win they have is against Virginia Tech, 75-55, on December 8. That’s a pretty decent Hokies squad, so that’s one of their best wins this season.
They’ve also held tough against Michigan on the road in a 62-58 loss. Penn State also nearly beat Indiana, 87-85, and Ohio State on the road, 83-79. In other words, the Nittany Lions haven’t been as bad as their 1-6 record indicates, they just haven’t been able to finish the deal. Conversely, at home, they have been finishing the deal in State College.
The Lions have been scoring the heck out of the basketball at home, with an average of 81.1 points scored per game. Overall on the year, Penn State has been pretty solid across the board on offense with 75.6 points per game for 84th. My concern with Penn State is their defense, though matchups against the elite Big Ten schools have skewed their numbers. They have allowed 76 points per game for 291st.
Maryland isn’t an elite team, though, especially offensively as a visiting opponent. The Terrapins have been weak with 62.6 points per game. They’ve been able to live off their defensive pressure, but I could see them running into trouble against a hot shooting Penn State team on the road. Penn State is connecting at an impressive rate of 46.3% from the field in State College.
Maryland tends to play down to their competition, too. They are 1-8 ATS versus teams with a record below .500. Penn State has a losing record, but I think a better team than their record of 6-8 indicates. This one should be close through 30 minutes, with Penn State breaking through late to pull away for a six or seven-point win.