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Picks, predictions for Northwestern vs. Maryland on Sunday, February 26

Both teams should be in the NCAA Tournament, but it’s a battle for seeding and Big Ten Tournament position on Sunday.

Maryland Terrapins forward Donta Scott smiles while speaking with forward Julian Reese against the Minnesota Golden Gophers during the second half at Xfinity Center. Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Northwestern Wildcats take on the Maryland Terrapins on Sunday, February 26 from Xfinity Center in College Park, Maryland. Tip-off is set for noon, and the game will air on Big Ten Network

Let’s take a look at the odds and lines on DraftKings Sportsbook and make some picks.

Northwestern vs. Maryland odds

Spread: Maryland -6.5
Over/Under: 128.5
Moneyline: Maryland -260, Northwestern +220

Northwestern (20-8, 11-6 Big Ten) is heading back to the NCAA Tournament, but frankly choked away a win over Illinois on Friday night in Champaign. The Wildcats couldn’t hold a 37-18 halftime lead, and had a five-game winning streak snapped. In a loaded conference full of NBA Lottery picks, Boo Buie (17.6 ppg, 4.4 apg, 3.5 rpg) has been a bit underrated all season. The senior guard is a willing passer for a team that can struggle to score when he’s not on the floor.

Where NU excels is defensively, ranking 17th via KenPom in adjusted efficiency, and turning opponents over on a whopping 21.9% of possessions.

Maryland (19-9, 10-7 Big Ten) is a veteran team that has gotten it turned around in Kevin Willard’s first year in College Park. The Terps are led by Jahmir Young (16.1 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 3.4 apg) and rank 33rd in adjusted offense at KenPom, which is incredible considering they shoot just 31.3% from three-point range.

This game has seeding implications for the Big Ten Tournament as only the top four teams will get the double-bye directly to the quarterfinals, and both teams are in the mix presently. A win for Northwestern will give them sole possession of second place, while a win for Maryland creates at least a three-way tie for the No. 2 position.

The Pick Northwestern +6.5

NU likely won’t let this one slip away as they did in Champaign on Thursday night. This is just too many points for the Wildcats off a devastating loss that should have them focused and locked in on the road. Preventing penetration is something NU does well, and getting to the rim at a high rate is going to be required for Maryland to defend their home court here.

Northwestern covers, but a Terps win here wouldn’t be a surprise.