Opponent: No. 1 Michigan State Spartans (14-1, 2-0 in Big Ten)
Location: Breslin Student Events Center, East Lansing, Michigan
Tipoff/date: 8 p.m. EST, Thursday, Jan. 4
Last meeting: Maryland won, 63-60, at Xfinity Center on a last-second 3-pointer from Melo Trimble in the 2016-17 regular-season finale.
TV: FS1 — Gus Johnson and Bill Raftery
Radio: Maryland Sports Radio Network (105.7 FM Baltimore and ESPN 980 AM Washington, D.C.) — Johnny Holliday, Chris Knoche and Walt Williams
Student radio: WMUC Sports — Megan Smedley and Connor Newcomb
Spread: Michigan State -13.5 (via Odds Shark)
Fernando's role has expanded greatly in the offense without Justin Jackson and Ivan Bender, who are both out for the season. Against Penn State, Maryland relied on Fernando even more heavily after Kevin Huerter got into foul trouble in the first half, and the freshman delivered, racking up 17 points and 11 rebounds to help the Terps pull out the victory. With Maryland squaring up against the top club in the country, the team needs a similar performance from the big man.
As a freshman last season, Ward gave Maryland headaches, leading both teams in scoring (22) and rebounds (16) in their matchup. Without Bender, Maryland is relatively thin in the frontcourt, and Ward is a physical player who will get to the free throw line. The sophomore forward earned Big Ten Player of the Week honors last week after scoring 43 points on 16-of-17 shooting and grabbing 25 rebounds in two games, albeit against a soft schedule of Cleveland State and Savannah State.
While everyone's eyes will be glued on the reigning Big Ten Player of the Year Miles Bridges — and fairly so, since Bridges is a stud — the Ward vs. Ceko/Bruno matchup will decide the Terps' fate.