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Ranked Big Ten teams open December on the road

After Thanksgiving tournaments, three of the Big Ten's top programs face tough competition this week

Grace Berger lays the ball up against South Carolina in this weekend's Paradise Jam. The Hoosiers upset the Gamecocks. Photo courtesy of IU Athletics.
Grace Berger lays the ball up against South Carolina in this weekend’s Paradise Jam. The Hoosiers upset the Gamecocks. Photo courtesy of IU Athletics.

After a strong showing in this past weekend’s Thanksgiving tournaments, three AP top 25 Big Ten teams face nationally-ranked opponents this first week of December. Let’s take a look at the key matchups:

No. 14 Indiana goes on the road to take on No. 19 Miami Wednesday. The Hoosiers moved from 17th to 14th in this week’s AP top 25 rankings for their strong showing at the Paradise Jam Tournament. They took down fifth-ranked South Carolina by 14 points, and then fell to then-No. 2 Baylor by 15. Indiana is playing great basketball against top-tier opponents and the experience will benefit them when conference play begins. 

The Hoosier attack is powered by four double-digit scorers led by sophomore guard Grace Berger, who averages 14.9-points per game. Freshman standout Mackenzie Holmes chips in 13, while Ali Patberg and Brenna Wise round out the double-figure producers with 12.4 and 10.7-points per game, respectively. 

Key statistics from the Paradise Jam tournament include Indiana turning over South Carolina 18 times for 18 points, and outscoring Baylor by a 13:9 margin on second chance efforts.

One Miami player to watch for includes redshirt senior Beatrice Mompremier. The 6-4 Baylor transfer leads all Hurricane scorers with 18.1 points per game and eight blocks. Junior Kelsey Marshall averages 11.4 points and has 21 assists and Endia Banks averages 10.4 points per game.

                 Indiana vs. Miami

When: Dec. 4, 6 p.m. ET.    Watch: ACC Network     Listen: IU Hoops 


The ninth-ranked Maryland Terrapins reacquaint themselves with Tobacco Road and the 12th-ranked N.C. State Wolfpack on Thursday. Coach Brenda Frese’s squad hasn’t been tested since their home loss to South Carolina and a two-point survival win against James Madison. Since Nov. 13, Maryland’s closest contest was a 19-point win against Clemson.

North Carolina State’s closest contest was a nine-point win against Hawaii, in the Hawaii’ Tournament. The Terps and Wolfpack have history, with the latter holding a 43-36 series lead against their hard-shell foes. They last met on March 18, 2018, and N.C. State clinched a 14-point win.

Maryland has four players scoring in double figures. Ashley Owusu leads the pack with 14 points per game, followed by Shakira Austin’s 13.4-point average. Kaila Charles chips in 12.4 points per contest and Taylor Mikesell contributes 10.4. The Terps have got off to quick starts, and outscored opponents 161-81 in first quarters while holding them to an average 52.3 points per game.

A key Wolfpack player to watch is 6-5 sophomore center Elissa Cunane, who averages 13.4 points per game. Two other double-figure scorers are Aislinn Konig (11 ppg) and Jakia Brown-Turner (10 ppg).

Maryland Terrapins vs. N.C. State Wolfpack

When: Dec. 5, 7 p.m. ET.   Watch: ESPN      Listen: Tune In 

Heading into the Junkaroo Jam, No. 15 Michigan State stood undefeated and looked to continue their five-game wining streak against LSU. Though upset by the Tigers, the Spartans bounced back against Kansas State, 65-60. With their 6-1 record, they travel to Tallahassee Thursday to take on No. 8 Florida State.

Nia Clouden is one to watch for Michigan State, averaging 15.4 points per game, and Taryn McCutcheon throws in 12 points per night. The team has been outscoring opponents by an average 23.5 points, and grab 9.4 more rebounds per night than opponents. The Spartans share the ball well, averaging 15.9 assists per game, but they turn the ball over 17.3 times per contest.

The Seminoles rose from 12th to eighth in the rankings today after taking down No. 6 Texas A&M Sunday, 80-58. Both Michigan State and Florida State have played LSU this year, with the Seminoles dealing them an eight-point defeat.

Three double-figure scorers lead the way for Florida State: Nicki Ekhomu (15.5 ppg), Nausia Woolfolk (14.8) and Kiah Gillespie (13.8). They outscore their opponents by an average 29.6 points per game and have a 14.5 rebounds advantage. The Seminoles handle the ball better than the Spartans, only committing 12.3 turnovers per game, and they share the ball well at 16.2 assists per game.

Michigan State Spartans vs. Florida State Seminoles

When: Dec. 5, 8 p.m. ETWatch: ACC Network   Listen: Spartan Sports Network 


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