Who is the best point guard in the Big Ten? Evidence will be provided Saturday when Jahmir Young and Maryland host Jalen Pickett and Penn State in College Park, Md.
While Young averages 16.1 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game, Pickett fills the stat sheet to the tune of 17.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 7.0 assists.
Give the statistical edge to Pickett. Young, however, has had no less of an impact for Maryland (16-8, 7-6 Big Ten), leading the Terps in scoring in each of their six conference home victories — including three over ranked teams.
Similarly, when Penn State (14-10, 5-8) has won in the league, Pickett has shown the way. In the Nittany Lions’ most recent victory on Jan. 29 against Michigan, he put up 25 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.
Young and Pickett have comparable stories with both playing three seasons for mid-major programs, Young at Charlotte and Pickett at Siena.
Maryland and Penn State are coming off defeats. The Terps fell into a familiar trap on the road on Tuesday as they allowed Michigan State to score the game’s first 15 points in a 63-58 defeat.
The Terps caught the Spartans in the second half and led 48-44 with nine minutes left. But Michigan State answered with an 8-0 run.
Young led Maryland with 17 points and six assists. But the Terps were done in by crooked shooting from distance as they made just 3 of 22 (13.6 percent).
“We came out so lackadaisical,” Maryland coach Kevin Willard said. “Part of the start was, we didn’t practice very good.”
On Wednesday, Penn State suffered just its second home loss, falling in overtime to Wisconsin, 79-74. It was the 18th time in the last 19 meetings that the Badgers have beaten the Nittany Lions.
It also was the third straight defeat for Penn State, its longest losing streak of the season.
Thanks largely to Pickett, the Nittany Lions have the best assist-to-turnover ratio in the Big Ten. But their 11 miscues were costly against Wisconsin.
“If we have live-ball turnovers Saturday, we’re gonna get our doors blown off,” Penn State coach Micah Shrewsberry said.
–Field Level Media