The teams faced each other in the regular-season finale Sunday, with host Michigan State winning 77-67. The Spartans (20-11) also won 65-63 on Feb. 1 against the host Terrapins (15-16).
The winner will face #12 Wisconsin (24-6), the #2 seed, in the quarterfinals Friday.
“I’m looking forward to it. You know, you play a team three times, that’s how you get a good feel for them,” Maryland coach Danny Manning said. “Not a lot of prep in regards to showing a lot of film, because we’ve been doing that all week, so we’ll go back and we’ll break down this game.”
The Spartans shot 53.1 percent in the first half against Maryland on Sunday, opening a 20-point lead at the break. Michigan State scored the first 14 points of the game and led 18-1 before Maryland made its first field goal.
Malik Hall scored 17 points for the Spartans to lead four players in double figures. Marcus Bingham Jr. had 12 points and a game-high 11 rebounds, Tyson Walker scored 13 and Gabe Brown added 10 points.
Eric Ayala scored 19, Fatts Russell 16 and Donta Scott 13 for the Terps, who had won four of their previous five.
The Spartans’ victory Sunday was the 633rd for coach Tom Izzo at Michigan State, passing Bob Knight of Indiana for most overall wins at a Big Ten school.
Michigan State, ranked #13 at the end of January, had dropped seven of nine games before beating Maryland.
“We just haven’t been able to put together some games, so now the trick will be, can we put together a couple of practices?” Izzo said. ” … All we can do is show them film, show why we think (lulls) happened, and hopefully get a little better from there.”
Brown is Michigan State’s lone double-figure scorer, averaging 11.5. Bingham is the top rebounder at 6.0. Michigan State’s bench, which contributed 33 points against Maryland, has outscored its opponents 19 times.
After shooting 28.1 percent in the first half against Michigan State, Maryland bounced back to shoot 51.7 percent after the break, closing within 61-58 with 7:14 remaining.
Russell leads the Terrapins with 14.9 points per game with Ayala at 14.6. Scott adds 12.5 points with a team-best 6.2 rebounds.
Manning, who coached two seasons at Tulsa and six at Wake Forest, was elevated from assistant to interim head coach on Dec. 3 after the departure of Mark Turgeon.
Maryland needs to win two games to avoid its first losing season since 1993.