Maryland vs Ohio State Preview and Prediction
Maryland vs Ohio State Basketball Preview
A Big Ten showdown is in store for college basketball fans tonight as Maryland looks to continue its winning ways in 2018 against one of the hottest teams in the conference, Ohio State.
Maryland basketball went 2-1 in its first week of the new year, moving to 3-2 in Big Ten play. The Terps picked up home wins over Penn State and Iowa, losing in between at Michigan State.
Ohio State had an even better week, though. The Buckeyes beat Michigan State, which looked impossible when the then-No. 1 Spartans were thrashing Maryland. Ohio State is one of just two teams unbeaten in Big Ten play (joining Purdue), and the Buckeyes’ four losses are to three top-25 teams and Butler.
These teams met twice last year, with the Terps earning a sweep on the back of Justin Jackson averaging over 20 points and double-digit rebounds during those two games. The Buckeyes won’t have to worry about Jackson this season however, as he is out for the season with an injury.
Ohio State is becoming a Tournament lock according to ESPN’s Jay Bilas and with their resume it’s not hard to see why. Head coach Chris Holtmann was hired in June after coaching Butler for three seasons. He replaced Thad Matta, who steered the ship for 13 years in Columbus. The Buckeyes have been perhaps the best surprise in the Big Ten, and that’s thanks in no small part to the new man in charge.
The Buckeyes are led by junior Keita Bates-Diop who is averaging 20 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.6 blocks, 1.4 assists and 1.2 steals per game. He’s boasting a .525/.388/.821 shooting line, making him one of the Buckeyes’ best weapons in nearly every aspect of the game. He’s tallied 32 and 27 points in Ohio State’s last two contests.
Matchup to Watch
Size: Ohio State has zero players taller than 6’9. Maryland will start two, including 7’0 Michal Cekovsky. Bates-Diop and others have done plenty to keep size disparities from mattering this season—Ohio State has a plus-4.4 rebounding margin—but Maryland had 56 points in the paint Sunday, and it could be tough for the Buckeyes to keep the Terps from doing the same.
They key injury falls on Maryland’s side, Dion Wiley. Wiley scored 10 points in a flash against Iowa, but was poked in the eye early in the second half and didn’t return. Head coach Mark Turgeon said it was not serious, but Wiley will miss this game with concussion-like symptoms.
The Terps have stumbled out of the gate three times in their last four games and if they start slow against this Ohio State team, you can say goodbye to a chance at victory.
LINE: -5 OSU
Ohio State 81 Maryland 68