Ohio vs Maryland Preview and Prediction
Ohio vs Maryland Preview
Being able to bounce-back after a tough loss is the sign of good ball-club, and that’s exactly what Maryland did their last time out. After suffering an 80-75 loss at the hands of Purdue, the Terps rebounded with a 92-91 overtime victory over Illinois to even their Big Ten conference record at 1-1 (7-3 overall).
It wasn’t easy for Maryland, they saw their 45-26 halftime lead evaporate quickly due to too many poor shot attempts and turnovers. Towards the end of the second half the Terps and Illini combined for eight turnovers in a row, which opened the door for Maryland to stay in the game. With 4.7 seconds left and down by two, Kevin Huerter got open on the inbound play and had a chance for a game-winning three. However, the pass was too late and he missed, but Bruno Fernando tied the game on a tip-in to send it to overtime, which saw the Terps leave Champaign victorious.
If they play sloppy like they did against Illinois or the previous game against Purdue, the Bobcats are good enough to take advantage or at least stay in the game.
The Bobcats are led by fourth year head coach Saul Phillips, who has delivered solid Ohio teams each season, earning back-to-back runner up finishes in the MAC.
Mike Laster (16.5 PPG) is the Bobcats top offensive weapon, and Phillips isn’t afraid to leave him on the floor for extended periods. Laster has come into a much larger role this season than in years prior; his average of 35.4 minutes per contest put him in the top 50 in the nation.
In addition to Laster, Phillips recruited a talented freshman to campus this season–Teyvion Kirk may be getting his first taste of college basketball action, but he has performed admirably averaging 14.4 points and 5.1 rebounds per game in 31.6 minutes.
Despite their height (or lack thereof), Ohio is one of the best teams in the country on the defensive glass. The Bobcats lead the MAC in that category with 30.43 per game, a number that puts them 19th in all of Division I basketball. Phillips’ team is content with giving up fast-break opportunities to stop the opposition from getting second chances.
Too often this year, the Terps have played one very good half but struggled to play well in the other. They were down 15 points to Bucknell after 20 minutes, but they turned it up in the second. And against Illinois on Sunday, they blew a 19-point halftime lead. This is an underrated Bobcats team who will pounce if given an opportunity tonight.
LINE: -15 Maryland
The Terps have played down to their competition this season, and with the line at +15 for Ohio, I don’t expect them to win the game, but I would take the Ohio plus the points.
Maryland 80 Ohio 72