This Saturday the Basketbucks have a shot at upsetting another top five team this season as they travel to College Park, Md. to face the Terrapins.
Gametime: Sat, Jan 16 / 12 pm
Where: Xfinity Center, College Park, Md.
TV: ESPN2, ESPN3
Both teams share a few common opponents – Northwestern, Mt. Saint Mary’s, and Connecticut. The only difference is the Terps’ win over Uconn, whom the Buckeyes failed to beat.
But ever since defeating Kentucky, this Buckeye team has had a lot more confidence. This has been an odd Buckeyes squad to figure out, from dropping early games against easily beatable opponents to playing their best two games against their toughest competition, UVA and Kentucky. But nevertheless, the Buckeyes will be going into this weekend’s game with a 13-6 record.
On the other side of the tip, the Terrapins boast a 15-2 record and a national ranking of third, right behind Kansas and Oklahoma. However, those rankings will be subject to change after Kansas’ loss to West Virginia as well as Maryland’s most recent loss to the *ichigan Wolverines. Maryland’s toughest win is probably against Wisconsin, having lost their two toughest games to UNC and *ichigan, so they have yet to really defeat a decent opponent.
Head Coach Mark Turgeon’s best weapon is none other than point guard Melo Trimble. Trimble leads the Terps in scoring with 14.8 ppg. He also is an excellent free throw shooter with a percentage of 87 percent so far this season, and he is also a force to reckon with on the defensive end with 22 steals. Rounding out the other projected starters for Turgeon’s squad, former Duke shooting guard Rasheed Sulaimon will be tough to stop. Jake Layman, Robert Carter, and Damonte Dodd should be the big men starting, all of whom are averaging over ten points per game.
For the Buckeyes, it should stay the same with Jaquan Lyle at the point, followed by Jae’sean Tate, Marc Loving, Keita Bates-Diop, and Trevor Thompson at the center position.
Keys to the Game & Matchups
The keys to this game for both teams will be who can control the glass. Despite being the shortest in the starting lineup at 6’4, Tate leads the Buckeyes in rebounds with 108 on the season. Tate’s battle with Carter (6.9 rebounds per game) should be a fun one to watch within the game.
Another interesting matchup to keep an eye on is to see whether or not Lyle will be quick enough to guard Trimble. Lyle has a height advantage on him, but we’ll see if he can limit Trimble’s production. That is who the Bucks have to stop first, but even so, Maryland is fifth in the nation in field goal percentage, so they have scoring production all over the court.
OSU X-Factor – Daniel Giddens. If Giddens can provide good minutes off the bench without getting into foul trouble, then he should prove to be a good defensive weapon. Ohio State ranks tenth in the nation in blocks per game with 6.06, but 35 of those this season have come from Giddens. He will have to play solid defense to give the Buckeyes a decent shot at shutting down Maryland’s offense.
Maryland X-Factor – Diamond Stone. Stone is Maryland’s second leading scorer overall this season with 13.1 ppg, and he may not even start, in favor of Dodd, who has started the last few games for the Terps. The 6’11” freshman can also crash the boards with his size.
Prediction: OSU 65 / Maryland 72
Despite limiting Trimble, the Terrapins just have too many weapons on offense for the entire team to have an off night. Balance and a well executed gameplan will unfortunately prove to beat out the Buckeyes. But should Maryland have a tough night shooting from the field, Ohio State could have their second top five upset of the season.