Ohio State, fresh off an offensive explosion against North Florida last Friday and sporting a new #3 ranking in the latest AP poll take on the Maryland Terrapins Wednesday in Columbus in the Big Ten/ACC challenge. Since its inception in 1999, Ohio State is 6-6 in the challenge while Maryland is sporting a much better record at 10-4. This year’s contest in the challenge figures to be a good test for the Buckeyes’ defense as Maryland is averaging over 74 points a game and shooting almost 46% from the field despite losing big man Alex Lin to the NBA draft last season. Jake Layman is leading the way, scoring 16.4 points a game and is followed on the roster by a familiar face in Evan Smotrycz. Smotrycz is in his first year with Maryland and is a transfer from Michigan averaging 13.7 points a game. Both present matchup problems for Ohio State because Layman is a 6-8 Guard who will most likely have a shorter player in 6-4 Lenzelle Smith Jr. guarding him and Smotrycz is a 6-9 Forward who likes to play facing the basket
Ohio State is sporting a little bit more of a balanced attack with guards Lenzelle Smith Jr. and Aaron Craft and center Amir Williams each averaging 11.3 points per game. Add in guard Shannon Scott’s 11.0 points per game and you have four players averaging basically the same score each night, making it hard for a defense to key on one or two possible players.
This game’s storyline will most likely come down to how Ohio State’s defense will do against these Maryland Terrapins. Ohio State is currently holding opponents to 53.3 points per game which is good for second best in the country. Thad Matta’s trademark defense has also been the highlight of the season so far for the Buckeyes as the offense is still trying to find its true identity. Look for Ohio State to key on Layman and Smotrycz and pull out a ten point win.