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Maryland

vs.

Ohio State

College Basketball Pick

1/31/17

Maryland has been one of the more surprising teams in the nation the season. Projected to finish in the middle of the pack in the Big Ten, the Terrapins enter this game with just two losses, surprisingly both at home. Their success on the road has been huge and will come into play in this game.

Ohio State's year is a bit more disappointing, which took a turn for the worse after Keita Bates-Diop's injury. The Buckeyes have some nice wins at home against Michigan State and Minnesota, but as said above, Maryland still hasn't lost on the road in conference play.

Coming off a bad loss to Iowa, OSU is in a precarious position if it wants any chance at the NCAA tournament or any postseason tourney. The Buckeyes had a chance to beat Iowa without its best player and put in a complete dud. As long as the fans haven't completely given up on them, the home advantage in this game should turn things around from Saturday's loss.

But finding a way to win may be difficult against a team that has displayed more consistency and can actually finish games led by the experienced Melo Trimble. Sure, the Bucks have experience as well with all five starters at least juniors, but none of them have been able to produce every game. The problem at Iowa was that center Trevor Thompson got into early foul trouble and finished without a bucket against a team he could've had success against. In this game, Thompson will have to deal with Damonte Dodd and Ivan Bender, both of which struggle offensively but give Maryland enough force down low. Thompson averages more than 10 points per game and needs to show up. This team beat Minnesota and MSU in large part because of Thompson.

As for the other positions, it's easy to say Maryland has the edge, but when on, Ohio State's starting lineup can compete with the best in the Big Ten. Point guard JaQuan Lyle usually presents a size mismatch and if Anthony Cowan defends him, Lyle will have a five-inch advantage. If he can produce and match whatever Trimble does on the other end that could be enough for the Bucks.

Maybe a bigger question is how the Ohio State three-point defense does against the conference's best long-range shooting team. Outside of Trimble, the Terps have gotten tons of production from a slew of freshmen, all of which can hit the three with Justin Jackson, Cowan and Kevin Huerter. If the Buckeyes can't stop Maryland from hitting those shots, that could easily be the difference on Tuesday because OSU struggles from deep. Lyle, Marc Loving and Kam Williams can all shoot, but as a team they are just 33.7% from three-point range. At the least, one thing the Buckeyes have is they can match Maryland in size and athleticism, but if they don't challenge looks beyond the arc, they won't win.

While Ohio State has been bad on the road, it continues to fight against every opponent in Columbus. That'll likely be the case here and with the season on the line, one has to think the Buckeyes bounce back from their disappointing loss at Iowa and at least keep this one competitive.

Our Pick - Ohio State by 7

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