Pick with Analysis
Ohio State is itching to get back in the Top 25 after a couple nice wins, but this is the Game the Buckeyes need to have to boost their resume. Maryland comes in after a late comeback win at home against Northwestern.
The Buckeyes didn’t have a win against a Top 25 team until beating Indiana on Saturday in a convincing 12-point Game. They have been shaky at times, but D’Angelo Russell has really picked up his play as of late which has made all the difference. OSU has lost one Game at home all year, and that was to Iowa when Russell had one of his worst Games of the season. Surprisingly, as the records stand, this will be OSU’s last matchup with a Top 25 opponent before hosting Wisconsin in their season finale.
Maryland is kind of in the same boat despite having one more win in Big Ten play (6-2). The Terrapins swept Michigan State, but haven’t done all that much to convince people that they are the hands down second-best team in the conference, even with the higher ranking. This is a team that has eked out multiple wins in Conference play already (at MSU, vs. Northwestern) and haven’t done much on the road, losing convincingly at Illinois and Indiana. A win at Ohio State would change things, but right now, this team struggles too much in hostile environments to be given the No. 2 spot in the conference.
While Melo Trimble has been great for the Terps, D’Angelo Russell has been even better lately for the Buckeyes. Russell has averaged more than 25 points in the last Four Games, but he’s also a beast on the boards (14 at Iowa) and can dish it out (10 assists vs. Indiana). His matchup will likely be with Maryland’s senior Dez Wells. Wells is a solid player, but defending Russell will be a tough task.
The problem for OSU, and a reason they have three losses in Conference play, is that every other player is inconsistent. Marc Loving comes off the bench, yet he’s their second-leading scorer. Sam Thompson has been better lately, but it’s still an unknown of who you’re going to get on the cOurt each night. Freshman Jae’Sean Tate could be a factor as well after dropping 20 points on Indiana.
Another solid matchup to watch will be OSU’s defensive PG Shannon SCott against freshman Melo Trimble. Trimble started the season great, and he’s only getting better. He is a great shooter in addition to his ability to get to the rack. He’s scored at least 24 points in two of the last three Games. On the road, though, someone else will need to step up, whether it’s Jake LAyman, who can stretch the floor with his shot or the athletic Dez Wells.
With the way Russell is playing, it’s going to be hard for anyone to beat the Buckeyes in Columbus. For the Terps, it will require another big Game from Trimble, as well as a solid outing from LAyman or Wells.
Our Prediction – Ohio State by 7