College Basketball Pick
With the regular season winding down, this is a fairly big Game for a number of reasons. Maryland, still fighting for a No. 1 seed, cannot afford to lose a Game like this to a struggling Ohio State team. If so, their hopes of a top seed could be all but gone. As for the Buckeyes, they are just fighting for their Tourney lives and are outside of the bubble at the moment. A win over Maryland could change that and add some spark to a team that may be ultimately undone by a Four-Game losing streak in the first month of the season.
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The problem for the Buckeyes can be seen the first time these teams played. Maryland was completely dominant in a 100-65 beat down back on Jan. 16. The Terrapins did pretty much whatever they wanted en route to 11 threes and shooting 62.7% from the field. The good news for Ohio State is that Maryland probably can’t have a better day.
Robert Carter (4-of-4) didn’t miss a three and Rasheed Sulaimon only missed one shot (9-of-10). Those are relevant numbers because Carter is just 16-of-46 from three on the year and Sulaimon followed that Game up by going 2-of-15 in the next two contests. Basically, two players that combined for 47 points in the first meeting had abnormally good Games.
Sure, there’s a reason behind that, but after getting embarrassed like that the first time around, Ohio State will be a much different challenge at home. It also can’t be ignored that the Buckeyes haven’t lost at home since the Virginia Game back on Dec. 1. That was a good Virginia team and they only lost by six points. since then, the Buckeyes have beat Kentucky and haven’t lost at home in the Big Ten. This is a much different team in Columbus.
The same can be said about the Terps, who struggled on the road at Michigan and Michigan State. Nevertheless, Maryland has one of the most complete teams in the country with Melo Trimble at point, Carter as a stretch-Four and Diamond Stone down low. Ohio State will need much better efforts this time around and that shouldn’t be a problem.
Marc Loving, OSU’s leading scorer, had only three points in that first Game. His main role is to stop Robert Carter from dominating the Game again, but also shoot better than 1-of-8 from the field. The Buckeyes will still have issues in the paint, namely against Diamond Stone. Trevor Thompson and Daniel Giddens both struggled in the post in the first Game, each with Four fouls apiece.
Ohio State lacks depth and consistency, but some of that seems to go out the window when they play in Columbus. The play of Keita Bates-Diop and Jae’Sean Tate will be vital, as those two have been leading the team the last couple of weeks. Tate is regularly in double figures, while Bates-Diop just dropped 22 points on Penn State and 15 and 12 on Illinois. Tate has a size advantage over Sulaimon (weight wise) and needs to use that on the offensive end.
Yes, Maryland is a good team, but this Game will be a far cry from when these teams met the first time. The Buckeyes should put up a better fight and it won’t be anything new for the Terps, who are in battles to the wire at least once a week.
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