It is a battle of hot and cold as the number 19 Maryland Terrapins (15-3 and winners of their last 6) travel to Value City Arena to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes (12-4, losers of 3 in a row).
For Maryland, they have been consistent this season but not necessarily dominant. They did beat number 25 Indiana at home last Friday, but their only other game against a top-25 team was a 76-71 loss to number 4 Virginia back at the end of November. For Ohio State, they got out of the blocks hot, winning 11 of their first 12 games with their lone loss being against Syracuse back at the end of November. Since losing to Michigan State earlier this month, though, they have struggled to regain composure and have lost to both Rutgers and Iowa in the last couple weeks. Maryland and Ohio State will square off Friday with tipoff scheduled for 6:30 pm ET.
In this contest, the Ohio State Buckeyes come in as 2.5-point favorites playing at home. The over/under for total points scored is set at 138.5.
By The Numbers
Both of these teams have been pretty solid on the defensive side this season. Ohio State currently ranks 29th in the country, allowing 64.2 points per game, while the Terrapins rank 40th, allowing 65.8 per game. Ohio State has also done a nice job holding other team’s shooting percentage down as they are allowing opponents to shoot just 39.7% from the field (good for 29th in the country). One area that Maryland has been especially strong is on the boards. They currently rank 3rd in the nation in rebound margin at 11.1 (they average 40.2 rebounds per game versus opponents’ 29.1 per game).
On the offensive side, these teams have been fairly even statistically. Maryland ranks 105th in the nation, averaging 76.8 points per game, while the Buckeyes come in at 126th, averaging 75.9 points. Maryland ranks 61st in the nation in field goal percentage (47.3%) while Ohio State comes in at 103rd (46.4%).
Maryland Looks To Keep Rolling
It has been a good stretch of basketball for Maryland, and they are looking to keep it rolling when they travel to Ohio on Friday. On the season, the Terrapins have been led by junior guard Anthony Cowan Jr. He is averaging 17.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.1 steals per game while shooting 42.4% from the field and 84.5% from the free throw line.
Maryland has two other players averaging double-digits in Bruno Fernando and Jalen Smith. Fernando is averaging 14.6 points, 9.9 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 2.2 blocks per game. He is also shooting 67.8% from the field. Smith is averaging 12.2 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1 block per game while shooting 50%.
Other contributors include Eric Ayala (9.4 points, 2.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists), Aaron Wiggins (8.6 points, 3.3 rebounds) and Darryl Morsell (8.2 points, 3.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists).
Ohio State Looking To Get Back On Track Playing At Home
After losing the last two games on the road, the Buckeyes are glad to be coming back home. Even though they lost their last home game against the number 6 Michigan State Spartans, they are 8-2 while playing at home and will hope that they can use this fortune to end their current losing skid.
Leading the Buckeyes is sophomore forward Kaleb Wesson. He is averaging 16.2 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 1.6 assists while shooting 52.8% from the field. Their only other double-digit scorer is CJ Jackson, who is averaging 12.9 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 3.9 assists.
Despite the lack of high-end scorers, Ohio State has 5 other players averaging 7 points or more per game. Luther Muhammad (9.5 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists), Andre Wesson (7.7 points, 4.4 rebounds), Duane Washington Jr (7.6 points, 2.2 rebounds, 1.2 assists), Keyshawn Woods (7.4 points, 3 rebounds, 3.1 assists) and Kyle Young (7.4 points, 4.9 rebounds) have all been major contributors this season.
This One Is A Toss-up
I don’t really love either team in this matchup. On the one hand, Maryland has strung several wins together, but with the exception of their win over top-25 Indiana, it is not exactly like they have had the world’s toughest schedule. For Ohio State, they are better than the team that has lost 3 in a row, but the real question is how much better? Ultimately, I am not as high on Maryland as their record would imply and I am not as low on Ohio State as their recent track record would suggest. As a result, I think this will be a pretty even matchup, so I am going with the team that gets to play in front of their home crowd. I think Ohio State bucks their recent losing woes and pulls out a victory. For my money, I am taking the Buckeyes at home despite laying the 2.5 points.