In what will be perhaps the most competitive game on Thursday’s NCAA basketball schedule, the Maryland Terrapins will head to Value City Arena to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes.
The Terps come into the B1G Ten conference showdown posting an 18-3 (6-2) record. Maryland started the 2014-2015 campaign on a seven game win streak before falling to the then seventh ranked Virginia Cavaliers at home. After dropping that game 76-65, the Terps ripped off another seven game win streak.
Maryland is a team that wasn’t even ranked in the preseason polls. They didn’t make their first appearance in the top 25 until week four, being ranked No. 21. After climbing the rankings for five weeks, they got all the way up to No. 11. They also took down Michigan State in double overtime in East Lansing. In their last game, it took a late rally to top the Northwestern Wildcats 68-67. Dez Wells scored the go-ahead bucket with two seconds left to give the Terps the win.
The season has been somewhat the opposite for the Buckeyes. The Bucks (16-5, 5-3) came into the year ranked No. 20 and have had several inconsistencies. They’ve been ranked as high as No. 12, but have lost games to powers Louisville and UNC. The Bucks also have dropped both games to the Iowa Hawkeyes in less than a month, but for every loss they have posted strong wins. Bouncing back with an overtime win on the road against the Minnesota Golden Gophers and holding their own in a 12 point victory against a visiting No. 23 Indiana Hoosier team.
Currently unranked, this could be another statement home win for the Buckeyes that could see them getting into the top 25 again.
Players to Watch: The backcourt of both teams will be the feature of this game.
In case you haven’t watched Maryland this season, they have a hometown hero on the team by the name of Melo Trimble. In that double overtime game against the Spartans, Trimble put up 24 points in 34 minutes. He shot 50 percent from the field (8-16) and 54 percent from three point range (6-11). He is also a good free throw shooter, coming into this contest with an 87 percent average. Trimble also gets his teammates involved in the game, as he is second on the team in assists at 2.9 per game, while team leader Dez Wells averages 3.2 per. Trimble is just a freshman but obviously isn’t afraid of the game’s big moments. In the clash against the Wildcats, Trimble scored 27 points.
For Ohio State, freshman combo guard D’Angelo Russell is just as aggressive as Trimble. In his last three games, Russell has scored 27, 33 and 22 points. That’s an average of 27 points per game over that stretch. At the same time, he is shooting an average of 57 percent from the field in those three games. Russell is riding a hot hand and hopes to continue it in back to back home games against ranked opponents. He averages 19.4 PPG on the year, and gives plenty of shine to his teammates, as he’s averaging 5.1 assists per game.
Prediction: With both teams featuring standout guard play, it makes it tough to pick a team to win. Looking outside the box, the Terps have went on the road and won in some important games. This game should be like the other road tests Maryland has survived. Outside of Russell, the Buckeyes have a big drop off in the points department. The home magic should carry Russell’s streaky shooting, but as a whole I’m taking the Terps to steal an important road game.
*Section Photo credit to Jamie Squire, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Mike Carter, USA Today Sports