This roller coaster season continues to surge on as the Buckeyes enter College Park to take on the Maryland Terrapins. Midway through the season we have seen significant highs and disheartening lows. The Buckeyes have asserted themselves in wins over Kentucky and Northwestern, yet wilted in losses to Connecticut and Indiana. Today, the Buckeyes hope to get a little more Jekyll and a little less Hyde.
Luckily for the Buckeyes, they are coming hot off the heels of a blowout win over the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. In what first seemed like another disappointment, the Buckeyes were able to impose their will in a dominant second half that saw Ohio State outscore Rutgers 55-27. JaQuan Lyle put on a scintillating performance in front of the Buckeye faithful by notching the fifth triple double in Ohio State history. By the end of the game, most had forgotten it was a two point game at half and went home happy.
Also fortunately for the Buckeyes, they march into their game against a Maryland team coming off of a road loss to That Team Up North. Maryland did not play their typically sensational style of basketball and failed to recover after they found themselves down eight points at half. However, despite that recent loss, Maryland remains arguably the best team in the Big Ten. With their exceptional guard play and size in the middle, defeating Maryland is a tall task for any team.
In their continued pursuit of punching a ticket to the NCAA Tournament, a road win over a top 5 team would bolster the Buckeyes' resume. Here's a closer look at some of the finer points and key players in todays game.
Numbers to know
That is the current point differential for Ohio State in road games this season. So far, when things go bad on the road for the Buckeyes they plummet as far south as any fan could think. It will be important for the Buckeyes to compete early out of the gates and match Maryland's effort on both ends.
The Buckeyes are still turning the ball over an at unacceptable rate: 13 per game. Although they have improved their abysmal early season average, double digit turnovers per game is going to hold you back as a team night in and night out. In order to have a chance against the Terps, Ohio State will need to take better care of the ball.
Ohio State is currently in the top ten in the country in blocks with nearly 6 per game. The Buckeyes' length on the wing and athleticism in the front court have allowed them to significantly bother shots all year. They will have to continue with this defensive tenacity to keep it close with Maryland.
Cast of characters
As previously mentioned, Lyle is coming off of a triple double in his game against Rutgers. Lyle has cemented himself as leader of this team on the court. He is able to push the ball in transition as well as create for himself and others in the half court. Lyle is starting to come into his own and the rest of the Big Ten should be on notice. In order for Ohio State to challenge the Terps, Lyle will have to give his team everything he has today.
Trevor Thompson, like the entire Buckeye team, has had his ups and downs this year. He looked absolutely lost and out of place against Indiana. However, particularly in the second half, he was able to shine against Rutgers as a force offensively and defensively. Today, Thompson will have his hands full with the Maryland front court. Diamond Stone is an animal in the paint and will be a difficult defensive task for Thompson all game long.
Melo Trimble is one of the best players in the country. His ability to get to the rack and shoot from the perimeter make him nearly impossible to shut down. He's currently shooting shooting a respectable 38% from three and 47% from the field. Additionally, he has a killer instinct that he is able to evidence late in games. Look no further than his game winner on the road against Wisconsin recently. Trimble is a star and will do everything he can to send the Buckeyes home with a loss.
Diamond Stone has the best name in all of college basketball. It is truly remarkable. Along with that, he can bully just about anyone down low. At 6 feet 11 inches and 255 pounds, Stone muscles opponents out of the paint and imposes his will on the block against defenders. Thanks to his size and incredible post moves, Stone is shooting nearly 60% from the field and averaging just over 13 points per game. Stone is going to be a problem for the Buckeyes and their young front court.
How to watch
Game time: 12:00 p.m. ET
Radio: 97.1 The Fan