Big Ten basketball is about as unpredictable as any conference on any night. On Monday night we get a matchup between the rising Ohio State Buckeyes and the upset minded Maryland Terrapins.
The Terps are literally a box of chocolates, never knowing what you are going to get. They feature wins over Purdue, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota, all are great individual wins in a season where they are just 10-9 overall. Maryland has a lot of talent, they are led by Junior guard Eric Ayala who is coming off of his best game of the year putting up 23 points in their loss to Penn State Friday night. The Terps were not impressive in their their loss Penn State, they only put up 50 points in a matchup with a weaker defensive unit in the Nittany Lions. They will have to find more points if they want keep up with one of the most efficient offenses in the country.
The Ohio State Buckeyes are on a roll. The Buckeyes have established themselves as the top of the food chain in the loaded Big Ten winning 7 of 8 and sitting just behind Illinois and Michigan for the top overall record in the conference. The Buckeyes have a dynamic connection between EJ Liddell and Duane Washington, either one has the ability to take over a game at any moment. The offense has been on a tear scoring at least 74 points per game in four straight, if they are able to reach 70 that could be well out of the range for the Terps as they live up to their namesake with one of the slowest paces in the Big Ten.
The Buckeyes are able to run their offense through EJ Liddell in the post. Maryland won’t have a big that can hang with him, they will be forced to pack the defense in, allowing the Ohio State motion offense to work around the athletic Maryland wings. Ohio State has been efficient on offense ranking top five in the country in offensive efficiency. Maryland’s experience and athletes will keep this one tight but Ohio State is awesome from the free throw line and should lock this one down in the end.
Play of the day: Ohio State -3.5