Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#857 Maryland 130.5 vs.
#858 Ohio State -2.5
Sunday, February 23, 2020 at 4:00pm EST
Written by Sporty Jordy

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When and where: February 23, 2020, Value City Arena, Columbus, OH, 4:00 PM ET

The Big Ten Conference tilt between the No. 7-ranked Maryland Terrapins and No. 25 Ohio State Buckeyes should get plenty of eyes on Sunday. Maryland is riding a tidal wave of momentum after winning their ninth consecutive game. A home meeting with Northwestern turned into another opportunity for the Terrapins to flex their muscles on the rest of the conference. Meanwhile, Ohio State dropped a loss to Iowa after putting together back-to-back wins over Rutgers and Purdue.

If there’s a will, there’s a way for Maryland

It hasn’t always been pretty in the Terrapins nine-game run, but they have consistently found ways to scape tough games with a win. Even on nights when shots aren’t falling, the on-the-fly adjustments by coach Mark Turgeon have been fascinating to watch.

An aggressive effort against Northwestern and 18-made free throws helped push the Terrapins to a 76-67 victory at home. They’ll need the same sort of aggression when traveling on the road to Ohio State. The Buckeyes 22nd-ranked defense will be a much stiffer test than the Wildcats. Maryland’s strength is without question their defense, but they’ll need to figure out a way to get some offense going against a Buckeyes team allowing an average 62.3 points per game.

On the defensive end of the floor, the Terrapins are holding opponents to an average 38.7 field goal shooting percentage. Their ability to force tough shots led them to a 67-55 victory over the Buckeyes back in early January. It’ll take a similar effort to produce the same result in a sequel.

CBS Sports currently has the Terrapins ranked second behind San Diego State in the East bracket of their projected NCAA Tournament seeding.

Ohio State’s chance for vengeance

Ohio State will have a chance to shake up the tournament projections by sending the Terrapins packing with a loss on Sunday. They’ll also have a shot at avenging one of their nine losses from well over a month ago. The team is hoping for a better defensive showing than they had in their 85-76 loss to Iowa.

Maryland isn’t averaging 78.5 points per game, but the Buckeyes would do well not to let them shoot 55.8 percent from the floor.

The huge offensive splash was a bit uncharacteristic for the Buckeyes’ 20th-ranked scoring defense. They aren’t likely to have the same problems with the Terrapins averaging a 41.7 field goal shooting percentage from the floor.

Instead of Luka Garza, the Buckeyes will have to match Maryland’s Anthony Cowan Jr. and Jalen Smith. Ohio State’s 129th-ranked offense is limited in what they’re capable of doing, and things will get ugly in a hurry if they fold on defense again.

The Buckeyes are currently projected at No. 7 in the Midwest bracket.

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The Terrapins have the sort of defense that can cause big problems for the Buckeyes. We saw it in the first game with Ohio State being held to 31.3 percent shooting and 5-of-27 from 3-pointer. It was drier than the Sahara Desert for the Buckeyes offense in Maryland.

Such has been the case for them all season.

Kaleb Wesson, the team’s leading scorer, is only averaging 13.9 points per game. They simply lack the sort of scoring presence to put them over the top when they struggle to get stops on defense.

Maryland’s 81st-ranked offense isn’t going to push the Buckeyes on defense, but they are more than capable of engaging in a low-scoring affair and eking out another tough victory. They’ve been doing it all season. The Buckeyes also have a knack for turning the ball over in games, setting the stage for some crippling mistakes in this matchup. I’m taking the Terrapins and the points on Sunday.

Prediction: Maryland Terrapins (+2.5)

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You’ve come to the wrong game if you’re expecting an offensive explosion. These two teams have garnered a top-25 ranking due to their resilience and hellacious defense. This will be one of those games where every point scored feels like a potential knockout blow. Like the Buckeyes, the Terrapins are only allowing an average 62.3 points per game.

Neither team has given opponents much space to work, and every shot is always contested. Maryland already had tremendous success in shutting the Buckeyes down in the first meeting. I don’t envision much changing on Sunday. Give me the under betting total here.

Prediction: Under (133.5)
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Written By Jordy McElroy , "Sporty Jordy"

Born in Germany and raised in the beautiful state of Tennessee, Jordy McElroy is a storyteller of sports, a sports betting enthusiast and a semi-deep thinker. Being a New England Patriots fan means he's a six-time Super Bowl winner as well, which means you'd have to be a fool to ignore his advice. Prior to joining our team here at Winners & Whiners, Jordy’s work appeared on CNN.com, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report, USA TODAY and BJPenn.com. There are no beaches where he comes from -- just rolling hills, green valleys and all the Sun Drop you can drink.