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2/8 Big Ten Preview: Ohio State Travels to Maryland

NCAA Basketball: Ohio State at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

There are two games tonight with Maryland hosting a top ten Ohio State and Minnesota set to host Minnesota.

Game of the Night

#7 Ohio State Buckeyes at Maryland Terrapins

  • Time/TV: 9:00 PM ET FS1

Maryland finally got a win at home as they took advantage of a hot three point shooting performance in the second half to edge Purdue by a point. In their next game they went back to being icy cold, shooting 3 of 17 from three in a five point loss to Penn State. Sitting at 10-9 (4-8) Maryland is going to need to pick up some big wins if they want to make a push for the postseason. Beating a top ten Ohio State at home tonight would be a solid start.

Ohio State took down a suddenly freefalling Iowa program last week and now are 7-1 since early January, the lone loss being to Purdue. This is important as Ohio State is now 9-4 in conference play, a half game behind Illinois, and the Buckeyes are emerging as potentially the best option to make a run at Michigan. With Michigan extending their recent suspension of basketball activities for at least one more game, we don’t know if Michigan will come out rusty, if they’ll have be forced to try to make up their postponed games in a rough three week gauntlet or if the Big Ten will do anything if they end up not playing a sizable number of their games. In other words, if Ohio State wants to make a push they can’t lose games like these. Especially as Michigan still only has one loss in conference play.

In their win against Purdue the Terps had a big second half performance from Andrew Wiggins, showing how important he can be to their success. Maryland sees most of their offensive production from the backcourt, but their guards aren’t particularly great three point shooters. When they started hitting from deep against Purdue they made up for all of the other issues that should have handed them an L, instead finding a way to steal a victory. Against Penn State when the threes didn’t fall they barely hit 50 and suffered a loss they couldn’t afford.

One of the biggest advantages Ohio State has is their team is anchored by a laundry list of experienced seniors. With E.J. Liddell being a force and guards Duane Washington Jr. and CJ Walker playing well, Ohio State is coming on strong at the right time. They need to win as many games as they can over the next couple weeks as their current schedule closes with Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa and Illinois (as of now).

The Terps can beat anyone in the Big Ten, look no further than road wins at Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota. Their win at home against Purdue, though, was their first conference win on their own court. Can they build from that against a hot Ohio State? Well, they’ve already squandered that momentum with a loss at Penn State, though they’ve followed a loss with a win three times in a row. Ohio State won’t let them do that a fourth time in a row.

Pick: Ohio State

The Rest

Nebraska Cornhuskers at Minnesota Golden Gophers

  • Time/TV: 8:00 PM ET BTN

In the first game tonight Minnesota will look to end a rough skid, going 1-5 their last six games. Thankfully for the Gophers they have a bit of an easier outing tonight as they host Nebraska. The Cornhuskers were off for almost a month before playing Michigan State on Saturday, losing by 10. Not counting a win over the NAIA program Doane University the Cornhuskers haven’t won since the first of December.

Minnesota has had issues with their backcourt outside of Marcus Carr and could use some production from Both Gach and Gabe Kalscheur. Carr and center Liam Robbins have been solid all season, but offensively Minnesota has struggled outside of these two and will need to see improvement if they want to get things back up and running over the last month of the season. Of course they’ll benefit from playing a Nebraska team with no offensive identity and a serious lack of chemistry. Even more so as they just spent the past month not playing and struggled shooting the ball in their first game back, hitting 36.2% from the field, 17.6% on 17 three pointers and 45.8% from the line.

The Gophers have a lot of question marks but they’re playing a Nebraska team that was in freefall before having their season disrupted by COVID-19. Nebraska currently has a conference losing streak of 24 games. It’ll be 25 by the end of tonight.

Pick: Minnesota