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2/6 Big Ten Preview: Ohio State Set to Host Maryland

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Nikos Frazier/Journal & Courier / USA TODAY NETWORK

There are two games today, with Ohio State set to host Maryland on CBS and Iowa hosting Minnesota later in the afternoon on BTN.

Game of the Day

Maryland Terrapins at #16 Ohio State Buckeyes

  • Time/TV: 1:00 PM ET CBS
  • Line: OSU -9.0

Maryland has been a bit all over this year. While they’re sitting at 11-11, the Terps knocked off Illinois and have came close to beating Michigan State, Wisconsin and Iowa. They haven’t been the most consistent team, but they’ve shown they can play with most opponents. On the other side you have an Ohio State that has largely played down (or occasionally up) to their opposition, with the team repeatedly being in close games this year. Ohio State is the more talented team, and at home, but the Big Ten season has already had plenty of upsets (including Rutgers blowing out Michigan State yesterday).

Statistically things haven’t been pretty in Maryland. Averaging only 69.8 points per game while shooting 31.6% from three and committing more than 12 turnovers, it’s easy to see why Maryland has struggled this year. The Terps have a formidable backcourt duo in Eric Ayala and Fatts Russell, but the volume shooting guards can’t hit from three and it has proven detrimental down the stretch.

Ohio State’s three game winning streak ended when they lost at Purdue. a game that was not particularly close until the end of the second half. Another somewhat turnover prone team, the Buckeyes are riding E.J. Liddell as far as he’ll take them. The emergence of Malaki Branham has been nice, but there’s not many options on offense that impose fear in their opponents. Three point shooting has also been rough past Liddell and Branham, with Jamari Wheeler’s three point shooting clip dipping to 33.3% (same as Kyle Young).

The Buckeyes have a more talented team and this game is in Columbus. Maryland has been the team that either surprises you and comes out for the upset or gets blown out. This time they’ll land somewhere in between, but with Ohio State still picking up a much needed win to keep pace in the conference race.

Pick: Ohio State

The Rest

Minnesota Golden Gophers at Iowa Hawkeyes

  • Time/TV: 4:30 PM ET BTN
  • Line: Iowa -12.0

In the later game today Minnesota travels to Iowa. The Gophers are 1-7 over their last eight games but almost knocked off Michigan State and Wisconsin on the road and have hung around with the upper echelon of the Big Ten. They’re facing an Iowa team that is 1-3 their last four, including a dreadful road loss to Rutgers and a double overtime loss to Penn State. Iowa has taken two bad losses to their resume recently and will want to avoid another this afternoon.

Minnesota relies pretty heavily on Jamison Battle and Payton Willis and will look for them once again to carry the team. Minnesota is only averaging 68.9 points per game and has struggled to score consistently, though they did recently get Eric Curry back from an injury he suffered at Michigan State. The lack of offensive consistency is problematic as they face an Iowa team that has essentially utilized a “strength in numbers” style offense under Fran McCaffery. Keegan Murray has been huge this year. averaging 22.3 points per game, while three other plays are averaging double figures. They could use more from senior leader Jordan Bohannon, though, as he has had a rough time this conference season.

Iowa is averaging almost 83 points per game and finds ways to score. Minnesota is an offensively challenged team with a slim rotation that relies heavily on their two leading scorers. While the Gophers have made things tough for their opponents, while Iowa hasn’t impressed much as of late, look for the Iowa offense to roll and pick up a much needed win.

Pick: Iowa