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Maryland basketball vs. Ohio State preview: Terps look to rebound after back-to-back losses

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The Terps will take on the Buckeyes at 4 p.m. on ESPN.

NCAA Basketball: Maryland at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Maryland basketball returns home on Saturday looking to get back into the win column following back-to-back losses to Purdue and Penn State. The Terps will be back at the Xfinity Center to host Ohio State, a team that’s underachieved in conference play.

The Terps just already traveled to Columbus last week. That was when Justin Jackson efficiently scored 22 points on just 12 field goal attempts in another close victory. The Buckeyes have picked up back-to-back wins since falling to Maryland against Michigan and Rutgers.

Saturday’s game takes place at 4 p.m. ET. Dave Flemming and Dan Dakich have the call on ESPN.

Ohio State Buckeyes (15-10, 5-7 Big Ten)

2015-16 record: 21-14

Head coach: Thad Matta, who is 335–118 at Ohio State after coming over from Xavier and Butler.

KenPom ranking: 60 (Maryland is 37)

Players to watch

Marc Loving, forward, senior, 6’8/220, No. 2. Loving has had a hit-or-miss history against Maryland. He’s Matta's most-utilized player at 33 minutes per game and is averaging 12 points, five rebounds and two assists. Loving is the Buckeyes’ best three-point shooter at 38 percent.

Jae'Sean Tate, forward, junior, 6’4/230, No. 1. Tate is Ohio State's leading scorer this year at 14 points per game, and chips in with six rebounds a contest despite his relatively short stature. Tate has made just five three-pointers all year as an 18 percent threat as he does most of his damage driving into the paint.

Kam Williams, guard, redshirt junior, 6'2/185, No. 15. The Baltimore native is coming off of his best game of conference play with 23 points in a comeback win over Rutgers. With point guard JaQuan Lyle coming off the bench in the past two games, Williams is stepping into a somewhat larger role.

Strengths

Defense. Ohio State has the country’s No. 76 defense, according to KenPom’s adjusted efficiency. The Buckeyes hold opponents to the 57th-worst effective field goal percentage at 47.5 percent. They avoid fouling as well as anyone, allowing just a 28.4 percent ratio between free throw attempts and field goal attempts.

Weaknesses

Shooting. Ohio State has the 224th-best three point shooting percentage in the country at 33.7 percent and the 228th free throw shooting percentage at 68.3 percent.

Forcing turnovers. The Buckeyes have the No. 241 defensive turnover percentage in the country. Ohio State only averages five steals a game, which could help the sometimes-turnover-prone Terps.

Predictions

KenPom’s prediction: Maryland 74, Ohio State 68. Terps have a 73 percent chance of winning.

Neil’s prediction: Maryland 75, Ohio State 70.