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Maryland vs. Ohio State preview: Terps look to rebound against Buckeyes

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The Terrapins are coming off their second loss of the season.

Freshman JaQuan Lyle leads the Buckeyes in assists.
Freshman JaQuan Lyle leads the Buckeyes in assists.
Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

The Ohio State team that enters Xfinity Center Saturday will be quite unfamiliar to many Maryland fans. That's a good thing for the Terrapins, who suffered their first conference loss at Michigan Tuesday night.

Ohio State doesn't feature a single player on DraftExpress's 2016 NBA mock draft, and feature a cast of characters unknown to casual fans. Like Maryland, these Buckeyes feature a balanced scoring attack. But unlike Maryland, they don't have three (maybe even five) potential NBA players. What they do have is a 10-2 record in their last 12 games and a victory over Kentucky. The Buckeyes have been playing at least average basketball lately, but the Terps should be able to avoid losing consecutive games for the first time this season. The matchup tips off at noon on ESPN2.

Ohio State Buckeyes (12-6, 4-1 Big Ten)

The coach

Thad Matta, in his 12th season as head coach at Ohio State. He's 413-131 during his time in Columbus.

Players to know

Marc Loving, junior, forward, 6'7, No. 2. After spending last season as Ohio State's third option behind D'Angelo Russell, and Sam Thompson, Loving has taken over as the team's leading scorer in his junior season. While the Buckeyes do have a balanced offense, Loving shoulders the load more than anyone else. He's averaging 14 points a game on 44 percent shooting as he adjusts to life in the (semi)spotlight.

JaQuan Lyle, freshman, guard, 6'5, No. 13. Lyle is the one freshman Buckeye excelling this season. Fellow rookie Austin Gradstaff elected to transfer from the program 10 games into his campaign, while Mickey Mitchell has only played in seven games due to an eligibility issue. Lyle's been Ohio State's most complete player, leading the team in assists by a large margin at 5.3 per game, while adding 4.4 rebounds. However, he's only shooting 40 percent from the field, with his 27 percent mark from three dragging that number down.

Keita Bates-Diop, sophomore, forward, 6'7, No. 33. Bates-Diop was a non-factor for the Buckeyes last season, when he averaged 3.8 points and 2.1 rebounds in just under 10 minutes per game. This season, he's emerged as Ohio State's second-leading scorer (11.6 points per game) and rebounder (6 per game).

Strengths

Defense. The Buckeyes own the 19th-best defensive efficiency rating in the nation, and hold their opponents to a 44.4 percent effective field goal percentage, the 17th-best ranking in the country. They only allow their opponents to shoot 40 percent on 2-pointers.

Weaknesses

Turnovers. Ohio State turns the ball over even more than Maryland does. The Buckeyes have Division-I's 238th-worst turnover percentage, giving the ball away on an alarming 19.4 percent of their possessions. Maryland isn't particularly good at forcing turnovers, but it could be interesting to see if these two teams cancel out each other's weaknesses in this department.

Free throws. The Buckeyes only hit 65 percent of their shots from the line, the 297th-best mark in the nation. They rank solidly in the middle of the pack in terms of getting to the line, but struggle once they get there. Jae'Sean Tate gets to the line the third-most often on the team, but only hits 46 percent of his free throws.

Predictions

KenPom's prediction: Maryland wins, 73-63. The Terrapins have a 84 percent chance of winning.

Ryan's prediction: Maryland wins, 78-60.