The first day of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge is over and the ACC sports a 4-2 lead. Now, we’re on to day two. With that in mind, Matt Patton and Lathan Wells from the ACC microsite and Jonathan Batuello and Brendan Brody from the B1G microsite got together earlier this week to answer some key questions concerning this year’s Challenge. This post will preview the three early Wednesday night games, with a second post previewing the late games coming later this afternoon. Also be sure to check out both microsites over the next few days for further reaction and analysis as the Challenge finishes up.
Maryland @ Ohio State, 7:00 p.m., ESPN
Aaron Craft Will Lead His Team Against Maryland (Photo credit: Jeff Hanisch/US Presswire).
B1G: This isn’t Maryland’s last year in the Challenge, but it will be the Terps’ last time playing as a member of the ACC. Maybe they will go ahead and try to help their new conference out, or they could just struggle against Ohio State’s suffocating defense no matter what. The Buckeyes have the top adjusted defense according to Ken Pomeroy, so how is Maryland going to score against Thad Matta’s team?
ACC: The three most important things for Maryland offensively are: Dez Wells needs to have an efficient and productive day; Charles Mitchell has to continue crashing the offensive boards; and someone (read: Jake Layman) needs to make some threes to space the floor. That’s a lot to ask of the Terrapins, but don’t let their mediocre start obscure the talent on the roster. This team is also very good at rebounding, which is Ohio State’s lone “weakness” on the defensive end. How do you expect the Buckeyes to break even on the boards?
B1G: Ohio State does give up a good amount of offensive rebounds and that’s a concern (148th in opponents’ offensive rebounding). The Buckeyes will try to combat this like they do everything else — by playing team-oriented ball. They will need Amir Williams, LaQuinton Ross and Sam Thompson to crash the boards, but also the guards will need to get involved. The team has six guys averaging more than three rebounds a game, so that collaborative approach must continue. A question for Maryland is if the Terps can handle its defensive end as the Buckeyes have four player averaging over 11 PPG?
ACC: Truthfully, probably not. That said, Maryland probably has to hope this turns into a shootout and that its shots are falling. In a grinding halfcourt game, the Buckeyes will win nine times out of 10 and maybe more. One thing to watch will be if Shaquille Cleare can snap out of his early-season funk. Mark Turgeon keeps insisting that he’s been a much better player in practice, but his disappointing play is becoming a constant. Maryland also needs Dez Wells to continue playing well, and now he will match up against Aaron Craft. Will the new rules limit Craft’s ability to guard him?
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