Maryland's basketball team meets a team of look alikes when Ohio State visits Cole Field House tonight at 8 o'clock in the second round of the National Invitation Tournament.

Maryland Coach Lefty Driesell expects forward Al King to be able to play, despite a swollen sesamoid bone in his right foot. But Driesell said he is unsure how effective King will be, or whether he will start.

King sat out the first half of the opening-round game against Rhode Island. Maryland prevailed in three overtimes, 67-75, on two King free throws.

In Ohio Sate's first-round NIT game, the Buckeyes thumped St. Joseph's, 80-66. Maryland beat St. Joseph's in overtime early in the year.

Like 19-10 Maryland, the Buckeyes finished fourth in a highly competitive conference with a team composed mostly of youthful but inconsistent talent.

Ohio State, 18-10 and 12-6 in the Big Ten, starts four sophomores, and boasts and inside-outside duo that averages more than 40 points a game.

Mr. Inside is 6-foot-10, 230-pound center Herb Williams, who has averaged 20.2 points and 10.8 rebounds a game with 69 blocked shots.

When teams throw up a zone to try to shut off Williams, the outside half of the combo, 6-1 shooting guard Kelvin Ransey, starts to fire away.

Ransey, a junior and the lineup's elder statesman. Leads the team in scoring (21.2) and assists (91) with a respectable 46 steals.

"They have an excellent basketball team, and we'll have to play very, very well to beat them," said Driesell. "Ransey is a superguard and Williams is a shot-blocker, a good outside shooter like (Duke's Mike) Gminski and maybe a little better leaper than Gminski.

"They run a double post, a lot like we do. They're not very similar to anyone we've played. If anything, they're similar to us."

Like Maryland, Ohio State has some big wins and odd losses. The Buckeyes were the first team to beat Duke and the first to beat Illinois.

They lost games they probably should have won against Wisconsin and Butler, blowing a 15-point lead in the Butler game

Like the young Terps, who regularly start two freshmen and two sophomores, the Buckeyes commit numerous turnovers.

Ohio State is a very strong rebounding team. Even forward Carter Scott, who is listed at 6-2, is able to play up front, making use of exceptional leading ability.

Scott figures to match up with King in the Buckeye man-to-man defense, while Atlantic Coast Conference rookie of the year Buck Williams will draw 6-8 Jim Smith.

Accompanying Ransey in the back court is 6-4 Mike Cline, a streak shooter who hit six straight outside shots to unbuckle St. Joe's zone.

The winner of the game will join the five other second-round winners, and the NIT committee will have a blind draw Tuesday to pick two teams for byes into the semifinals, to be played March 19 at Madison Square Garden. The final is March 21.

The other four teams will be paired and will play March 15 and 16 at sites to be determined, also on Tuesday.

In another second-round game tonight, Virginia (19-9) plays Alabama (19-10) at 8:30 in Birmingham. Alabama is led by second-team All-America Reggie King, a 6-6 senior forward averaging 22.2 points a game and the Southeast Conference player of the year for two straight years.