Willard said the forward lost about 25 pounds in order to play expanded minutes at a potentially higher tempo.
The Terps' coach spoke about the importance of local recruiting and involving past players during media day.
Coach Willard made sure players such as Donta Scott, Hakim Hart and Julian Reese could have roles in the new-look squad.
With the loss, the Terps finish the season with a losing record for the first time since 1993.
The majority of the current Terps — including interim head coach Danny Manning — had never competed in the Big Ten before this season.
After a slow first half, the Terps came back with a vengeance but couldn't finish the regular season with a win.
Jamison Battle scored 39 points, but the Terps were able to come away with a win off a strong team effort.
The Terps managed to hold onto its lead despite challenge from the Golden Gophers' Jamison Battle who finished with 39 points.
Ayala and Russell combined for 50 points against the ranked Buckeyes and Russell broke 2,000 points in his career.
The Terps had six players score double-digits, led by Fatts Russell with 23 points.