|#16 Ohio State 18-6, 8-3 Big Ten Roster | Schedule||February 10, 2009 6:30 PM ET - BTN —— Assembly Hall Bloomington, IN||Indiana 9-13, 3-7 Big Ten Roster | Schedule|
The Buckeyes head back on the road tonight, as they travel to legendary Assembly Hall in, looking to extend their conference streak to 8 and dare I say it, pull into a first place tie with Illinois and Michigan State.
Ohio State hasn't played away from the Schott this month and after dropping their first 3 conference roadies, they look to make it 3 straight wins tonight.
OSU took down the Hoosiers with pretty good ease the first time around, 79-54, in Evan Turner's first game back from his injury. Though this looks like a virtual lock on paper, the Buckeyes are 21-60 all-time in Bloomington and they needed a 52 point second half performance to get a 93-81 victory there last year.
|21||Evan Turner||19.7||9.4||5.7||G||5||Jeremiah Rivers||6.4||5.0||4.0|
|33||Jon Diebler||12.8||3.0||1.7||G||12||Verdell Jones||14.9||4.0||3.3|
|44||William Buford||14.0||5.2||3.2||F||2||Christian Watford||12.4||5.8||0.7|
|23||David Lighty||12.7||4.7||2.7||F||25||Tom Pritchard||4.9||4.0||0.5|
|52||Dallas Lauderdale||7.1||5.0||0.3||C||32||Derek Elston||5.4||3.9||0.4|
Indiana is tough to figure out lately. During their current 4 game losing streak, they have lost to Illinois and Purdue each by 3 points, but have been blownout by Northwestern and Iowa. Indiana comes in scoring 62.7 points a game, but their youth and inexperience show on the defensive side, where they rank last in the B10 in scoring defense at 70.4 PPG.
As a team, the Hoosiers shoot 39.7% from the floor and 31.5% from deep, ranking them 10th and 11th respectively. Indiana also ranks near the bottom in rebounding margin (-3.1), assists (11.1) and A/T ratio (.79)
Tom Crean has settled on a starting lineup of 2 freshmen, 2 sophomores and a junior, but will play 7-9 guys, including freshman Jordan Hulls and senior Devan Dumas. Hulls is playing almost 23 minutes a game, scoring 5.6 PPG and snagging 2.1 boards. He has attempted 76 of his 96 shots from beyond the arc, connecting on 36.8 percent of them. Dumas almost became a Buckeye out of JC and averages 18 minutes per contest, chipping in with 6.9 points on 34 percent shooting.
Verdelle Jones III is the player to watch tonight for the Hoosiers. Jones is 6th in conference scoring, at 18.6 PPG and has gone for 72 over his last 3 games. He leads the league in FT's made with 60 and attempts with 79 (23 more than his nearest competitor) and only 10 of his 58 FG's have come from deep.
Entering last night's games, Ohio State (46.9) was percentage points ahead of Purdue (46.3) and MSU (46.1) for the conference lead in FG shooting during league play. Thanks to a 9 of 33 performance from deep last week, they have now slipped to 4th at 33.3 percent, connecting on 64 of 192. They enter tonight's game, scoring 68 points in B10 play and holding opponents to 43.6 percent shooting.
Though last week's wins lacked much excitement, the Buckeyes went to the line 27 times against PSU and 22 times against Iowa, marking the first time they have attempted more than 20 FT's in back to back games during conference play. As mentioned, they have cooled of late from the arc, so it is great to see them adjust and take it to the rim with a bit more frequency.
Another positive recently has been the lack of TO's committed by Thad's squad. After coughing it up at least 10 times a game for 14 straight, the Bucks have done that just once over the last 4, registering 30 in that span.
I think the key player tonight is Dallas Lauderdale. The Hoosiers have some height across the front court and the Big D got in foul trouble Sunday, playing only 18 minutes. Lauderdale has 13 points in his last 3, after going for 32 the previous 3 and has only attempted 6 shots, including 0 against Iowa. If he can put pressure on Indiana in the lane offensively and defensively tonight, the Buckeyes should have no problem coming home with a win.
It will be interesting to see how Thad uses his bench tonight, whether he chooses to not play anyone or give some minutes to someone not named Kyle Madsen. I think Thad knows he can capture a B10 crown and won't use his bench until he is forced to, taking his chances of not getting into foul trouble as a team. For me, I don't mine not seeing Hill and Simmons out there, they weren't D-I talent to begin with and they both are liabilities on opposite sides of the ball. I know, I know, Diebler has his issues on defense, rebounding and dishing the rock, but he still the best deep threat OSU has and without that, the driving lanes might be a little tighter.
If the Bucks don't get homered, can control the glass and keep the low TO trend going, they should come home with a win and start to focus their attention on Illinois, in what now is a first place matchup on Sunday. I didn't like the energy the Bucks showed last week, but I think they feed of the energy from the crowd and put on a shooting display against a weaker Hoosier defense. It won't be a 25 point margin again, but I think Ohio State get the 82-69 win and yes, the bench sees some minutes late.
- Two dudes I've never heard of, Chris Denari and Shon Morris will do the telecast.
- In case you missed it, Evan Turner was named POW for the eighth time in his career, breaking the mark of 7 set by the Big Dawg and Jimmy Jackson. Turner shared the award with his high school teammate Demetri McCamey and his 5th selection this year ties the single season mark