|#3 Ohio State 25-2, 13-2 Big Ten Roster | Schedule||February 27, 2011 4:00 PM ET - CBS —— The Schott Columbus, OH||Indiana 12-16, 3-12 Big Ten Roster | Schedule|
After finishing off the toughest stretch of the season with a resounding home win over Illinois, Ohio State gets a breather of sorts with a home date against Indiana. The Hoosiers have lost 5 straight and 14 of their last 17 as they continue to battle Iowa for the not-so-coveted Big Ten cellar position. Many Buckeye fans will undoubtedly be masquerading as empty seats throughout the cavernous VCA today, even more than usual due to the quality of the opponent.
The game creates an interesting match-up of teams that shoot very well. Ohio State is 2nd in the country in FG% shooting a robust 49.3%. Indiana is no slouch however, as they light it up to the tune of 46.8% shooting. The Hoosiers cooled of considerably in their last game, a home loss against arch-rival Purdue, shooting a chilly 38%. IU has struggled against good defensive teams this season and that does not bode well for their game against OSU.
Indiana leads the all-time series 99-73 but OSU holds a 49-34 advantage playing at home. The Buckeyes took care of business on the road the first time the two teams met this season, and overall they have won 5 in a row in the series. IU coach Tom Crean is still looking for his first victory against the Buckeyes after taking over the troubled program from former coach Kelvin Sampson. Ohio State is well rested after playing on Tuesday night, but they will have another short break before their next game, a Tuesday night tilt on the road against Penn State.
|44||William Buford||14.1||3.9||3.1||G||1||Jordan Hulls||11.5||2.4||2.9|
|33||Jon Diebler||11.2||2.3||2.3||G||12||Verdell Jones III||12.5||3.1||3.3|
|23||David Lighty||12.5||4.1||3.3||F||5||Jeremiah Rivers||3.6||3.0||1.9|
|0||Jared Sullinger||17.8||9.9||1.3||F||2||Christian Watford||16.6||5.6||1.3|
|52||Dallas Lauderdale||4.5||3.5||0.1||C||25||Tom Pritchard||2.5||4.1||0.7|
Indiana is a slightly different team than the one OSU played back on 12/31, with 6'9" C-F Tom Pritchard replacing Derek Elston in the starting line-up, and Jeremiah Rivers replacing Victor Oladipo. Another change is the maturation of sophomore point guard Jordan Hulls. Hulls has hit for double-figures in 7 of his last 8 games, and he contributed 15 points in a losing effort against Purdue. IU shot 50% against OSU in the earlier game, but the Buckeyes shot a scorching 61% from the field and over 68% from distance. Defense will be the key for the Hoosiers if they expect to be the 3rd straight weekend opponent to upset Ohio State.
Forward Christian Watford is the team's leading scorer, but his shooting percentage is only 42.5%, bucking the trend for the team in general. However, the big man gets to the line quite a bit and he shoots a high percentage (84.1%) from there. Hulls and Watford will get scoring support from veteran guard Verdell Jones III and bench scoring from the versatile freshman Oladipo. Pritchard will likely draw the assignment of trying to slow down OSU's Jared Sullinger, which will be a priority since he burned them for 19 in the first meeting. Hulls will probably guard Buford, and that match-up favors Ohio State. Not surprisingly, Buford drilled IU with 24 points in the first meeting.
It wasn't just Buford that was draining bombs against IU in the first meeting, although his 5/6 from distance led the way. He certainly seems to love those crimson and cream uni's, as he has averaged over 20 points per game against the Hoosiers in his career. Overall, OSU shoots 39.9% from 3-point range, with Jon Diebler leading the way with 47.8%. OSU also has taken care of the ball extremely well this season, surrendering only 10.5 turnovers per game. After losing 16 of those in the loss to Purdue, they cleaned it up big-time against Illinois, turning the ball over a mere 3 times.
Indiana sends players to the free throw line more than any other team in the Big Ten, and OSU shot 38 free throws in the first meeting. Expect to see a lot of Jared Sullinger at the line today as Pritchard, Watford, and others do their best to keep the freshman from dominating them. Also expect to see continued solid play from David Lighty, who is one of the few Buckeye players who seems to enjoy taking the ball to the hoop with authority. Lighty emerged from a short slump on Tuesday by hitting 8/16 shots from the field including 2/5 from distance. He also keyed OSU's excellent defensive effort by grabbing 6 steals.
In general, this is a game that OSU should win, and win easily. However, I'm wary of the Hoosiers because they gave Michigan State all they could handle in East Lansing before finally bowing out in overtime. This is a team that could ge on a roll shooting the basketball, and that's always dangerous. But assuming the Buckeyes continue to play defense the way they did against Illinois, this game should not trouble them at all.
- Since Thad Matta took over Buckeye program in 2004-05, Ohio State is 117-10 in Columbus, the most home wins among Big Ten schools.
- Ohio State is 18-0 at home after its most recent win vs. Illinois last Tuesday. The win total equals the school record set by the 2006-07 squad.
- Jared Sullinger has been named one of five finalists for the Wayman Tisdale Award, to be given to the National Freshman of the Year. The winner will be announced on April 11.