Time: 1:00 pm
Place: Value City Arena
The #1 ranked Indiana Hoosiers travel to Columbus Sunday afternoon to take on the #10 Ohio State Buckeyes in a monumental B1G clash. Both teams are coming off of heartbreaking losses and are looking to bounce back with a quality victory. With Indiana’s loss to Illinois Thursday night, they are now tied for first place in the B1G with an 8-2 conference record. The Buckeyes loss to Michigan earlier in the week gave them their third conference loss as they are now second place in the conference with an 8-3 record. This will be the first time that these two schools will play each other this season, with the next game on March 5th in Bloomington, Indiana.
Amir Williams will be the key defensively with his match up against Cody Zeller. Zeller has had an up and down season where he either dominates or disappears. He is averaging 16.2 points per game along with 8.3 rebounds per game. If there was any game where Zeller should dominate it would be against the Buckeyes. Williams needs to build on his solid outing that he had versus Michigan, if not, the Buckeyes will get destroyed inside.
Other than Cody Zeller, the Hoosiers are pretty balanced. Victor Oladipo, Christian Watford, Jordan Hulls, and Will Sheehey all average double figures and as a team they shoot %50 from the field. Hulls is the player that needs to be checked beyond the arc, as he leads the team in 3 point attempts and shoots %50 from three point land. The Buckeyes should be fine defensively on the perimeter, they just Williams to step up on Zeller and limit the amount of help/ double teams inside.
Offensively, Ohio State just needs to continue what they did versus Michigan. It was nice to see Thad Matta give LaQuinton Ross 23 minutes in a big game, he responded with 16 points on 7-10 shooting. One thing that bothered Buckeye fans though was the lack of touches that Deshaun Thomas received late in the game against Michigan. The best pure scorer in the conference needs to get touches for them to succeed as it is inexcusable for Thomas to be invisible offensively in clutch situations.
Prediction: Amir Williams plays his best game defensively as a Buckeye and disrupts Cody Zeller enough to win. The Buckeyes win a close one 71-69 with Indiana missing a game winning three at the buzzer.