Buckeye Hoops: Indiana Preview

The season thus far for Thad Matta and his Buckeye hoops team has been a roller coaster to say the least. Plagued with inconsistent offensive play, the Buckeyes struggled again on the road losing to Penn State in their most recent outing. The road to a first round bye in the Big Ten Tournament does not get any easier with an away trip to Indiana looming in an hour.

What to Expect from Ohio State:

Whether at home or on the road, the Buckeyes can not seem to consistently hit shots. Sometimes the shots fall sometimes they don’t. When they don’t, Ohio State will need to live off of turnovers. It will all start with Aaron Craft and how effective he can be defending talented point guard Yogi Ferrell. Ferrell leads the team in scoring with 17.6 points per game for Indiana and is the heart of their offense. If Craft is effective, it is imperative in my opinion for the Buckeyes to run all game. Lets be honest, there are no establish jump shooters on this team who someone can point at and rely on. I believe the easiest fix to that issue is to create turnovers and get out and run.

Another way for the Buckeyes to get out and run will be for them to win the rebounding battle, which they lost against Penn State. A stat that can be won or lost solely on hustle, something that Thad Matta teams generally pride themselves on. The Buckeyes will also have to be much more careful with the basketball as they looked extremely sloppy against Penn State.

I believe coming off the tough loss, and coming in to a very hostile environment will force the Buckeyes to be fully engaged for this game. While Penn State was a massive disappointment, however there is not time to sulk for Ohio State. They will have to be very active on the boards and on the defensive side of the ball in order for them to have a good shot at winning in this one.

What to Expect from Indiana:

Indiana’s youth has been their source of inconsistency this year. Possessing a 4-3 record at home, with marquee wins over Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin, but also posting bad losses to Penn State and Northwestern. That being said, the Hoosiers youth has been improving as the season progresses. The Hoosiers posted their best offensive outing against #20 ranked Iowa putting up 93 points, led by senior Will Sheehy scoring 30 and freshman Stanford Robinson scoring 17 off the bench. They prefer to run and play an up tempo game and will try and do that against Ohio State. If IU can prevent the Buckeyes defense from getting set then they should have some success scoring the rock.

This will be a good test for both inconsistent teams as they make their respective push for the Big Ten tournament. A surging offense vs a stout defense always makes for an entertaining match-up. What is even more entertaining is watching Tom Crean squirm and shout, hopefully Thad Matta and company can provide that beautiful sight for all of Buckeye nation.

Prediction: OSU- 74 IU- 71

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