What to Expect: Ohio State

  • 12/30/2011 1:30 pm in

Following a tough loss on Wednesday at Michigan State, Indiana returns to Assembly Hall for a showdown with No. 2 Ohio State.

The game will be shown on ESPN2 (Dave O’Brien and Dan Dakich) and broadcast on the IU radio network (Sirius 128/XM 191):

For the second (and most likely last) time this season, the Hoosiers will take Branch McCracken floor as underdogs on Saturday evening. Ohio State has overtaken Michigan State as the Big Ten’s top program with four regular season titles and three conference tournament titles over the past six seasons. The Buckeyes are once again the heavy favorite to win the Big Ten thanks to Jared Sullinger’s decision to return to Columbus for his sophomore season.

MEET THE BUCKEYES

Ohio State comes to Bloomington sporting a 13-1 mark and their lone blemish came at Kansas on Dec. 10 without Sullinger in the lineup. Sullinger (16.3 ppg, 9.6 rpg), who is now healthy, is once again the centerpiece of Thad Matta’s team and his ability to dominate a game in the paint is unmatched in the conference. He currently ranks as the nation’s top defensive rebounder (34.4 DR%) and sits in the top 60 in fouls drawn per 40 minutes (6.7).

Perhaps equally as dangerous, at least offensively, are senior William Buford (16.6 ppg, 41.4% from 3) and sophomore Deshaun Thomas (15.9 ppg). Buford is coming off his best game of the season — 28 points in a 87-54 win over Northwestern on Wednesday — and is a guy Indiana can’t afford to lose on the perimeter. Even if he’s not hitting from behind the 3-point line, Buford’s midrange game is already NBA-ready.

Thomas’ role has increased significantly as a sophomore and thanks to efficiency from inside the 3-point line (62.5 percent on 2s), he finds himself as one of three Buckeyes scoring over 15 points per game. Given his size and athleticism, Matta would probably like to see more effort on the glass from Thomas. His defensive rebounding percentage (8.7) is mediocre.

Sophomore point guard Aaron Craft will probably draw the Jordan Hulls assignment and his ability to lockdown the perimeter may be unmatched in the league. Craft isn’t much of a threat to score, but his steal percentage (5.3) is 11th in the country and his assist rate of 28.4 is top ten in the conference.

Beyond those four contributors, the Buckeyes are playing just two others — sophomore guard Lenzelle Smith and sophomore guard Jordan Siebert — more than 15 minutes per game. Their heralded four-man freshman class has been largely unused and is averaging a combined 9.6 points per game.

POMEROY PREVIEW

Unlike the Kentucky game where the Hoosiers were able to take advantage of some undisciplined work on the defensive glass from the Wildcats, second-chance points for IU will be at a premium Saturday night. Ohio State is the nation’s best defensive rebounding team. Two of their worst performances on the defensive glass came without Sullinger in the lineup. Toss those games out and their numbers would be even more impressive. The Buckeyes are corralling 77.6 percent of their opponents misses.

Turnovers will also be a concern for Indiana. Ohio State’s defensive turnover percentage (27.6) is fourth nationally. While coughing up the ball hasn’t been much of a problem thus far for IU, they did turn it over at a high rate (a season-high 25.7%) against a comparable defense in Kentucky. That was largely negated thanks to Kentucky turning it over at a high rate as well, but that’s not likely to be the case with Ohio State.

With another difficult matchup inside for Cody Zeller looming, the key for Indiana is going to be hitting 3s at a high rate. The Hoosiers are shooting 45.1 percent from behind the arc, which is the nation’s best mark. Finding a way to free Jordan Hulls from the suffocating pressure of Craft for some open looks could determine how close this game stays.

IT’S A PARTY

Just in case you didn’t watch this last season, it’s required YouTube viewing. Particularly Craft hitting the high notes:

QUICK FACTS ON OHIO STATE

All-time series: Indiana leads 101-77
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Student Enrollment: 56,867
Established: 1870

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  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I think Hulls has showed in the past that he’ll come out and play out of his head when we least expect it, typically after a bad game.  I’m thinking about the back to back good games he had against Ill and MSU last year after a horrible game at Iowa and the big game he had at home against Wisc after a terrible shooting game at OSU. 

    He was also 5-9 for 12 points, 3 assists, 1 TO, and 4 rebounds against Craft last year so I fully expect him to rebound well in this one. 

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I think Hulls has showed in the past that he’ll come out and play out of his head when we least expect it, typically after a bad game.  I’m thinking about the back to back good games he had against Ill and MSU last year after a horrible game at Iowa and the big game he had at home against Wisc after a terrible shooting game at OSU. 

    He was also 5-9 for 12 points, 3 assists, 1 TO, and 4 rebounds against Craft last year so I fully expect him to rebound well in this one. 

  • Anonymous

    I have no idea how we stop sullinger. Capo, Pritch, and Elston each fouled out on him last year in 5 minutes. He will eatfch Pritchards lunch. My main concern is starting 0-3. I think we have to go at leas 1-2 in this stretch.

  • IUJeff

    I have to agree Ace. OSU @ home will be called much differently than @ MSU was. We will shoot a LOT more free throws and hopefully have them in foul trouble. 

    Will being out is the X factor though. We were the deeper team with him coming off the bench. Need AE to step up in a big way. 

  • IUJeff

    I believe Cody learned a great deal @ MSU. He needs to get the ball and we are still bad at feeding the post. 

    I think CZ will have Sullenger in foul trouble from the start. 

  • Aubreyhouse

    FREE Willy!

  • Aubreyhouse

    FREE Willy!

  • Hocho10111

    Go IU

  • Anonymous

    Yeah going 0-3 would probably be pretty demoralizing for the team.  I wouldn’t expect it though, watched Michigan play Penn State last night and they really don’t look so good.  I’m hoping the team bounces back in the event of a loss against OSU.  They have nothing to be ashamed of this season so far and thus no reason to let losses get to them.

    That’s one of my greatest concerns for this team overall. They’ve tasted some nice successes (12-0, defeated UK, Butler, ND & NC State) so I hope they won’t let losses get to them.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    Is Cook Hall open tomorrow?

  • Silkyslim

     I am very interested to see how Zeller responds to next game especially against another tough big opponent.  He has shown an excellent learning curve so far.  Has he had enough time to download the lessons from MI St.?  Also, can our guards get him the ball when he is open?  Who gets more points CZ or Sullinger? 

  • Silkyslim

     I am very interested to see how Zeller responds to next game especially against another tough big opponent.  He has shown an excellent learning curve so far.  Has he had enough time to download the lessons from MI St.?  Also, can our guards get him the ball when he is open?  Who gets more points CZ or Sullinger? 

  • Silkyslim

    I would LOVE for Pritchard to ‘pass fake’ and drive the basket and be a threat to help him AND the team!  He played with more “O” confidence as a freshman.  He must look at his shot and be a threat even if he doesn’t shot.

  • Silkyslim

    It would be nice to see some ‘down screens’ and baseline screens where Hulls can catch and shoot.  If that is not open it will open up his chance to drive which he struggles when dribbling the ball and starting the “O”.

  • Silkyslim

    Never discount home cooking and a good shooting team for any underdog team, they can be a deadly combo!

  • Petefaggen

    Ohio State is better than Kentucky. They won’t be intimidated by Assembly Hall, at least not as much as the young Wildcats and Calipari were. With Sullinger, I think they are the No. 1 team in the USA. And their inside-out game with Buford scares me. If IU wins this game, wow! But if Sheehey doesn’t play, and it doesn’t sound like he will, I think the Hoosiers have little margin for error. However, I think IU will bounce back from the MSU game — at least this one should be much closer. That was a tough opener and exposed some flaws, which is a good thing. I subscribe to the Coach K philosophy that losses can be useful. I think Oladipo will be a big x-factor on both ends of the floor tomorrow. And I like the posts suggesting Watford guard Buford. What I can’t wait to see is how Zeller responds against the best in Sullinger, and maybe Thomas, too. To me, that’s the game.

  • heinsohn

    Don’t like the statistical matchup much.however ,we should be able to score on them.Hopefully the turnovers won’t be so lethal at home as every turnover seemed to lead to a basket atMSU.The line says we have a good chance to win .My heart says we have a decent chance but the Pomeroy preview doesn’t have many openings….

  • Jmfriedman

    This team is full of fight and has their heads on straight.  They have been through a lot and I think these are the times when that will pay off.  Yes, they have experienced some successes this year, but they have also had a good taste of defeat after defeat after defeat in year’s past. Did you see the “fire” in them in the MSU game?  I did, and frankly, it has been a LONG time since I have seen it. I  expect them to come out swinging and win this one.

  • CorMan

    What we need tonight is a CRAZY crowd atmosphere!  We SHOULD and CAN be one of the toughest places to play.  I think if we bring our game and we have the crowd, we win by 4.

  • CB

    I look for Roth to step up big from outside, Craft cant guard both of them, (Hulls and Roth) and they are both just as lethal,  that will be the key to winning this game, Roth could be a major factor and I think he will, IIU by 10!

  • JerryCT

    How to stop Sullinger and OSU ? Here is what I will be looking for :

    On Defense:

    + deny the wings the ball , low post pass from the wing is easiest way to feed the post

    + CZ  3/4 fronts Sullinger on the BASELINE side forcing to the lane

    + helpside wings double Sullinger in the lane, this is also part of my case for TP defending a wing player and then often being the helpside wing

    + no switching on screens

    On Offense:

    + tons of running in transition , if they ever miss

    + cutting off the high post forcing them to hand check and bump us off the cut hoping to get some calls from the refs

    + I would ball screen and especially CZ set back screens for VO every trip and let VO drive it at Sullinger when they switch hoping for fouls. CWAT could do the same if he acts fast after the screen

    Obviously my hope is to win it from the FT line

  • JerryCT

    How to stop Sullinger and OSU ? Here is what I will be looking for :

    On Defense:

    + deny the wings the ball , low post pass from the wing is easiest way to feed the post

    + CZ  3/4 fronts Sullinger on the BASELINE side forcing to the lane

    + helpside wings double Sullinger in the lane, this is also part of my case for TP defending a wing player and then often being the helpside wing

    + no switching on screens

    On Offense:

    + tons of running in transition , if they ever miss

    + cutting off the high post forcing them to hand check and bump us off the cut hoping to get some calls from the refs

    + I would ball screen and especially CZ set back screens for VO every trip and let VO drive it at Sullinger when they switch hoping for fouls. CWAT could do the same if he acts fast after the screen

    Obviously my hope is to win it from the FT line

  • JerryCT

    I prefer a variation on your theme where CZ back screens for VO and he drives it at Sullinger hoping for a foul. I fear Craft is too physical to screen and get enough space for Hulls to shoot. But VO can draw fouls and with OSU’s short bench ……………. maybe we win it at the line

  • Mister Slippery

    The Sheehey injury is a real setback. I still think IU will get it done. I actually would like to see VO on Buford and CWAT on Thomas. Jordy stinks on D, but I’d still leave him on Craft with help from others.

    I think Jordy will play well. He’s got a scorer’s instinct that we’ll need tonight.

    Any chance we go big and have TP cover Sully… until he fouls out?

  • cooper

    This will be a very difficult game. Im not sure IU has enough offense to best OSU. I don’t see Hulls scoring much with Craft guarding him. Plus Crafts D is going to bother Hulls and may make bad post passing even worse. Zeller has a difficult match up mad is going to have to be more aggressive on offense.

    Will need another great game from Wat and VJ.

  • cooper

    This will be a very difficult game. Im not sure IU has enough offense to best OSU. I don’t see Hulls scoring much with Craft guarding him. Plus Crafts D is going to bother Hulls and may make bad post passing even worse. Zeller has a difficult match up mad is going to have to be more aggressive on offense.

    Will need another great game from Wat and VJ.

  • cooper

    I think Hulls only plays in this game if he is hitting shots and making good decisions. If not put in Roth and see if he is hitting shots. You lose nothing on D, they are equally awful.

  • cooper

    I would add to that Pritch using all 5 fouls on Sullinger

  • Sniderdoug1

    HOO HOO HOO HOOSIERS!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    Hey Alex, you messed up the opponent’s name.  Everyone knows it’s THE Ohio State.  C’mon.

  • Silkyslim

     VO seems to be the best at making the “D” pay the price for the hedge-outs or switches, too bad VJ3 can’t seem keep his head up to read the pick and roll (or pop) because it would open up his mid range shot.  Anything that gets Sullinger into foul trouble is a good thing.