What to Expect: Ohio State

  • 01/24/2015 9:18 am in

Indiana will ride a four-game winning streak into Columbus on Sunday afternoon for a meeting with Ohio State at Value City Arena. The Hoosiers won the first meeting this season with the Buckeyes, 69-66, on Jan. 10 at Assembly Hall.

The game will be broadcast at 1:30 p.m ET on CBS with Carter Blackburn and Clark Kellogg on the call:

Indiana will begin a two-game roadtrip on Sunday in one of the tougher Big Ten venues to win in, Value City Arena. The atmosphere in Columbus sometimes feels more like a professional one because of the arena, but the Buckeyes are always tough at home.

Ohio State is one of five Big Ten opponents that Indiana will play twice this season and these two teams are wrapping up their season series just a third of the way into the league schedule.

The Buckeyes are coming off a narrow 69-67 win at Northwestern in which freshman D’Angelo Russell was dominant. The Louisville native posted an incredible stat line in Evanston – 33 points, six rebounds, six assists and no turnovers – and will surely have his bad performance earlier this month in Bloomington on his mind.


Thad Matta made changes to his rotation at Northwestern, inserting Jae’Sean Tate into the starting lineup in place of Marc Loving and Anthony Lee in place of Amir Williams. Loving (19 minutes) still saw a fair amount of playing time, but Williams played just three minutes which could be a sign that he’s on the outs unless something changes dramatically with his performance.

Russell, of course, is still the name to remember at the top of the scouting report. He’s been tabbed as a potential top ten pick now by just about every NBA draft guru and his ability to both score and distribute makes him a tough cover. In Big Ten play, he’s hitting 43.4 percent of his 3s and is 12th in the league in assist rate (24.8 percent). And although he doesn’t get to the line at the rate of Maryland’s Melo Trimble, he’s very good when he does get there as he’s knocking down 82.9 percent in conference play.

Seniors Shannon Scott and Sam Thompson continue to start for the Buckeyes and both can be effective in their roles. Scott is an elite defender and is third in league play in assist rate at 29.2 percent. He’s struggled with his shooting through seven league games – 55.6 percent on free throws and an effective field goal percentage of just 45.7 percent – but for the most part, he’s played his role as a distributor in a solid fashion. Thompson is fourth in league play in steal rate and is making 56.7 percent of his 2s in league play, but has only hit 1 of his 14 attempts from distance.

Loving is a 3-point specialist who is hitting over 50 percent from distance on the season, but just 38.7 percent in league play. He can also get to the line when he doesn’t settle from the perimeter and he’s hitting 78 percent from the stripe on the season. Redshirt freshman Kam Williams could also see spot minutes, but he’s shot very poorly in league play after posting very solid numbers in non-conference play. In seven Big Ten games, Williams is making just 28.6 percent of his 2s and 23.1 percent of his 3s.

The frontcourt situation still seems unsettled beyond Tate, who is undersized but a load to handle on the glass and around the basket despite standing just 6-4. Tate is third in offensive rebounding percentage in Big Ten play, eleventh in block percentage and seventeenth in steal percentage. In the first meeting between IU and Ohio State, he finished with 12 points and five rebounds before fouling out in 24 minutes.

Temple transfer Anthony Lee has been a disappointment, but Matta gave him a shot at Northwestern and he finished with 11 points and three rebounds. The aforementioned Williams, a former McDonald’s All-American, has simply not been productive enough to warrant a starting spot and given Indiana’s lack of size, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Matta to stay with a smaller lineup against the Hoosiers. Senior Trey McDonald is another bench option who is 6-foot-8 and 240 pounds and his 15 minutes logged in Evanston suggest he may get the first chance off the bench for now over Williams.



Ohio State has ranked in the top three in defensive efficiency in Big Ten play in every season since 2008-2009 and through seven games, these Buckeyes sit in ninth. They’re yielding 1.04 points per possession which is a significant shift from last year’s group that had the league’s best defense (.96 points per trip allowed).

Much like Indiana, they’ve been able to mask deficiencies on the defensive end with a very good offense. Ohio State is just behind IU in both offensive efficiency and effective field goal percentage, which suggests we could have a shootout if both teams get going.

Ohio State has been very vulnerable on the defensive glass as Big Ten opponents are rebounding 35.7 percent of their misses. The Buckeyes have also struggled in getting to the line with any regularity as just 16 percent of their points in conference play are coming from the foul line.


The computers still love the Buckeyes as the Pomeroy ratings favor them by 7 over the Hoosiers with a 74 percent chance for a victory. Sagarin likes Ohio State by six. For the sixth time in seven league games, Indiana will tip-off as an underdog according to the computers.

This is a game that Ohio State very much needs to win as its NCAA tournament resume is lacking at this point. The best win for Ohio State right now is either Minnesota on the road or Illinois at home and neither of those teams are projected to make the tournament as of today.

At 5-1, Indiana has surpassed expectations to this point and positioned itself well to contend for a top three or four finish in league play. The Hoosiers are 2-1 on the road so far in Big Ten play, but it gets no easier as IU’s next four games away from Assembly Hall are Ohio State, Purdue, Wisconsin and Maryland.

Ohio State has started slow recently, so a quick start could go a long way in keeping the Hoosiers confident early and the crowd, which should be engaged, out of the contest. Ultimately, this one will come down to how IU responds to the atmosphere, limiting Ohio State’s offensive runs and also whether the Hoosiers are able to take care of the ball and simply run their offense, which will lead to high percentage looks.

Filed to:

  • Eastwood88_2

    Not seeing a great opportunity for us this weekend. This is a must win for OSU. I expect us to complete but fall short in the end. Home court advantage. Meaning the bigten officials will have there say. Would like us to win one of the four road games up coming. Maybe OSU isn’t that good? I will miss Williams getting his minutes. That guy was huge for us.

  • sd chuck

    OSU doesn’t appear to be a team on the upswing, actually very unsettled, Matta is searching for something that works. I think this is a winnable game, hope we show up with something to prove. Hopefully shots are falling, and we will be in the game. Russell is the only constant offense, hold him under 20, we will have a good chance to win.

  • cbags05

    Maryland wasn’t a statement win. That was at home. These road games are where statements are made. I expect to win 3 of next 4 road games if we want to maintain this “contender” label floating around.

  • TN Hoosier

    This sure has been a fun season. W/L records can often be deceiving, but I’ve become a believer in this team. Their chemistry is good and it seems the system matches up well with the players. They continue to get better and are playing with confidence.

    One game at a time! Go Hoosiers!

  • Gregory Spera

    “For the sixth time in seven league games, Indiana will tip-off as an underdog according to the computers.”

    At this point it is becoming obvious that the Hoosiers are a much better team than the “advanced analytics” indicate. Maybe the computers should start using the “eyeball” test.

  • Shawn Congo

    He is not a constant. Every time he is below, they lose.

  • N71

    I don’t know for certain but our not having a traditional post player must factor into the prognostications. It defies conventional wisdom, somewhat remarkable really, Coach Crean has been mildly innovative by moving Hartman away from the paint, it changes everything.

  • Eastwood88_2

    That is insane. Great defense in the bigten. We scored 89 and win in a blowout style.

  • Drew

    I’m trying to keep my expectations in check because this is the Big 10 and road losses are part of the lumps each team has to swallow during conference play. However, we are playing exceptional right now and the boys are confident. With a less than stellar OSU defense, our guys have a great opportunity. At this point, computer analysis have failed to properly predict us, and I love it. Hopefully they keep playing with edge and heart. Many folks around the league and country still aren’t giving proper credit to these guys and I hope they keep getting proved wrong. Go Hoosiers!

  • Michael Crawley

    OSU reminds me of how we were last year they have problems scoring.

  • Drew

    You mean they have problems defending? Scoring certainly isn’t their issue this year!

  • dwdkc

    When you are 5-1 and the computers predict 1-5 that suggests something is up. Most of the computer predictions had it close, and many of the wins have been close, but I think the issue has been the improvement by this team vs. some very uninspired early performances like Tx Southern, EWU, and Michigan State more recently. If they can keep improving, this will be a lot of fun.

  • dwdkc

    Winning 3 of these upcoming 4 road games would be the profile of a Top 5 team, not a top 20 team. And putting 89 up on the best defense in the Big 10 is a statement. That said winning this game would be equally or even a little more impressive. Out of these 4 road games, given how Purdue is going to be so pumped up, this might be the most winnable.

  • dwdkc

    Russell has to face Yogi. That has been a recipe for a subpar game for pretty much everyone except fellow Hoosier Smith-Rivera.

  • If we’d won by a few points, sure, it wouldn’t have been a statement. But completely dismantling the #1 B1G defense and destroying them by 19 points? And not forgetting that we outscored them by 16 points in the second half alone (I think we were up by three at the half)…

  • Took the words right out of my mouth.

  • TomJameson

    Only difference is that Russell has played against Yogi one already. He just might have picked up a little something like coming tighter off screens or something like that. Hope not, I want Yogi to eat his lunch again! lol

  • TomJameson

    Maryland was most definitely a statement win. For all the reasons Eastwood88_2 stated, plus MD being ranked above us, and IU being a 5 to 7 point underdog.

  • I agree. Not a statement win, unless you can count on IU to consistently shoot 60% in future games, then that would certainly be a statement showing how off the charts our offense really is. But I personally don’t think we can play to that level all the time. If we can, then we have a chance to hang another banner this year.

    Or I suppose you can consider it a statement of sorts that we don’t belong in the middle of the pack in B1G, but I think our body of work this season proved that more than this one game alone.

  • TomJameson

    I like the underdog role, a lot! I think it gives the entire team a chip on their collective shoulders.

  • Hoosier1158

    Nothing to do with this posting, watching my 2nd favorite team, whoever is playing UK right now.

    How cool would it be for UK to finish out the regular session and the SEC tournament undefeated. Get the overall number one seed in the NCAA tournament. Their match up to go the final four would be 8th seeded IU who lays down another 3 point shooting display to blow out the wildcats? Paybacks for 75.

  • Hoosier Hall

    Amir Williams was our sixth man in that game. Lol!

  • TomJameson

    I don’t want UK to have an undefeated season. Really, really, don’t! At least, in your musings, have them lose one regular season game please? LOL

  • cbags05

    I read a headline that iu is clear contender to win the BIG. We just need to hold our horses a little bit. I love this team. They are more fun to watch than any iu team in 20 years. But we won a home game. That’s all. Do we forget the Msu game that easily?

  • Guest

    “Last” != “This

  • Miamihoosier

    How much credit do you guys think this early start goes to the strongest preconference schedule weve played in a decade? In my opinion, it deserves a lot. Losing 3 times sucked, but it got us ready better than any season in Creans tenure

  • last time I checked, it has already been a lot of fun to watch. as in, almost every game this season.

  • HoosierFanaticFromUSI

    I think it has a lot to do with it. Last years team had a terrible non-con and lost every meaningful game they played, and did not look ready for conference play. The opposite is true this year. Just look at some of the teams in the B1G who had weak OOC schedules and how they have fared in the B1G. Minnesota, Penn State, even Ohio State.

  • I’m certainly not ever surprised when technocrats fail miserably. I usually expect it. The question usually isn’t whether or not “the computers” fail, but how much damage will it cause and whether or not anyone remembers how often their predictions are junk. I’d rather go by a teams overall shooting percentage and rebounding and win/loss margins, than anything the technocreeps are currently spouting. It’s almost like they need gimmicks to compensate for their lack of knowledge and insight or something. If only they could just get rid of that whole “human factor,” what a lovely world we’d live in…we being robots, of course.

  • it would much cooler if they lost all of the rest of their games, lose their conference tournament, and don’t make the big tournament.

  • that’s an interesting thought

  • SCHoosier

    Hoosiers have to D up..Bucks won’t shoot 14% from three at home. Loving, Russell and Shannon got all the shots they needed at B-town..just didn’t hit them. Different story in Columbus. IU should be the underdog..but is one that can bite.

  • Hoosier1158

    But that is the point, UK beat a then undefeated IU squad in the 75 NCAA tournament. Of course it would be much better if they lose several games in the SEC regular season and the SEC is pretty lame this year.

  • Ole Man

    Think it had more to do with talent and coaching then their schedule.

  • cbags05

    Alright 2 of 4. I agree 3 would be rather impressive.

  • SCHoosier

    And I believe OSU had one of the softest pre-conference slates.

  • jpniles

    I don’t like this game. But IF we come out of Columbus with a win, there is no reason we can’t win the BiG this year. Wisconsin is very good bit are a bit suspect right now. If Hartman can come in and bang against Kaminsky, we might have a chance. But like I said. This OSU game worries me after the big game against Maryland. But. Hey. Go Hoosiers!!!!

  • dave violet

    as in Ohio State fan I have to agree I don’t understand how he was a McDonald’s all-american

  • Hardwood83

    Yep! Squeaking by Maryland? Maybe not a statement- but dominating them (anyplace) was. Who knows what the future holds with this team, but lets enjoy the totally unexpected success!

  • Snookafly

    Our nonconference had at least 8 cupcakes and some mediocre “big names.” Our RPI was the second lowest in the B1G early on. Not sure what you guys are referring to.

  • cbags05

    Still stiffer competition than previous years. We used to never go to start of season tourneys or go to MSG. Two trips to MSG this year. SMU came to town….butler….only thing missing was UK.

  • ForeverIU

    OSU depends way too heavily on D’Angelo Russell for scoring. If we shut him down we win easily. If we don’t, we only win in a close one.

  • Snookafly

    I think the preseason trip to Canada and the MSG trips were big. I realize Butler and SMU are supposed to be top 25 teams in the RPI, but I don’t think either one is anything special.

  • TomJameson

    I get your point, and it would be sweet revenge, but I just don’t want them to have an undefeated regular season. That’s all. lol

  • cbags05

    I am most definitely enjoying it.

  • Cm

    Their predictions work through extrapolation based on past events. I seem to recall a lot of humans being negative after the MSU game, and many people predicting a max of 2 wins in this four game series, which we’ve already toppled. Bottom line is we’ve exceeded everyone’s expectations, including the computers. Hope we keep it up, go IU!

  • Zach

    Let’s be honest. The SEC is pretty lame every year

  • ForeverIU

    I agree that Canada was big in getting our players to start gelling together, especially compared to the same time the previous year when Yogi and Will were playing in Russia and losing valuable time with the rest of the team.