What to Expect: Ohio State

  • 01/09/2015 10:22 am in

Indiana returns to Assembly Hall for the first time in nearly three weeks for its Big Ten opener against No. 22 Ohio State. The game will be broadcast at 12 p.m. ET on ESPN with Bob Wischusen and Dan Dakich on the call:

Indiana came out of its first two Big Ten games, both on the road, with a split. The Hoosiers won at Nebraska on New Year’s Eve, but were blitzed on Monday night in East Lansing by Michigan State.

It’s hard to be disappointed with a 1-1 start on the road in conference play given just how difficult it is to win at a place like Michigan State, particularly when the Spartans are desperate for a win.

However, there’s a major difference between showing up and competing for a hard fought loss and getting run out of the building. The latter happened to Indiana on Monday and how the Hoosiers respond tomorrow afternoon will tell us plenty about where this team is mentally as conference play kicks into full swing.


For the first time since the 2009-2010 season, Aaron Craft isn’t the Ohio State point guard, but the Buckeyes still have one of the better floor leaders in the conference in Shannon Scott. A former McDonald’s All-American, it’s finally Scott’s team to run as a senior and his assist rate (39.2 percent) is 11th in the country. Scott is also in the top 25 nationally in steal percentage, but has struggled a bit offensively. He’s making just 25.7 percent of his 3s.

Joining him in the Ohio State backcourt is arguably the league’s top freshman, D’Angelo Russell. As we pointed out earlier this week, when Russell scores it well, it is generally a sign that Ohio State is going to have a good chance to win. The Louisville native is averaging 19.3 points in the team’s 13 wins and just 13.6 points in its three losses. Russell is a tough cover because he’s a very good 3-point shooter (45.8 percent) and can also get into the lane to find teammates (29.2 percent assist rate). Here’s a look at Russell’s shot chart, via Shot Analytics:


Joining Scott and Russell in the Ohio State starting lineup are senior Sam Thompson and sophomore Marc Loving, who is the team’s second leading scorer after a minimal role as a freshman. Thompson has always been one of the Big Ten’s best finishers and is making 66.2 percent of his 2s this season. Loving, meanwhile, is hitting a ridiculous 54.5 percent of his 3s and has an effective field goal percentage above 65.

Another backcourt rotation piece is redshirt freshman Kam Williams, who has an offensive rating in the top 10 nationally because he rarely turns it over (4.9 percent turnover rate) and shoots it well (63.9 effective field goal percentage).

Senior Amir Williams is the starter at center, but is averaging just 20.1 minutes per game. Williams is a very good shot blocker, but has battled foul trouble for much of his career and has never been a great finisher for his size. However, he has improved in that regard in his final season as he’s making 71.7 percent of his field goal attempts. Senior Trey McDonald is the backup for Williams and graduate transfer Anthony Lee also sees sporadic minutes.

The other rotation pieces who could have an impact on Saturday are freshman Jae’Sean Tate, the team’s best offensive rebounder (offensive rebounding percentage of 11) and freshman Keita Bates-Diop who is long and can knock down outside shots (43.5 percent on 3s).



Both teams boast a similar offensive profile: Elite shooting, low turnover percentage, solid offensive rebounding and not great at getting to the foul line.

Where the major difference lies is defensively as Indiana continues to struggle to stop teams and Ohio State, while it’s not the elite defense that Thad Matta has enjoyed in the past, is still very solid. The Buckeyes are in the top 15 nationally in both steal and block percentage while Indiana isn’t in the top 250 in either category according to KenPom.com.

Through three Big Ten games, Ohio State is scoring 1.08 points per possession (3rd) and giving up 1.03 (10th). In its first two league games, IU is scoring just .93 points per trip (11th) while giving up 1.05 (11th). That’s obviously not much of a sample size to draw upon, but Indiana is going to need a much more efficient effort offensively on Saturday afternoon if it hopes to keep up with the Buckeyes.


Pomeroy sees the matchup as pretty even since it’s being played in Bloomington as he predicts a 79-78 win for Ohio State and a 55 percent chance for a Buckeye victory. Sagarin’s model likes Ohio State by three.

The key matchups is obviously Russell, but the Hoosiers also have to worry about keeping tabs on Loving on the perimeter as well as taking care of the ball around Scott, who can easily change momentum with steals and easy buckets on the other end.

The atmosphere in Assembly Hall has the potential to be a game changer for Indiana, but the Hoosiers are going to need a better shooting performance from James Blackmon Jr. as well as better games from Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Troy Williams, who were basically no-shows in East Lansing.

A win on Saturday afternoon could help regain some of the momentum this group enjoyed following the New Year’s Eve win over Nebraska. A loss, however, will put tremendous pressure on Tuesday’s game against Penn State, a team that won last year in Assembly Hall following a major collapse by IU.

(Photo credit: Source: Jamie Sabau/Getty Images North America)

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  • calbert40

    We are in the B1G portion of the schedule, so every game is a big game now. I don’t like to put more importance on one by saying it is a “must win.” While I don’t think we will win every game from here on out, I think we should be able to compete with everyone. Like every team, we will win a couple we shouldn’t and lose a couple too.

    That said, I fully expect that we will win this game. During the Crean era, we always seem to play well as home dogs.

  • Hoosier89

    That team still had some glaring flaws. Generally not that athletic outside of two or three players and not nearly as deep as we thought they were.

  • Michael

    Please explain where I said that team was flawless? I didn’t say college bball history, I said 20 plus years for IU.

    I believe they were a top 5 offense that year and maybe 20ish or so in defense. Boy 2 years ago is like 20 for some people on this site. No external factors matter lol every year should be perfection.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I didn’t say I’d be pleased with anything less than a win. However, the most important thing for me, as it pertains to the rest of the season, is seeing how we respond after getting embarrassed by MSU. The effort needs to be better and the overall performance needs to be better. If we play really well but get beat because Ohio State shoots incredibly well?

    I believe results are the most important thing but I care about the fight and effort and performance of the team as well. That’s just my opinion though and at least one person, “gives a crap” about more than just the final result of one game in the early part of the B1G season.

  • Hoosier89

    Sorry I meant to clarify in the first sentence that I wasn’t arguing with you. More in agreement than anything. As in, you can’t blame Crean for only the bad things and not give him credit for the good.

  • Michael

    And that’s the best part. They outplayed people with more talent/athleticism. Those guys all really got better (and still are now) during their time.

  • SilentBob

    To win this game we will need our more athletic players to break out of their slump. I’m not sure we win, but if we do we will have a big night from Hanner. I want him to stay out of foul trouble, but we need him to be ultra aggressive on both ends of the floor, especially with the OSU can get to the rim. Somewhere in the ball park of 8 boards and 3 blocks sounds like a good recipe for success. I also see this as a game where Stan can start to crawl out of his season long slump. When he is in I expect him to get the Russel assignment. South paw vs south paw sounds pretty enticing to me. If he does well with this I could see him getting anywhere from 15 to 18 minutes. 7 points on three of five shooting with 3 assists and two steals sounds about right to me. I won’t bet on it, but if it happens you heard here first. Russel averages 3.1 turnovers per game. Simply because I’m hopeful I will call it 78-72 Hoosiers.

  • Snookafly

    I can definitely see JBJ trying to leave, but there is absolutely no way Troy Williams is a first round pick this year.

  • Gregory Spera

    Have to say, not crazy about last season’s “transition year” now being extended into a less well defined “transition period.”

  • Michael

    Then go talk with the NCAA about having players stay two years.

    Everyone wants top recruits but hates the catch 22 associated with them. We had a decent backup but he decided to leave. Big man transfers didn’t decide to come, what else could have been done? There really isn’t a plan d in that scenario. Most decent freshman were already heavily involved in their schools of interest.

  • Sarasota Hoosier

    In my mind, in the Big 10 every home game is a must win if you have any thoughts of winning Big 10 and getting to the tournament. Perfect at home, 500 on the road gets you to the dance.

  • John D Murphy

    And Glass. Because the buyout on Crean has to be pretty large.

  • thrawnjan

    “winning is a mentality that some people have”
    let me assume that you are not playing for iu. you are watching others play. that makes your “mentality” more like that of a child that screams: “I WANT THAT BIG RED TRUCK NOW, DADDY, GIVE ME THE BIG RED TRUCK, I DESERVE IT”, not that of a winner.

  • ForeverIU


    I put it through google translate hoping for clarification, to no avail!

  • Ole Man

    IU apologists? Go back to the KY board!!!

  • RU4IU2

    And Thompson knows how to send it home, too. Williams is going to have his hands full trying to contain him.

  • RU4IU2

    He’s quite capable of “assisting” one of his teammates have a career night every time he steps on the court. He is also the one player I wouldn’t put on the FT line.

  • RU4IU2

    Robert Johnson is a better defender…but Scott is a Senior and quite capable of lighting us up or helping one of his mates make the ESPN Highlight segment.

  • RU4IU2

    We will need more than 7 pts and 5 RB from Hanner tomorrow. How well Thompson and Williams play will certainly be worth watching. I’m more interested to see how and/or whom is able to contain Scott and Russell from driving into the lane and passing or scoring. The Buckeyes have a pretty strong game from inside 15 ft and whomever is on the backside of our 1-3-1 or on the wings of a 1-2-2 or 2-3 is going to be busy all afternoon. My guess is for Matta to more or less concede 18-20 pts from Ferrell and Blackmon, shut down everyone else and control the glass.

  • RU4IU2

    That “injury-depleted” Illinois team beat Maryland earlier this week. They may find that the loss of Rayvonte Rice for a few weeks is not as cataclysmic as some envisioned.

  • Guest

    I’d like to hear the Fat Lady sing in AH early tomorrow afternoon…she should be well-rested and ready to go!

  • RU4IU2

    I’d really like to hear the Fat Lady sing in AH early tomorrow afternoon…she should be well-rested and ready to go!

  • RU4IU2

    Without a mid-range shot, he’ll be just another one-dimensional player with good hops…Top 20 for the D-League maybe. Keep an eye on where/if Sam Thompson goes in the draft.

  • RU4IU2

    Ohio State plays an aggressive 2-3 zone…and a pretty decent man D, too.

  • RU4IU2

    I imagine Rick Pitino occasionally wonders, “What if…”, too.

  • RU4IU2

    The 2002 crew of Fife, Newton, Jeffries, Moye, Odle, Hornsby and Coverdale got IU to the Finals. They weren’t exactly chopped liver…and I’m pretty sure that they would have given TC’s crew all they could handle and maybe a bit more.

  • mdtreat

    I hope we bring out the box and one for Russell

  • ‘Nuff_Said

    If Hanner can’t offer up even a reasonable effort against OSU then I’d sit him at the end of the bench and tell EH the job is his and Hanner only plays strictly reserve minutes from here on.

  • yimyames

    I’d say he’s lifted more weights in the last 4 months than he has his whole life, combined. That will screw up a pure jumper, he will adjust eventually though.

  • eville87

    I have been saying it all year. If Crean can’t get in something will change. It has to change. Perfect example of a 7 year transition. We’re a mid major and Northern Iowa is ranked. And we are the first 4 out. Ughhhhhh. Hi Ken!!!!!!!

  • FinEndNow

    Sam Thompson will most likely not be drafted. Once Troy adds a jump shot then he is gone. Im giving him another year.

  • CrimsonCrazy

    Have watched the Buckeyes play several times this year. Russell takes a vast majority of their shots. If he can get it up, it is going up. Which is why they look good when he scores and not as good when he doesn’t. Reminds me of the year Deshaun Thomas was near 50% of their offense.