What to Expect: Indiana at Ohio State

  • 02/06/2024 6:50 am in

Indiana begins a two-game road trip with Ohio State on Tuesday night at Value City Arena. The Buckeyes are 13-9 overall and 3-8 in the Big Ten.

Tuesday’s game will tip at 7 p.m. ET on Peacock

Two programs with seasons headed in the wrong direction will battle tonight in Columbus.

Ohio State has lost four in a row, seven of eight and has fallen from No. 24 in KenPom to No. 65. The heat on Chris Holtmann’s seat is getting warmer with each loss.

Indiana began the season 10-3 but is now 13-9 and will miss the NCAA tournament for the first time in three seasons under Mike Woodson unless a miraculous turnaround occurs. Saturday was a new low for the Hoosiers, falling 85-71 at home to Penn State as boos rang down in Assembly Hall.


Indiana won the first matchup with Ohio State 71-65 on Jan. 6 in Bloomington.

It was the best performance of the season for Xavier Johnson, who scored 18 points in 33 minutes and didn’t commit a turnover. Johnson was 8-for-11 from the free-throw line and also had three assists.

Malik Reneau was dominant, finishing with 23 points, seven rebounds, an assist, a blocked shot and a steal in 37 minutes. And CJ Gunn had his most impactful game in an IU uniform with 10 points in 24 minutes off the bench.

Another critical factor for Indiana in the win was its ability to take care of the ball. The Hoosiers committed just four turnovers after committing 19 in their previous game against Nebraska on Jan. 3.

Ohio State, meanwhile, turned it over 14 times and the points off of turnovers battle was won 22-5 by Indiana as a result.

Indiana’s defensive work on the Ohio State guard duo of Bruce Thornton and Roddy Gayle Jr. was also pivotal. Thornton and Gayle Jr. entered the game averaging a combined 32.3 points, but scored just 18 points in Assembly Hall. Thornton shot just 4-for-17, Gayle Jr. was 3-for-17 and the duo was a combined 0-for-12 on 3s.

The Hoosiers did struggle with defensive rebounding in the win. Ohio State pulled down more offensive rebounds (22) than Indiana’s total defensive rebounds (20) for an offensive rebounding percentage of 52.4.

Individually, Jamison Battle stood out for Ohio State with 17 points on 5-for-10 shooting on 3s. The Buckeyes, however, hit just 7-for-27 from distance (25.9 percent).


All stats in the graphic below are via KenPom.com and are for conference games only.

Ohio State’s defense in Big Ten play has been disastrous. Some of it can be attributed to luck, but the patience of Buckeye fans with Holtmann has run thin. League opponents are shooting 41.2 percent on 3s against the Buckeyes and that number is 47 percent in road games, an unsustainable number to win games with any regularity.

The Buckeyes also don’t force turnovers as they rank 13th in forcing turnovers in conference play, according to KenPom.

On the plus side of things, Ohio State ranks in the top five of the conference in both offensive and defensive rebounding percentage. That should serve the Buckeyes well against an Indiana team that ranks just ninth in the Big Ten in offensive rebounding percentage and 10th in defensive rebounding percentage.


Indiana is not favored in another game this season in KenPom and has just a 28 percent chance to win Tuesday in Columbus. The Pomeroy prediction is Ohio State by six.

Ohio State is desperate for a win. And this looks like an ideal “get right” spot with Indiana’s struggles on the road. The Buckeyes have won just twice this calendar year, beating Rutgers 76-72 on Jan. 3 at home and Penn State 79-67 on Jan. 20, also at home.

Holtmann missed the NCAA tournament last season and is staring down another miss this winter. While his regular season performances have been solid for most of his tenure, he hasn’t taken the Buckeyes past the second round of March Madness. New leadership in the athletic department takes over this summer, which could make his employment tenuous if a turnaround doesn’t occur.

The Hoosiers had a solid win last week against Iowa but followed it up with arguably the worst loss of the Woodson era against Penn State on Saturday. Indiana hasn’t won a road game since early December. While the Hoosiers have typically rebounded well after a loss under Woodson, it’s fair to wonder what the mindset of this team is after Saturday’s deflating loss.

Filed to: