We’re down to the last regular season game for the Buckeyes, and there’s still a chance at a tie for the regular season Big Ten Championship. Can Ohio State go on the road and get one in Bloomington?
Ohio State (23-7) (14-3) vs. Indiana (16-13) (9-8) Game Preview
Broadcast, TV, Game Time
Date: Friday, February 23
Game Time: 8:00 pm ET
Venue: Assembly Hall, Bloomington, Indiana
Okay. Here we go. Ohio State is in a position to still hang a banner with a little help from Wisconsin over the weekend, but it must take care of business on the road first.
Archie Miller is in the midst of a rebuild in Bloomington, and things haven’t gone terribly well, but the Hoosiers have been a much better ball-club at home.
For Indiana, the NCAA tournament ship sailed a long time ago (aside from winning the Big Ten Tournament), but it’s still looking to finish above .500 and build towards next year.
Even with a loss, the Buckeyes are still assured of a quarterfinal matchup as no worse than a No. 3 seed, but losing your last game of the regular season isn’t the way to head into the post-season.
Ohio State looked fantastic on senior day at home against Rutgers, but before that, had some issues with ball security and composure on the road at Penn State and Michigan. This is another chance to get some of those kinks and deficiencies worked out.
Ohio State Short Attention Span Game Plan
It’s time to muscle up and be physical. OSU jumped on the Hoosiers early at home by bullying its way in the paint, rebounding like crazy and flat-out being more physical than Indiana.
The result was a Hoosier team that had a miserable shooting night and gave up a lot of easy buckets on the defensive end. It didn’t even matter that the Buckeyes turned the ball over fourteen times because Indiana had no answer inside.
Rinse and repeat.
The same would apply here. It won’t be as easy on the road in a hostile environment, but Indiana’s best chance of stopping the low post possessions from being converted to easy baskets was lost to injury. The 6-10 De’Ron Johnson has a long rehab ahead of him.
Keita-Bates Diop and Kaleb Wesson both have over seven-foot wingspans, and Jae’Sean Tate should be able to get position and on the left block and muscle his way to the hoop as well.
Then n defense, then it’s all about keeping it simple, playing man-to-man and then using the bodies and length to limit second chances.
Key Player For Ohio State
Kaleb Wesson. Indiana just doesn’t have anyone that can guard the wide-bodied Wesson — especially with its most effective post player, De’Ron Davis still out with injury. Wesson should be able to lean on defenders down low and use his brawn and footwork to get easy shots in the paint.
If the Hoosiers decide to double down on him, he’s shown the ability to find where the double team came from and kick it out for a better look. He’ll need to work hard to get a good shot, but be willing to defer if the defense doesn’t allow it.
Wesson was 7 for 7 in Columbus and should be able to do something similar against the Hoosiers on the road.
How It’ll All Go Down
Penn State was a bad matchup athletically for Ohio State. Indiana is the opposite. This is just a bad matchup for Indiana, but it won’t be easy. The Hoosiers created a lot of turnovers in the first meeting, and with the home crowd, it’ll get even more keeping this one closer than it should be.
This is the same Indiana team that took Duke, Michigan State, and Purdue to the brink at home.
But Ohio State’s length and physical play will keep the young Hoosiers back on their heels just enough for a hard-fought win. Then it’s all about rooting for a home-standing Wisconsin team to beat Michigan State on Sunday.
Ohio State 70, Indiana 65
Ohio State -1.5
Contact/Follow @BuckeyeWire for ongoing coverage of Ohio State football and basketball.