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College Basketball Pick
Even though Indiana isn't the AP No. 1 seed anymore, they will still likely get the top overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, as long as they don't fall apart. The Hoosiers are currently two game leaders in the Big 10 with two difficult games remaining. This one against Ohio State, and their regular season finale at Michigan. If they can win both games, that top seed should be theirs no matter what happens in the conference tourney.
As for the Buckeyes, they are two games back of the Hoosiers, but can still grab the second seed in the Big 10 tourney if they can grab a road win here. In the bigger picture, they are currently projected as a 5-seed in the big dance with a chance to move up. Of course, if they lose their last game to Illinois, they'll move down.
The last time these teams played was in Columbus and it wasn't exactly what the Buckeyes wanted. They were beaten from the start en route to a 13-point loss. That game also happened to be their only conference home loss. Even though Deshaun Thomas was able to be his usual productive self and Aaron Craft helped out offensively, it still wasn't enough as Indiana's offense was too much to handle. Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo combined for 17 made free throws which just showed how much trouble the Ohio State defense had. Three players finished with 20-plus points for Indiana while Jordan Hulls and Yogi Ferrell were held to just six combined points.
The Buckeyes will need a few breakout performances to pull out the win in Bloomington. Last week against Michigan State, Craft busted out for a career-high 21 points in the victory. A good game from him, Thomas and someone else will be required. It's been hit or miss all season for Ohio State's role players. Lenzelle Smith Jr. is the hottest of the bunch putting 24 points in their last game. However, in his three previous games he only had 15 points total. Without help from those role players, this game will be very hard to win.
After allowing 81 points at home, it's hard to see how the Buckeyes will be able to stop the Hoosiers on the road. Even though Indiana's guards were held down, their bigs didn't have much trouble scoring. Like most teams, OSU doesn't really have anyone that can stay with Oladipo on either end of the court. Zeller has a vast advantage over the Buckeyes bigs mainly because of his athleticism. Evan Ravenel has the strength, but not the quickness while freshman Amir Williams is still rough around the edges. With Christian Watford stretching the floor like he always does, there will once again be open looks for one of the best three-point shooting teams in the nation.
Ohio State has not beaten a top team on the road all season and it's unlikely they'll be able to do so against an Indiana squad looking to secure the regular season Big 10 title. While that may be the case, the Buckeyes still have some playmakers in Thomas and Craft, but someone else will need to be able to hit shots if they want to keep this game close.
Predicted Score - Indiana 72 Ohio State 62
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