OSU Indiana CBB

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Ohio State

vs.

Indiana

College Basketball

Pick

2/23/18

Due to the Big Ten Tournament being a week early, this is surprisingly the last regular season Game for these teams. Indiana has closed the season on a little run and has guaranteed it won’t have a losing Conference record, which is impressive considering how the non-Conference went. Ohio State still has a chance to share the Big Ten title and will need to win here.

The Buckeyes slipped up last week thanks to a couple difficult road Games and this one falls in that category. Of course, this is still a team that won at Purdue so it’s not like it’s much worse on the road. As for the Hoosiers, they’re an extremely different team playing at Assembly Hall with their only two Big Ten losses coming against Michigan State and Purdue. They battled in both of those Games and all signs point to a battle in this one.

In the first meeting a few weeks ago, Indiana was never close after falling behind by 15 points in the first 10 minutes. But again, Indiana at home and on the road are two different things. It also helps that IU has played much better over the last two weeks. The first meeting was pure domination for Ohio State even if it didn’t play particularly well shooting 5-of-17 from outside to go with 14 turnovers. The Hoosiers only lost by 15 points (71-56) because Devonte Green came in and hit some threes, finishing with 20 points in 30 minutes off the bench.

Unfortunately, that probably won’t be something to count on for Indiana, which doesn’t rank above average in any offensive category except for free throws attempts. The bad news with that stat is it also ranks last in terms of free-throw percentage in the conference. The best stat for the Hoosiers is that they force a lot of turnovers and that’s what the Bucks have had trouble with throughout the season, even in wins. That said, IU still has to find a way to limit easy looks after Keita Bates-Diop, Jae’Sean Tate, Kam Williams and Kaleb Wesson combined to go 22-of-29 from the field in that first Game.

The Hoosiers don’t match up well at any position other than point guard. Bates-Diop can go to work against Zach McRoberts, Justin Smith or Freddie McSwain, while Wesson has a size advantage on Juwan Morgan. Tate is also bulky for his position and can usually take whoever defends him to the paint for easy buckets. If the Hoosiers don’t limit those easy looks, it’ll be hard to win, but there’s at least a chance to stay competitive playing at home.

While the Bucks rank first in the Big Ten in defensive efficiency, that number falls off on the road as seen in recent losses. Indiana couldn’t do anything in that first Game shooting 14-of-36 from two-point range and it’s hard to see Robert Johnson being held to only two points again. Johnson has been one of the more consistent scorers for Indiana this season and even dropped nine threes in a win over the weekend. If he can do a little more in addition to Morgan and Green, the Hoosiers will be in business.

This one could easily come down to the final few minutes, but matchups could cost Indiana when it matters most. Without anyone to stop Bates-Diop or even Wesson, the Hoosiers may not have enough to steal a win, especially if this Game is close at the end.

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