The #1 ranked Hoosiers have to regroup quickly after their upsetting loss to Illinois on Thursday. So far this season Indiana has shown that when the competition gets tough, the Hoosiers bring it (4-0 against top 25 opponents). The only problem with that record is all four wins came at home. This time IU will have to do it in a packed Value City Arena. A win for the home team would put Michigan State alone at the top of the conference standings.
The Buckeyes’ backbone is their defense but if they are going to win in big games they need their offense to step up much like it did in the loss against Michigan. They usually rely on Deshaun Thomas to be their only source of offense. I’m sure he wouldn’t have a problem with it but they need guys like Lenzelle Smith Jr. and LaQuinton Ross to provide some support in games like this. If they don’t, I wouldn’t have a problem with it though.
With that here is the scouting report for today’s game:
Ohio State Buckeyes: 17-5 (7-3) Rank: 10 AP/9 KenPom
#4 Aaron Craft: 6-2 190 Jr. G 9.3ppg 4.5apg 3.8rpg
-Craft is one of my favorite players to watch. Craft is the best in the nation at disrupting the opposing offense’s rhythm. I assume he will be guarding Yogi which sets up for quite the duel.
#32 Lenzelle Smith Jr.: 6-4 205 Jr. G 10.5ppg 1.7apg 5.3rpg
-I remember Lenzelle tearing up the Hoosiers last year in Columbus. He leads the team in 3-pt percentage (42%).
#12 Sam Thompson: 6-7 190 So. F 6.9ppg 1.1apg 3.4rpg
-Sam has top-level athleticism but doesn’t provide much other offense other than dunking.
#1 Deshaun Thomas: 6-7 225 Jr. F 19.9ppg 1.6apg 6.1rpg
-Deshaun can fill it up with the best of them. Every shot is a good shot in his eyes but you can’t really blame him. Despite his usage on the offensive side of the ball he still has an true shooting percentage of 57% and most of those are jumpers. It will be interesting to see who Crean wants to guard him.
#23 Amir Williams: 6-11 250 So. C 4.5ppg 0.1apg 4.1rpg
-Amir can be tabbed as overrated in high school based on his first two years of play at Ohio State. He is coming off what was probably his best game in a Buckeye uniform in their overtime loss at Michigan.
Coming off the bench:
#10 LaQuinton Ross: 6-7 225 So. F 8.0ppg 0.5apg 3.2rpg
-Like Williams, Ross played one of his best career games against the Wolverines, which makes it all the more confusing as to how they lost. Ross can be scary good and I think he is just scratching the surface in terms of his current ability.
#3 Shannon Scott: 6-1 180 So. G 5.0ppg 3.9apg 2.4rpg
-Scott comes in to provide some good passing ability and defense.
#30 Evan Ravenel – F
Keys to the game
- Turnovers haven’t killed the Hoosiers but they definitely haven’t made it any easier for them. Craft is a specialist in terms of turning you over so Yogi must not relax at all and the offense can’t afford to have consecutive runs of bad possessions.
- Will there be a concerted effort to feed Cody Zeller the ball? Too many times Cody has disappeared in games but if Indiana wants this big win, the Big Handsome needs more touches.
- Tom Crean has never won at Ohio State. Will this be the year? I think so.