Ohio State Buckeyes
Current record: 16-7
Big Ten record: 7-3
Current RPI: 31
Current Sagarin: 30
2006-07 record: 30-3, 15-1 (NCAA runner-up)
2006-07 RPI: 1
2006-07 Sagarin: 2
Series: IU leads 99-72
Last IU win: 1/7/06 (81-79 in Bloomington)
Last Ohio State win: 1/2/07 (74-67 in Columbus)
Last IU win in Columbus: 1/20/04 (69-61)
TV: 1 pm Sunday, CBS
While Ohio State is flying beneath the radar, escaping the attention given to the top four teams in the standings (IU, Purdue, Wisconsin, and Michigan State), the Buckeyes still have the opportunity to make a run in the Big Ten and should qualify for the NCAA Tournament. While IU already is finished with Iowa, Illinois, and Michigan, this is the Hoosiers' first look at the Buckeyes. This game is also IU's last good chance to win a quality road game. After this game, IU has only three road games remaining: a likely loss at MSU and likely wins at Penn State and Northwestern. A win tomorrow would make a 16-2 conference record a realistic possibility.
The Buckeyes play slowly (64.8 possessions per game) and, like Illinois, distinguish themselves with their field goal defense. They allow 42.9 % from two point range (#22) and 30.2 percent from three (#17). Offensively, other than two point field goal percentage (#58), OSU really doesn't distinguish itself. The Buckeyes are really bad at getting to the line and at shooting three pointers, but basically are middling at everything else. OSU's only home loss was in the Big Ten/ACC challenge to North Carolina. The Buckeyes, like most teams that have had success against IU. Of the nine Buckeyes who play meaningful minutes, four are 6-8 or taller and all but two are 6-5 or taller.
Senior guard Jamar Butler is the key to OSU's offense. He shoots 41 percent from three point range and averages 14.8 points per game. Othello Hunter averages only 9.5 points per game but he shoots 57 percent from the field. Hunter and Kosta Koufos (OSU's only other double digit scorers) are basically tied with about 6.7 rebounds per game.
Pomeroy gives Ohio State about a 55 percent chance of winning. IU must be drained after the effort Thursday night. This feels like a letdown game, and if IU wins, in whatever manner, we should feel good about it.