Indiana Hoosiers at Ohio State Buckeyes, game 1 (preview).

Ohio State Buckeyes
Current record: 10-4 (0-2)
Current RPI: 95
Current Sagarin: 57
Current Pomeroy: 27
2008-09 record: 22-11 (10-8), lost to Siena in first round of NCAA Tournament
2008-09 RPI: 32
2008-09 Sagarin: 28
2008-09 Pomeroy:37
Series: IU leads 101-73
Last Ohio State win:
Last IU win: 2/26/2008 (72-69 in Bloomington)
Last IU win in Columbus: 2/10/2008 (59-53)
TV: 8:30, Big Ten Network
Blogs: Buckeye Battle Cry, Eleven Warriors (note: BBC is now SB Nation's Ohio State blog)

The Hoosiers play a true road game for the first time this season when they play the Ohio State Buckeyes tonight. in Columbus  Indiana has gone 1-3 in the four games played away from Assembly Hall this season (losses to Mississippi, George Mason, and Boston U. in Puerto Rico and a win over Pittsburgh at Madison Square Garden).  The Buckeyes began the season with high expectations, but have gone only 3-3 since star Evan Turner broke bones in his back during a December 5 win over Eastern Michigan.  OSU already is 0-2 in the Big Ten, with road losses to Wisconsin and Michigan, but is 9-0 at home this season.  Of course, as the Headlines post from earlier today makes clear, Evan Turner may play tonight, even though he was supposed to miss eight weeks because of his injury.  Of course, while a win will be a tall order for IU in any event, Turner's presence would make a huge difference.
Turner, a 6-7 junior wing, is one of the best players in the country and is a matchup nightmare.  He was averaging 18.5 points per game, 11.4 rebounds per game and shooting 60 percent from the field before his injury.  In his absence, guards Jon Diebler, David Lighty, and William Buford have picked up the slack.  Diebler is 6-6 and Buford and Lighty are 6-5, so even without Turner in the Buckeye lineup, IU's smaller guards, namely Jordan Hulls and Devan Dumes, may struggle a bit in this game.  The Buckeyes are a perimeter-oriented team, and are in the top 50 in three point attempts as a percentage of field goal attempts and in the percentage of points scored from three pointers.  Still, unlike Michigan, OSU has some muscle in the middle in the form of Dallas Lauderdale

The Buckeyes play a relatively slow-paced 67 possession-per-game pace and their best tempo free numbers are on the offensive side.  Ohio State ranks in the top 40 in effective field goal percentage (#5), turnover percentage (#35), three point shooting (#34), two point shooting (#4), block percentage (#10), and steal percentage (#34).  Oddly, despite their perimeter orientation and excellent field goal shooting, the Buckeyes shoot only 65 percent from the line.  Defensively, the Buckeyes are fine.  They force turnovers (23 percent, #62), block shots (7.1 per game, #15), and their opponents don't shoot well from inside the arc (although 33 percent from three point range). 

How did the Buckeyes lose to Michigan, a team that IU defeated a week ago?  Well, essentially the Buckeyes shot like crap and Michigan shot the lights out.  For IU to have any chance tonight, the Hoosiers must stop OSU's perimeter scorers.  The Buckeyes have shot at or below 30 percent from three point range in all of their losses this season.  This strikes me as a tall order and as a game where IU will miss Maurice Creek's size and shooting ability.  I always hope for a win, but tonight, win or lose, it will be important to see how the still-young Hoosiers respond to their first truly hostile crowd of the season.  This team still has plausibly winnable road trips to Michigan, Penn State, Northwestern, and Iowa, so learning to play on the road is important regardless of tonight's outcome. 
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