Those IU fans who didn't watch the game and saw only the final score probably shrugged their shoulders. After all, this was the toughest game on IU's schedule, and a 17 point loss isn't that far beyond the 12 or 13 point predictions of Vegas or Pomeroy. The reality, of course, is that the poor play that has plagued the Hoosiers continued, especially in the first half. IU trailed by 21 at halftime, and while IU played much better in the second half, that is diminished by the reality that IU never got closer than 16 points for the rest of the way. Here is the box score, in all its ugliness.
Again, the story of this game was told in the first half. IU couldn't buy a basket, making 6-22 from the field, 1-6 from three point range, and turning the ball over 12 times. IU has only 3 offensive rebounds compared to 13 defensive rebounds for Ohio State. The Buckeyes offense was quite solid in the first half, shooting nearly 50 percent and making 5-9 three pointers, but the ineptitude of IU's offense, which produced only 14 first half points, was the real story of that half. IU once again brought out the zone defense. As it did against Minnesota, it produced some open looks, but man-to-man was not working any better for the Hoosiers. Lenzelle Smith, Jr., a starter who usually scores little for OSU, torched the Hoosiers for 28 points. Smith scored 12 against IU in Bloomington, and the two IU games this season are the only double digit scoring games in the sophomore's career.
Again, IU played much better in the second half, shooting 54 percent from the field, making 6-15 three pointers, and outscoring the Buckeyes by 4. Again, however, the defense was horrid, OSU was in a great position to coast, and IU never actually threatened. Cody Zeller played pretty well, scoring 16 points on 7-9 shooting, Will Sheehey looked fine again...but really, that's it. Cliche alert ahead, but this team is at a crossroads. This team hasn't actually accomplished anything yet, and I see no game ahead on the schedule that can't be lost. This is the point in the last three seasons at which things really began to go south, and I hope we are not seeing a repeat of that. As I said before the Ohio State game, the upcoming week is very important. First, the Hoosiers head to Nebraska on Wednesday night. The Cornhuskers' last three games are a five point road loss at Illinois, a 12-point home win at home against Penn State, and a five point loss at Wisconsin. This team is capable of stomping IU if the performance doesn't improve.