Game Info / How to Watch
Who? Indiana Hoosiers (17-14 (8-12), #42 KenPom) vs Ohio State Buckeyes (18-14 (8-12), #45 KenPom)
When? Thursday, 3/13/19 12:30 P.M., United Center, Chicago
Vegas? Over/Under 129.5, Indiana -2
KenPom? Indiana by 1, 65-64 , 52% chance of Hoosier Victory
In a B1G tournament that has seen a team with only six scholarship players win a game plus Illinois and Northwestern going into OT in Chicago, the drama has certainly been March-worthy, and the tournament’s 3rd game looks to be no different.
Not too long ago, on February 16th the absolute brakes were beaten off an Indiana team that looked to have given up. Minnesota and Jordan Murphy dominated IU in the barn beating them by 21 and putting the Hoosiers at 13-12 and 4-10 in conference.
But then something changed with the Cream and Crimson.
Despite losing the next two against Purdue and Iowa, IU certainly showed some fight, and finally got their breakthrough against Wisconsin in 2OT on February 26th. While the win was certainly nice, there was reason to be skeptical as Michigan St. was coming to town that Saturday with a vengeance.
But the skeptics were wrong.
After hanging with the Spartans all afternoon, IU was on top with just a few seconds remaining Freshman Rob Phinisee put the clamps down on the B1G player of the year to get the season sweep against Sparty.
IU now sat at 15-14 with two games remaining (@ Illinois, vs Rutger) and, upon further inspection, a team gunning for an at-large NCAA bid.
While 15-14 was by no means sexy, but wins over Michigan St. (twice!!!), Wisconsin, Marquette, and Louisville and no Q3/Q4 losses, IU became the bubble team to watch towards the end of the regular season. Many said that if this team hit 18 wins, they would be in similar position to an Oklahoma that made the tournament with a similar record last season.
Since that Sparty sweep IU has certainly taken care of business, defeating the Illini and Scarlet Knights by nearly 20 points EACH.
That brings us to today.
IU is seeing a level of confidence from it’s team that has been absent all season in a game that many bracketologists are dubbing a play-in game for both teams.
Ohio State has been the opposite of Indiana at the moment.
The Buckeyes were a prime lock not too long ago, but losing six of their last eight have put OSU squarely on the bubble right next to Indiana and currently have a record of 18-13.
The biggest factor that has led to OSU’s recent mishaps has been the absence of absolute unit Kaleb Wesson, who had been serving a suspension the past three games for unspecified violations of department policy, whatever that means. The Buckeyes haven’t won since Wesson’s suspension and have struggled mightily until an OT loss against Wisconsin on Ohio State’s Senior day on Sunday.
However, the Buckeyes will have their big man return Thursday for the first time since February 26th.
But what does Wesson’s return mean? Let’s look at the numbers.
Wesson’s return is crucial as he’s been Ohio State’s leading scorer and rebounder before the suspension. He also caused major headaches for the Hoosiers as his 270-pound frame was too much to handle at times in the post as OSU beat IU 55-52 back on February 10.
Ohio State certainly has weapons besides Kaleb as his brother Andre and teammates CJ Jackson and Musa Jallow have become solid playmakers. Andre was named Kenpom’s MVP of the first IU-OSU game after going an effective 6-7 from 2-point land.
As a team, the Buckeye’s stack up similarly to the Hoosiers with reliance on their defensive skills rather than their offensive ones.
Besides that, no numbers are really jumping off the page for me. Now let’s break down the three things to watch for.
Three things to watch for:
- Double D’s - I feel like everytime I do a preview for this sight I’m always stressing the importance of Devonte Green and De’Ron Davis for this team. I’ll start with De’Ron first. I’m looking for him to be a quick call off the bench as his size is the only one comparable to Kaleb Wesson’s (Davis-255 vs Wesson-270) so I’m looking for De’Ron to be crucial in the post. As for Devonte, the good Devonte is needed now more than ever, with the encouraging note that he’s been the good Devonte recently, putting up double figures in the past three games plus going 6-13 from three.
- No daggers pls - The past two times these teams have faced off CJ Jackson has made some incredibly important three pointers to have the Buckeyes edge out the Hoosiers. If this game is close towards the end, that will be certainly something to watch for.
- Start early, start often - What’s elevated IU over these past few games is the versatility in which they are able to score. Long gone are the days where you hope Juwan can work his magic in the post and avoid a double team. Now we see not only that, but Romeo get more touches and attacking the rim, De’Ron having a more physical post presence compared to Juwan’s technical approach, Devonte and Al Durham being able to stretch the floor, all that makes for a dangerous Indiana team. Establishing that early and avoiding the meme below will make for an incredible day for the Cream and Crimson.
Look, I am happy as anyone that Indiana has been playing as good as anyone as of late. They have looked the part of a team that’s ready for the big dance. But, after a season I’ve seen so far, I’m scared to put my faith in this game. I’m terrified to trust again after having my heart shattered so many times this season.
Life is short.
Hoosiers by a dozen.