Indiana at Ohio State: Buckeyes Look to Start A New Winning Streak Against Hoosiers

When: February 27, 2011 (Sunday) 

Gametime: 4 PM ET/ 3 PM CT

TV: CBS

Ohio State (26-2, 13-2 Big Ten) has, for all intents and purposes, had a stellar season up to this point. The Buckeyes started off the season with 24 straight wins and held the top spot in the AP and USA Today/ Coaches polls for four weeks. They have one of the most consistent and effective offenses in the nation (even with a considerably short bench), and boast one of the best starting lineups in college basketball.

That said, OSU has finally felt some heat in it's last four games; the Buckeyes have gone 2-2 during this stretch, with wins against Michigan State and Illinois and losses on the road to their counterparts in the Big Ten's upper tier, Wisconsin and Purdue. After alternating between wins and losses for the past two weeks, Ohio State looks to start a new winning streak against a reeling Indiana team that is currently riding a five game losing streak.

This appears to be a great opportunity for the Buckeyes to start a new win streak; if you may recall, William Buford, Jared Sullinger, and Jon Diebler led the Buckeyes as they embarrassed IU at Assembly Hall by a score of 85-67. OSU shot a ridiculous 60.5% from the field (68.4% from behind the arc!) and averaged 2.24 points per shot, an absolutely staggering number (OSU has averaged 1.37 PPS for the year, which is already good) in their rout of the Hoosiers. This would mark the start of OSU's 11-0 start in Big Ten play, and would also mark the fourth loss in a six game losing streak for IU, their longest of the season thus far. 

The Hoosiers (12-16, 3-12 Big Ten) raised some eyebrows during a three game stretch in which they beat then-ranked Illinois and Minnesota teams, both by three points. Those wins were sandwiched around a one-point loss at Michigan State that went to overtime. Many analysts and fans began to openly call this a sign that IU was finally begin to turn the corner in the Tom Crean Era. As of right now, those people may have spoke too soon.

Indiana, for the last five games, has regressed to its hapless self. The most blaring losses during the current streak are home losses to fellow cellar-dwellers Northwestern and Iowa, meaning that IU was swept by both teams. The Hoosiers, who essentially are only playing for pride and bubble-busting now, would only benefit from a road win against the best team in the Big Ten. That said, most signs point to an easy day for Ohio State.

Stat Breakdown

 

OSU

OSU Opp.

IU

IU Opp.

Pace (# of Possessions)

66.1

Points Per Minute

1.93

1.50

1.78

1.66

Points Per Shot (PPS)

1.37

1.13

1.32

1.35

2-PT FG%

53.7%

47.6%

51.6%

48.8%

3-PT FG%

39.9%

34.1%

36.3%

35.7%

FT%

70.4%

N/A

72.2%

N/A

True Shooting%

68.0%

51.4%

56.7%

54.4%

 

 

 

 

 

Assists Per Game

16.0

12.1

12.8

11.6

Steals Per Game

7.7

4.2

6.6

6.7

TOV Per Game

10.5

16.0

13.2

13.3

Ball Control Index (BCI)

(Assists + Steals/ TOVs)

2.26

1.02

1.50

1.38

 

 

 

 

 

Total Rebs Per Game

34.2

26.7

33.6

28.8

Offensive Rebs Per Game

10.1

7.4

9.2

8.7

The Buckeyes and Hoosiers play a near-identical pace, but it is noticeable that OSU holds at least a slight advantage in almost every offensive category, which would be a good reason to point out the difference in win-loss records. The biggest numbers are Ohio State's ridiculous advantages in true shooting percentage, assists per game, and BCI, which help paint the picture of the Buckeye offense (great ball movement that results in lots of open jumpers and easy layups).

Outside of OSU's offensive excellence, it can only be noted that the Hoosiers lost season has resulted in little difference between the average numbers of IU and their opponents.

     Ken Pomeroy Stats 

OSU Offense vs IU Defense Ranks

 

OSU Offense

IU Defense

Advantage

Efficiency

2

107

OSU

Effective FG%

5

149

OSU

Turnover %

5

150

OSU

Off. Reb. %

74

95

OSU

FTA/FGA

213

336

OSU

IU Offense vs OSU Defense Ranks

 

IU Offense

OSU Defense

Advantage

Efficiency

61

10

OSU

Effective FG%

43

150

IU

Turnover %

174

9

OSU

Off. Reb %

142

32

OSU

FTA/FGA

189

1

OSU

I'm having issues here with centering the table. Hopefully I'll figure this out in the near future.

Ohio State's offense ranks in KenPom's top ten in three categories. Their defense also ranks in the top ten in three categories, including Number 1 in defensive FTA/FGA. Wow, just.... wow.

Despite having essentially only two role players off the bench, Ohio State makes up for their lack of depth with some of the most offensively efficient players in the country; of their seven main players, David Lighty has the lowest field goal percentage.... at 45.6%. Likewise, the Buckeyes have four players shooting 38% or better from 3-point range, including two 40% plus behind-the-arc shooters in Will Buford (44.1%) and Big Ten 3-point king Jon Diebler (47.8%)

Where we have the Buckeye's dominance of the KenPom algorithms, we also have the complete opposite of the spectrum with Indiana. With offensive and defensive ranks combined, IU only has one category (Effective FG%) in the top 50, and only three categories in the top 100. Such disparity such be obvious when you compare the top team in the Big Ten to the team tied for last in conference play.

Despite good seasons from the likes of Christian Watford, Verdell Jones, and Jordan Hulls (two of which are sophomores, so they've got that going for them), the Hoosiers have simply been too inconsistent in many factors to get more W's. 

Final Verdict

Whether you're into big numbers or not, it doesn't take stats to know what the outcome of tomorrow's game should be. In the first meeting of the season, as noted earlier, the Buckeyes absolutely crushed Indiana with one of the best offensive performances of the year as a team; even after missing their final five field goal attempts over the final eight minutes of the game, they still ended with 60% shooting and an 18 point win for the night.

Chances are good that, even at home, OSU won't be able to pull off the shooting clinic they put on in Bloomington in December, but that doesn't change the predicted outcome. Kenpom predicts an 80-61 win for OSU, and that's what I will go with too. Barring a legendary shooting night from the Hoosiers and a poor offensive night for the Buckeyes, OSU should have a nice home tune-up before their final two games: a road date with sneaky Penn State, and the home finale/ revenge re-match against the first team to be OSU this season in Wisconsin. 

It's down to the home stretch of the regular season. Time to end this and gear up for March.

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