It is the most wonderful time of the year folks! The Big Ten tournament is in clear view and the NCAA Tournament is not far off in the distance. This evening, two teams will finalize their regular season marks in the Big Ten. With the conference tournament beginning on Wednesday, seeding is what should be on the top of every team’s agenda.
For Indiana, their NCAA Tournament dreams may no longer be alive, but their March aspirations are not completely dead. Depending on how they perform over the next week, they could score an NIT invite. If the season were to end today, the Hoosiers would sit in seventh, giving them a possible tough draw in the first round of the Big Ten tournament. A win tonight could push them past Penn State in their quest for sixth.
They will face a tough match-up with the Ohio State Buckeyes coming to Bloomington. The Buckeyes have faced some rocky trails over the last few weeks, losing their grip on the Big Ten regular season title after losing two consecutive games. However, they are still second in the conference standings. Regardless of how this game turns out, Ohio State will be one of the four teams to be afforded the double bye. Still, a win this evening gives them some more momentum going into next week.
Game of the Day
- Time/TV: 8:00 PM ET - FS1
- KenPom Spread: Ohio State (-3)
As referenced above, the Buckeyes have had a tough run over the last two weeks or so. They dropped back to back games to Penn State and rival Michigan. Not only that, neither game was relatively close in the grand scheme of things. The Nittany Lions beat the Buckeyes by 23 points and Michigan won by 12. Ohio State shot a dismal 38 percent from the field in the Penn State game along with only a 13 percent clip from three. Keita Bates-Diop scored just 10 points on four of 11 shooting. It was clear that the Buckeyes were out of touch in that contest.
Then, against rival Michigan, they shot the ball more efficiently, shooting 41 percent from the field and 45 percent from three. However, they turned the ball over 14 times on the road in a hostile environment. That alone was the difference in that match-up. Never the less, the Buckeyes got back on track this week, slamming Rutgers 79-52.
After winning four games in a row, Indiana was silenced by Nebraska on Tuesday. That was a game that Indiana had to have to even be considered for postseason play. Their hopes are not completely dashed, but with a 9-8 conference mark, it does not look promising. The Hoosiers were incredibly sloppy against Nebraska as well, turning the ball over a ghastly 19 times. If they come out that undisciplined against Ohio State, the game may get ugly very quickly.
Indiana is just for too reliant on Juwan Morgan and Robert Johnson. They almost require that they have solid performances in order for them to win. The lack of a supporting cast is really detrimental to the Hoosiers overall success.
Ohio State controlled their first contest with the Hoosiers, winning 71-56. Robert Johnson was held to just two points on one of six shooting. Since Johnson played poorly, the Hoosiers suffered as a whole. However, Juwan Morgan was the lone starter to score in double figures in that game.
While the Buckeyes have been a bit Topsy-Turvy over the past few weeks, they are clearly a better team overall. Given how lackadaisical Indiana has been lately, there is just not enough there for me to trust them. Even if the game is on their home court, I still like the Buckeyes to take care of business in their final game before the Big Ten tournament.
- Pick Against the Spread: Ohio State