With each game this season we'll put the spotlight on an Indiana player that we believe is someone to keep an eye on for that particular game.
Will Sheehey is coming off a career-high 30-point performance Thursday against Iowa. The 6-7 senior forward hit 13-of-20 shots from the field and was Indiana's inspirational leader in the win over the Hawkeyes. I asked Tom Crean in the postgame conference if he felt like Sheehey was beginning to have more of a sense of urgency considering IU now has just two regular season home games remaining in Assembly Hall. He said if he answered yes to that question it would infer that Sheehey doesn't play hard in every game and that certainly has not been the case. "I would say he's playing like the Will Sheehey that everybody has come to know, love and respect over the past couple of years,'' Crean said. "We need his leadership. We need his courage. We need Will to be Will and everybody in here that covers us knows what that means and that's exactly what he's doing.''
The big question for Sheehey beginning today against Ohio State will be how will he bounce back from his big game? In his Indiana career that now has him ranked 44th all-time in scoring with 1,058 points (he passed Jay Edwards on the all-time list last game) Sheehey has only scored 20 points or more four times. He did it once as a sophomore against Butler when he scored 21. He did it once last season, too when he scored 22 against Purdue. His other time was earlier this season with a 22-point performance against Notre Dame at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. In the past, his bounce back games have been a mixed bag. He followed the Butler game with an 8-point effort against North Carolina State, and after his big game against Purdue he scored two against Michigan State. After scoring 22 against Notre Dame this year, he had 14 against Nicholls State. Of late, it seems as if the 3-point shot has fueled some of Sheehey's better player. He still is shooting just 29 percent from 3-point range this season but over the last six games he is right at 40 percent. In fact, Sheehey has made at least one 3-point shot in each of the last six games.
Sheehey is still looking for his first double-figure scoring game of his career against Ohio State. This is the sixth time he has faced the Buckeyes. In the first five meetings, Sheehey has scored a total of 20 points. Last season he scored a total of seven points against the Buckeyes in two games. That's obviously a trend that needs to end today if the Hoosiers have a chance to be successful against Ohio State.
Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch