Fresh off an incredibly impressive win over No. 13 Maryland on Thursday night, Indiana travels to Columbus to play Ohio State on Sunday afternoon. It's the second meeting between the two teams, with the No. 23 Hoosiers taking the first game at Assembly Hall earlier this month.
It figures to be a tough matchup for Indiana. Ohio State has always been tough to beat at home, the Hoosiers have already beaten the Buckeyes once, and they are coming off an emotional win late Thursday night. Can IU refocus in time for the 1:30 p.m. tip? That's the big question.
Ohio State will likely start the game a little bit smaller than it did the first time against Indiana. Thad Matta inserted both Jae'sean Tate and Anthony Lee into the starting lineup for a road game against Northwestern. Tate, a 6-foot-4 freshman, was Ohio State's leading scorer in the first meeting with the Hoosiers. Lee, a one-time IU transfer target from Temple, had eight points against Northwestern.
For the Hoosiers to win, they'll have to do a good job containing freshman star D'Angelo Russell, like they did the first time. Russell had 13 points on 3-of-15 shooting at Assembly Hall, and he really struggled to get anything going against Yogi Ferrell in the second half. Ever since that game, though, Russell has been impossible to defend.
Russell has scored 21, 27 and 33 points in his last three games, and he's now averaging better than 22 points per game in conference play. Russell had 27 points and 14 rebounds in a loss to Iowa last Saturday, and he exploded for 33 points on 12-of-17 shooting, seven rebounds and six assists against Northwestern on Thursday.
“He’s had a great rhythm and they put a lot of shooters on the court," Indiana coach Tom Crean said Saturday. "He’s doing an excellent job and moving the ball and being in a rhythm off the ball screen."
Indiana has won four consecutive games and is currently tied for first place in the Big Ten at 5-1 in league play. Ohio State sits at 4-3, so Sunday's game is one it would really like to get. The Buckeyes are looking to win back-to-back games for only the second time in Big Ten play.