Game Particulars: Indiana (9-3/0-0) vs. Ohio State (11-2/0-0)
Indiana will be put to the test in its Big Ten opener as it faces No. 6 Ohio State at 8 p.m. at Value City Arena in Columbus. The Big Ten preseason favorite, Ohio State's only two setbacks have come on the road to top-10 foes North Carolina (98-89, Nov. 29) and Florida (86-60, Dec. 23). The Buckeyes are a perfect 9-0 on their home floor this season, with the latest victory coming Saturday against Coppin State.
IU is coached by Kelvin Sampson, who is in his first year as Indiana's head coach and owns an 9-3 record in Bloomington and a 464-260 career mark in 23-plus seasons. Ohio State, meanwhile, is coached by Thad Matta, who in his third year at the helm of the Buckeye program. Matta owns a 67-20 record in Columbus and a 159-51 overall in six-plus seasons as a head coach.
The game will be televised by ESPN, with Brent Musburger (play-by-play), Steve Lavin (color commentary) and Erin Andrews (sideline reporter) calling the match-up.
Indiana 2006-07 Schedule
Ohio State 2006-07 Schedule
Indiana (9-3/0-0 Big Ten)
PG- Earl Calloway (6-3, 173, Sr.) – 10.3 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 3.5 apg, 52.4% FG shooting
SG-Armon Bassett (6-1, 176, Fr.) – 8.0 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 2.8 apg, 34.2% 3 pt. shooting
WG – Rod Wilmont (6-4, 205, Sr.) – 10.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 1.3 spg, 37.1% 3 pt. shooting
SF – Lance Stemler (6-8, 210, Jr.) – 9.5 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 41.8% 3 pt. shooting
PF – D.J. White (6-9, 251, Jr.) – 13.3 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 2.7 bpg, 52% FG shooting
Ohio State (11-2/0-0 Big Ten)
PG- Mike Conley (6-1, 180, Fr.) – 9.5 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 6.2 apg, 2.6 spg, 52.3% FG shooting
SG –Jamar Butler (6-2, 205, Jr.) – 7.6 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 4.3 apg, 39.4% 3 pt. shooting
WG- Ron Lewis (6-4, 200, Sr.) – 13.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 37.9% 3 pt. shooting
SF – Ivan Harris (6-7, 220, Sr.) – 10.7 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 45.9% 3 pt. shooting
C – Greg Oden (7-0, 280, Fr.) – 14.5 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 3.7 bpg, 70.8% FG shooting
Indiana 2006-07 Statistics
Ohio State 2006-07 Statistics
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Can Earl Calloway out-shine his younger counterpart? – There's plenty of attention on the D.J. White vs. Greg Oden match-up in the paint, but it might wind up being the Earl Calloway vs. Mike Conley match-up that has a bigger impact on the game's outcome. For Indiana to have a chance to beat the Buckeyes in Columbus, Calloway is going to need to win this battle. The Buckeyes like to push the pace, which is a style that fits Calloway well. The Hoosier senior is at his best when he's getting the ball and attacking in transition. Those sort of scoring opportunities will be important for Indiana, which will find halfcourt scoring chances hard to come by with Greg Oden controlling the lane. Calloway needs to have the same mindset offensively that he did against IUPUI when he was getting to the rim, getting to the free-throw line, and getting the Jaguar players in foul trouble.
Who wins the battle of the benches? - Indiana has gotten plenty of point production out of its bench this season. IU's reserves have outscored its opponents in nine of 12 games, and owns a 296-129 edge in scoring overall. But the Hoosier bench might be shorter tonight, depending on the availability of A.J. Ratliff. Ratliff injured his left wrist in Saturday's win over Ball State, and he's questionable for tonight's game. If he can't go, expect freshman Armon Bassett to replace him in the starting lineup. Bassett has scored in double figures in three out of IU's last four games, and has been a spark off the bench. Without him on the bench, the only semi-reliable scoring option off IU's bench will be Joey Shaw, and he played only nine minutes in the win over Ball State. Ohio State, meanwhile, has gotten even more production off its bench. The Buckeye reserves have outscored their opponents in all but one game and 377-195 overall. Leading the way is the league's best sixth man, freshman Daequan Cook. The McDonald's All-American hasn't started a game this season, but leads the Buckeyes in scoring (15.9), ranks third in rebounding (5.4) and is shooting 51 percent from behind the 3-point arc. He's joined by junior Othello Hunter (7.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 19.3 mpg), freshman David Lighty (6.2 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 22.0 mpg) and senior Matt Terwilliger (3.6 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 15.0 mpg) to give Coach Thad Matta plenty of options waiting in reserve.
Can D.J. White figure out a way to score around the basket? The good news for D.J. White is that for the first time this season, he won't be faced with constant double teams tonight. The bad news is the reason behind that is Greg Oden. The Buckeyes' freshman center has been dominant in his first half dozen games, averaging 9.3 rebounds and nearly four blocks per game. He'll provide a huge test for White, who will be giving up three inches and 30 pounds to the Lawrence North graduate. Indiana would like to go to White and potentially get Oden in early foul trouble, but the Buckeye center isn't prone to picky up cheap fouls on the defensive end. Somehow, though, White needs to provide some point production inside to balance IU's perimeter attack. If the Hoosiers have to settle for an evening stationed behind the 3-point arc, it's going to be an evening to forget.
What will Rod Wilmont give Indiana on the defensive end? - Wilmont is best known for his ability – and willingness – to launch 3-pointers, but he'll be critical to the Hoosiers' success on the defensive end. If Ratliff is unable to go, Wilmont will be matched up with either Ron Lewis or Daequan Cook when they are on the floor. Cook leads the Buckeyes in scoring at 15.9, while Lewis is right behind him at 13.6 per contest. Both are dangerous from behind the 3-point arc (Cook 51%, Lewis 37.9%) and each has the ability to carry the team offensively. Wilmont will likely log big minutes tonight, and it will be up to him to make sure the OSU duo is held in check.
DID YOU KNOW…
In its last six games, Indiana has turned the ball over only 51 times, or 8.5/game. That's a marked improvement from the start of the year, when IU turned it over 102 times in its first six games, or 17 times/game…in both of Ohio State's losses, they've been out-rebounded badly. North Carolina out-boarded the Buckeyes 41-27, which Florida owned a 43-25 edge on the glass. For the season, Ohio State has a +3.3 rebounding margin, while Indiana is +6.5…Ohio State leads the Big Ten in scoring offense (81.9) and is second in scoring margin (+18.5). Indiana, meanwhile, is fifth in the league in scoring (72.6) and fifth in scoring margin (+14.2)…neither team has a player averaging 30 minutes/game. D.J. White leads IU at 29.5 minutes/game, while Jamar Butler's 29.2 minutes leads the Buckeyes. A year ago Indiana had two players average at least 30 minutes/game – Marshall Strickland (34.7) and Robert Vaden (34.4)…Ohio State tops the Big Ten in field goal percentage (50.8 percent), while Indiana field goal percentage defense (38.2%) is second in the conference.
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