Game Particulars: Indiana (5-14/0-7) vs. Ohio State (14-5/4-4)
Indiana is trying to avoid making history Saturday when it hosts Ohio State at 4 p.m. The Hoosiers enter the game on a 10-game losing streak, the second-longest in school history behind an 11-game slide during the 1943-44 season. That 1944 team was coached by another first-year coach – Harry Good – who was filling in for legendary IU Coach Branch McCracken while he spent three years serving in World War II. After a 42-32 win over Camp Atterbury lifted the Hoosiers to 5-3 entering conference play last season, Good's team proceeded to lose 11 straight before ending the slide with a win against Minnesota. To avoid equaling that 11-game streak, the Hoosiers will have to knock off an Ohio State team that handled them easily 2 ½ weeks ago in Columbus, 77-53. The Buckeyes used an 18-0 first half run to open a 33-10 lead and were never threatened the rest of the way.
IU is coached by Tom Crean, who is in his first year as Indiana's head coach and 10th year overall. Crean owns a 195-110 career mark and led Marquette to the NCAA Tournament five times. Ohio State, meanwhile, is coached by Thad Matta, who is in his 5th year with the Buckeyes and 9th year overall. Matta owns a 119-40 mark at Ohio State and a 221-71 mark overall
The game will be televised by ESPN2 with Dave O'Brien (play-by-play) and Bob Valvano (color commentary) calling the match-up.
Indiana 2008-09 Schedule
Ohio State 2008-09 Schedule
PG- Verdell Jones (6-5, 176, Fr.) – 8.8 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 2.9 apg, 41.0% FG shooting
SG – Devan Dumes (6-2, 195, Jr.) – 13.6 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.4 apg, 36.8% 3 pt. shooting
WG - Nick Williams (6-4, 211, Fr.) – 8.4 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.0 spg, 42.7% FG shooting
PF- Kyle Taber (6-8, 220, Sr.) 4.0 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.0 spg, 47.1% FG shooting
C – Tom Pritchard (6-9, 242, Fr.) – 12.0 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 1.2 apg, 51.9% FG shooting
Ohio State (14-5/4-4 Big Ten)
PG- Jeremie Simmons (6-2, 170, Jr.) – 7.6 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 3.0 apg, 34.6% 3 pt. shooting
SG – William Buford (6-5, 190, Fr.) – 10.7 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 34.7% 3 pt. shooting
WG – Jon Diebler (6-6, 205, So.) – 10.5 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2.5 apg, 40% 3 pt. shooting
SF – Evan Turner (6-7, 205, So.) – 15.9 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 3.0 apg, 2.0 spg, 50.3% FG shooting
PF – Dallas Lauderdale (6-8, 255, So.) – 5.7 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 2.4 bpg, 68.3% FG shooting
Indiana 2008-09 Statistics
Ohio State 2008-09 Statistics
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Will Indiana come out and play with a different level of intensity and energy on the defensive end? –More than anything else, the one thing IU Coach Tom Crean thinks his team has to do this time around against the Buckeyes is step it up on the defensive end. In the first meeting the Buckeyes were 12-of-18 shooting to start the game – including 8-of-9 from behind the 3-point arc – to open an insurmountable 33-10 lead. While the Hoosiers will need to be more efficient and less tentative on offense, it's on the defensive end where the biggest difference has to take place. On Friday, Crean said his team didn't need to take its defense up a step, but "two of three steps" if it's going to give itself a chance to top the Buckeyes.
Can Nick Williams get untracked? - A double-digit scorer in four of IU's first five Big Ten games, Williams has been held to a combined four points on 2-of-11 shooting in the last two contests. Going back to the Penn State game, Williams has gone just 7-of-28 from the field in the last three games, a trio of contests that have all been decided by 10 points or less. The Hoosiers need Williams to get back to where he's giving the team some offensive punch with his mid-range game. Defensively, a lot is going to be asked of Williams against the Buckeyes. If Indiana opts to go with two bigs on the court at the same time Williams will likely be responsible for slowing down Jon Diebler, who scored 17 points in the first half against IU last time around. If the Hoosiers instead opt to go with four guards, Williams will likely draw the assignment of matching up with the versatile Evan Turner. Indiana is going to need a big game from Williams on both ends of the court Saturday.
After hitting his big shot against Northwestern, is Matt Roth ready to become a consistent contributor off the bench? - What a difference a game makes. In the closing minute against Minnesota, Roth passed up a good look at a potential game-tying 3-pointer and Devan Dumes eventually missed a tougher, contested shot in the closing seconds. But on Wednesday against Northwestern Roth drilled a 3-pointer from the corner with 36 seconds remaining that tied the game 75-75. The end result of both games was a narrow defeat, but it was a positive sign to see Roth being aggressive Wednesday, attempting eight shots in 15 minutes off the bench. Roth made 4-of-7 attempts from behind the 3-point arc and turned in a season-high 12, marking the first time he's reached double figures since the Wake Forest game. If the Hoosiers are able to get consistent contributions out of Roth as well as Malik Story – who has also been playing better as of late – it would be a huge lift for Crean's team. After eclipsing the 60-point mark only once in its last eight games, Indiana has now done it in two straight and that's due in large part to some production off the bench.
"When you have really good coaches in this league, the coaches aren't going to overlook Indiana. They don't want to be the first. I know that, I've been down that road before, so they're not going to let their team take it lightly." – Crean
"We made shots early (in the first game against Indiana) and got off to a good start. We've talked to our guys. We think we're playing better, but they're playing better. They're playing at home and they've been in some hard-fought battles there. I think our guys, from where we've been on the road, I think they have a pretty good understanding about what it takes to play on the road and where your mind needs to be." – Ohio State Coach Thad Matta
"It's a tribute to their coaches and their players how well they've played without David Lighty. He is one of the better players in our league." – Crean
"There are no easy games. I think our guys have an appreciation of that. The Big Ten is as good as it gets this year. To think any team in this league can just show up and they're going to win the basketball game, I think our guys understand that now. I hope they do, at least." - Matta
"Diebler shoots the ball with anyone in America. Evan Turner, you could make a case for him throughout the country, to be one of the hardest match-ups. At his size he drives the ball so well, he shoots a phenomenal number of free throws." – Crean
"If you saw your practices you wouldn't be able to walk in there and have any idea what our record is. You certainly wouldn't think that we hadn't won a game in a long time." – Crean
"You never want to go into a game and get sucker-punched because you're not completely ready to go. Going into IU, it's usually a heck of an environment as well." – Matta