Indiana comes into Saturday's game at Ohio State with an 11-2 record. Ohio State, with a record of 7-5, stumbles into the game fresh off a loss at the hands of Michigan State. But the Buckeye faithful have several reasons to believe their team can win on Saturday.
First of all, the Buckeyes played one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the country. Anything the Hoosiers throw at them, they've seen before. Ohio State played No. 1 Duke, No. 4 Alabama, No. 5 Pittsburgh, and No. 25 Louisville before going into the Breslin Center to face No. 20 Michigan State last Thursday. This team is battle-tested and will not be intimidated by Indiana. The Hoosiers struggled against similarly battle-tested Temple and Kentucky.
Playing on the road has been no cakewalk for the Hoosiers this year either. Indiana lost to Temple on the road and Kentucky at Freedom Hall, which was not a road game but still a loud, excited environment. Even when playing at Ball State, Indiana could not pull away from the Cardinals until Bracey Wright went on a tear, taking the game over single-handedly.
The Hoosiers will need to step up their intensity all game and cannot ease up on the Buckeyes if they get a lead, or Ohio State will make them pay.
Jim O'Brien's squad is led by solid guard play. Brent Darby and Sean Connolly will make the Indiana guards work on defense. Darby leads the team in scoring with an average of 18.3 points per game. He is a quick player who can penetrate inside, creating shots for his teammates. Darby and Connolly both have outstanding range, so Indiana's perimeter defenders will need to play tight defense. Shot blockers George Leach and Jeff Newton could play as big of a role defensively as offensively as they will need to help out when Ohio State's guards get past their defenders. Leach and Newton have done an excellent job all year playing help defense.
Indiana should have the advantage inside. Zach Williams can score inside but gives up three inches to Newton. Newton loves to post up his man and then shoot turn-around jumpers off the glass, and he should have several good looks with his height advantage. Radinovic likes to bang inside with his 7-foot frame but should have a tough time scoring against one of the Big Ten's best shot-blockers in George Leach.
Ohio State has a similar roster to Indiana. They have a multitude of guards with few big men inside to back up their starters, at least few big men Coach O'Brien feels comfortable with.
Finally, Indiana needs to be wary of the Buckeyes because it is a conference game and winning on the road in the Big Ten is never easy.
Previewing Ohio State
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