Indiana vs. Ohio State Gameday

Will he or won't he? It's still unclear if 2009 Big Ten MVP Evan Turner will play tonight in a game Ohio State (10-4/0-2) desperately needs after opening conference play with two straight losses. Indiana (7-6/1-0) looks to spring another upset as it continues to adjust to playing without leading scorer Maurice Creek…

Game Particulars: Indiana (7-6/1-0) at Ohio State (10-4/0-2)
Indiana is unsure whether or not it will have to deal with 2009 Big Ten Player of the Year Evan Turner Wednesday night, but Tom Crean's team knows it faces a tough test either way against the Buckeyes. Ohio State enters the contest in desperate need of a win following a pair of road losses last week - 65-43 loss at Wisconsin and 74-65 at Michigan. Ohio State had been ranked as high as No. 15 this season, but those setbacks dropped them out of the poll. Now, they're trying to avoid a loss to Indiana that would all but knock them out of the Big Ten title chase three games into the conference season.

IU is coached by Tom Crean, who is in his second year as Indiana's head coach and 11th year overall. Crean owns a 203-127 career mark and led Marquette to the NCAA Tournament five times. Ohio State, meanwhile, is coached by Thad Matta, who is in his sixth season at Ohio State and in his 10th year as a head coach overalll. Matta owns a 137-50 mark at Ohio State, and a 239-81 record overall.

The game will be televised by the Big Ten Network with Wayne Larrivee (play-by-play), Jay Bilas (Shon Morris) and Charissa Thompson (sideline reporter) calling the match-up.

Indiana 2009-10 Schedule

Ohio State 2009-10 Schedule

PROBABLE STARTERS
Indiana (7-6/1-0)
PG- Jeremiah Rivers (6-5, 214, Jr.) – 7.2 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 4.5 apg, 53.4% FT shooting
SG- Jordan Hulls (6-0, 172, Fr.) – 4.8 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 1.9 apg, 41.2% 3 pt. shooting
WG – Verdell Jones (6-5, 183, So.) – 12.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 3.3 apg, 41.7% FG shooting
SF – Christian Watford (6-9, 220, Fr.) – 12.9 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 0.8 bpg, 42.2% FG shooting
PF – Tom Pritchard (6-9, 248, So.) – 5.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 0.7 bpg, 63% FG shooting

Ohio State (10-4/0-2)
PG – P.J. Hill (6-1, 170, Sr.) – 5.1 ppg, 1.7 rpg, 1.7 apg, 40.7% 3 pt. shooting
SG – William Buford (6-5, 200, So.) – 12.9 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 3.3 apg, 35.2% 3 pt. shooting
WG – Jon Diebler (6-6, 210, Jr.) – 14.1 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 2.0 apg, 46.6% 3 pt. shooting
WF – David Lighty (6-5, 225, Jr.) – 14.0 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 3.2 apg, 33.3% 3 pt. shooting
PF- Dallas Lauderdale (6-8, 260, Jr.) - 7.8 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 3.0 bpg, 73.2% FG shooting

Indiana 2009-10 Statistics

Ohio State 2009-10 Statistics

WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Will Evan Turner play and if he does, how much will he play? – Evan Turner was expected to miss eight weeks after he broke two bones in his lower back on a dunk attempt against Eastern Michigan Dec. 5, but he appears poised to return to the court less than five weeks after the injury. Turner was expected to be back at practice Tuesday, and if all went well he might make his return against Indiana. If that does happen, though, it's a safe bet that he won't be anywhere near the 31.6 minutes/game he was averaging before the injury. Turner has been away from practice for more than a month, so it's unlikely he'd see more than 15-20 minutes against the Hoosiers if he does in fact suit up. Turner is one of the more difficult match-ups in the country thanks to his ability to handle the ball, rebound, score and be the point man on Ohio State' fullcourt press, so his return would give Ohio State a huge lift. Indiana might have prepared for him to play this week, but rest assured that the IU staff would prefer to see Turner waiting one more game before he returns to action.

Who does Indiana decide to put Jeremiah Rivers on? - It's clear that Jeremiah Rivers is Indiana's premier defender, someone capable to matching up with point guards, wings and even small forwards. What isn't clear, though, is who Crean will decide to put Rivers on when his team goes man-to-man Wednesday night. The logical choice would probably be junior David Lighty, a 6-6, 225-pound wing that has taken on a role similar to Turner's since he was hurt and is averaging 17 points and six rebounds in the last six games. But Indiana also has to worry about 6'6" Jon Diebler, who leads the Big Ten with 48 3-pointers and ranks second with a 46.6 percent success rate from deep. In Ohio State's two wins over Indiana a year ago, Diebler averaged 19.0 points and made 9-of-14 3-pointers. There's also Will Buford, a 6'5" wing who is coming off a 16-point, 13-rebound effort at Michigan and has scored in double figures in seven straight contests. Assuming Turner doesn't start, the best bet is that Rivers draws Lighty early on, with the possibility of switching to someone else – particularly Diebler – if he gets hot.

Can Indiana figure out a way to get Ohio State in some foul trouble and get to their bench? - If there's one thing that Ohio State is lacking, it's quality depth off its bench. Since Turner went down, OSU's starting five has been solid and Matta has gotten solid contributions from Jeremie Simmons as a sixth man, but that's about all he's been able to turn to for consistent production. Kyle Madsen has given center Dallas Lauderdale some brief spells in the post, but that's as deep as Ohio State goes. Getting Turner back in any capacity would greatly help that depth, but it's still a weakness that Indiana would love to exploit. Crean says his goal is to have his team get into the bonus at the 12-minute mark of each half, and if Indiana does that it will put the Buckeyes in some foul trouble and Matta in a bind. For that happen, IU's guards will need to continue to attack off the dribble and get into the lane. It also wouldn't hurt the Hoosiers if the officials called the game close, so keep an eye on that as well early on.

QUOTABLES
"I've played (at Value City Arena) a couple of times in high school. It's a big environment. The Ohio State fans are really key. This week in practice we had some simulated sounds. This is a big road game for us, but I think we'll be able to step up." – Tom Pritchard

"I think (IU's freshmen) just have to experience (playing on the road). I think they'll notice when they get on the floor that a road game is a different atmosphere. We've been practicing for that. It's something we have to work through. I think we'll be fine. I know the guys. We've played in Madison Square Garden. I know the fans weren't against us like they will be at Ohio State, but the guys will be ready for it." – Pritchard

"They put very good players on the floor. They don't play a lot of guys, but they can all make things happen. We're well aware of how good they are." – Tom Crean

"David Lighty, we didn't face him last year, and he's a major-league athlete. A both ends of the court gazelle. He makes things happen." – Crean

"We have to understand that we pack our shoes, we pack our uniform, it doesn't necessarily mean our jump shots are getting packed, it doesn't necessarily mean our free-throw shooting is getting packed. It's corny, but they have to be sure their ability to guard, their ability to get on the glass, their ability to share the ball, those things have to come with us, no matter what. Those are effort and execution related. We have to focus on that." – Crean

"Ohio State is so dangerous because they not only put guys on the floor who can make shots, they can get to the rim. Everyone of those guys can get to the basket…maybe of all the teams we've played, this team really wants to attack the middle." – Crean

"One of the biggest things (we had to adjust to when Turner was out) is his size on the floor. He's 6'7" and has about a 7'0" wing span. From the rebounding to the scoring, but probably most importantly the play-making that he has. We played with him three top-25 opponents, and in those games, he was averaging 25 points, 13 rebounds and six assists against the upper echelon of competition. Evan is such a great teammate, he's a guy that guys gravitate to, not having him out there is a little bit different." – Ohio State Coach Thad Matta


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