INDIANA HOOSIERS (20-3)
at OHIO STATE BUCKEYES (17-5)
Value City Arena - Columbus, OH
Tip-off: Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET
Line: Ohio State -1.5, Total: 138.5
A pair of top-10 teams looking to recover from heart-breaking losses will square off Sunday afternoon when No. 1 Indiana visits No. 10 Ohio State.
The Hoosiers were on their way to a fifth straight victory on Thursday night at Illinois, leading by nine points with 3:36 left in regulation, but the Illini finished the game on a 13-2 run capped off by a buzzer-beating layup off an inbounds pass to win 74-72. The Buckeyes went on the road to face No. 3 Michigan on Wednesday, and lost by two points in overtime. Ohio State has thoroughly enjoyed this series over the past five seasons, beating Indiana in seven of eight meetings (SU and ATS).
Which team will avoid a losing streak on Sunday? For the answer, connect to College Basketball Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. The experts have been sizzling, as StatFox Gary is 8-2-1 ATS (80%) in the past six days, improving to an impressive 57.4% ATS (78-58-2) mark for the season. StatFox Dave is 10-5-1 ATS (67%) in the past five days, including a 5-2 ATS (71%) mark on Saturday, to boost his season win percentage to a profitable 54% ATS (124-106-4) for the season. StatFox Scott is 5-1 ATS (83%) since Friday.
Indiana ranks among the nation's top teams in four of the major offensive categories with 83.3 PPG, 50.1% FG, 39.7 RPG and 15.8 APG. C Cody Zeller (16.2 PPG, 8.3 RPG) is playing strong recently with 17.3 PPG and 10.0 RPG in the past three games. Zeller had 15.0 PPG on 12-of-18 FG in last season's two games versus Ohio State, but he was saddled with foul trouble, committing a total of nine fouls. SG Victor Oladipo (13.8 PPG, 5.7 RPG) is also hot with 16.2 PPG (56% FG) and 2.8 SPG in his past five games. He is now shooting 64% from the floor, 53% from three-point range and swipes 2.3 SPG. After scoring 15 points in the home win over OSU last season, he managed just five points (2-of-6 FG) in the loss at Columbus. PF Christian Watford (12.9 PPG, 6.7 RPG) actually shoots better from behind the arc (47%) than from two-point range (43%), but has been remarkably consistent with 13 straight games of 10+ points. However, he did not shoot well against the Buckeyes last season, making just 7-of-23 shots. PG Jordan Hulls (11.1 PPG, 3.2 APG) is also an incredible shooter from long range (50% 3-pt FG) who turns the ball over just once every 21.2 MPG this season. Hulls averaged 13.0 PPG on 50% FG (5-of-11 threes) in two meetings with OSU last season. SF Will Sheehey (10.0 PPG, 3.7 RPG) is another sharp-shooter (51% FG, 36% threes), but is 0-for-8 from downtown in his past three games combined. PG Yogi Ferrell (7.7 PPG, 4.5 APG) has a solid 2.06 Ast/TO ratio in his freshman season, and he's also been on a roll in scoring points, averaging 11.6 PPG during the past five contests.
Ohio State's offense is nothing special, averaging 71.9 PPG, but it does shoot pretty well from the floor (46.1% FG) and from three-point range (37.7%), while committing just 11.2 TOPG. But where the Buckeyes really stand out is on the defensive end, allowing just 58.1 PPG on 38.3% FG. PF Deshaun Thomas leads the Big Ten with 19.9 PPG thanks to a 46% FG clip (40% threes) and 82% from the free-throw line. But he really struggled against the Hoosiers last season with a paltry 8.0 PPG and 3.0 RPG. Junior SG Lenzelle Smith, Jr. (10.5 PPG, 5.3 RPG) was a perfect 6-of-6 from the field (3-for-3 threes) in Saturday's win at Nebraska, finishing with a season-high 21 points. But on Tuesday, he made just 4-of-10 shots, committing four turnovers. However, Smith lit up the Hoosiers for 20.0 PPG in the two games last season, scoring 28 points on 10-of-12 FG (4-of-5 threes) in the home win over Indiana. PG Aaron Craft (9.3 PPG, 4.5 APG, 2.0 SPG) has a strong 2.36 Ast/TO ratio this season and has been starting to drive the basketball better, averaging 11.4 PPG in his past five games, thanks to 17-of-21 FT. Backup PG Shannon Scott (5.0 PPG, 3.9 APG, 1.6 SPG) has been outstanding in taking care of the basketball, as his 3.44 Ast/TO ratio ranks among the top players in the country in this category. C Amir Williams (4.5 PPG, 4.1 RPG) has been quite a presence in the paint with a team-best 1.7 BPG for the season. In the past three games, he has 6.0 RPG and 3.0 BPG, making 10-of-13 free throws.