#15 Indiana vs #2 Ohio St: Prediction & Poll

December 31st, 2011

#2 OHIO STATE (13-1) AT #15 INDIANA (12-1)


Time/TV: 6 p.m./ESPN2


Location: Assembly Hall


Line: Ohio State -5


Ohio State Players to Watch: C Jared Sullinger, So. (16.3 ppg, 9.6 rpg); SG William Buford, Sr. (16.6 ppg, 41.4% 3s); PF Deshaun Thomas, So. (15.9 ppg, 53.7% FG). With Sullinger struggling through injuries, Thomas has become a valuable third scoring option. He has scored in double figures in the Buckeyes’ last 13 games, including a 30-point outing against South Carolina with Sullinger out.


Indiana Players to Watch: C Cody Zeller, Fr. (14.2 ppg, 65% FG); F Christian Watford, Jr. (13.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg); PG Jordy Hulls, Jr. (11.5 ppg, 51.9% 3s). In order for the Hoosiers to compete with Ohio State, Zeller will have to stay out of foul trouble and Hulls will have to recover from his first sub-par shooting night of the season in Wednesday’s loss to Michigan State.


Storylines: Ohio State is unbeaten with Sullinger on the court. The Buckeyes are have five in a row, including an 87-54 win over Northwestern in their Big Ten opener. However, OSU is 0-1 against ranked teams on the road. Indiana has proven its ability to build off of big wins. Now, it has to prove it can respond from a loss after suffering its first defeat, 80-65 at Michigan State Wednesday.


Keys to Victory: Ohio State has to bring its A-game, even on the road. If it does, it will be headed for a third-straight Big Ten title. Like they did against Kentucky, Notre Dame and Butler, the Hoosiers must shoot a high percentage from the floor, from the foul line and from behind the 3-point line.


The Bottom Line: Indiana matches up pretty well with the Buckeyes, everywhere except under the basket. Even with freshman phenom Cody Zeller in the middle, Sullinger will be too much for the Hoosiers.


The Pick: Ohio State 85, Indiana 76.