In today’s edition of Banner Morning:
• IU-Ohio State gameday information.
• These are two evenly matched teams.
• 3 reasons to believe this result will be better for Indiana than the first game.
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Welcome to another edition of Banner Morning. Indiana’s opener in the Big Ten Tournament is today.
In gameday news …
Indiana will take on Ohio State in a highly anticipated 8/9 matchup today at the Big Ten Tournament in Chicago.
The game tips at 12:30 Eastern and will be televised on BTN. Brian Anderson, Stephen Bardo, and Mike Hall will be on the call.
As always, we’ll go live immediately following the game with our postgame show at assemblycall.com.
KenPom predicts a 65-64 victory for Indiana, with a 54% chance of victory for the Hoosiers. And that makes sense, because these two teams appear quite evenly matched entering the game.
Indiana is #42 in KenPom and #51 in the NET while Ohio State is #44 in KenPom and #55 in the NET.
And despite their high volume of losses, both teams own a number of impressive victories that bolster their otherwise fledgling NCAA Tournament resumes.
Add it all up, and many bracketologists believe that this is a de facto play-in game … or, to be more accurate, a play-out game.
The winner certainly isn’t guaranteed an at-large bid, especially if more bid thieves like Saint Mary’s continue to pop up. But the loser almost surely will feel their bubble pop, even if they have to wait for Sunday for confirmation.
So, from Indiana’s perspective, what are the reasons for hope that today’s result will be different than what happened in Bloomington back in February, when Ohio State won 55-52?
First, Indiana is the hotter team. The Hoosiers have won four straight while the Buckeyes have lost three straight and six out of eight.
And while Ohio State will have star center Kaleb Wesson back, which is undeniably good for the Buckeyes, it’s not unreasonable to think the big man might be a little rusty and foul prone in his first game action since the calendar turned to March.
Second, much of Ohio State’s game plan in the first game revolved around not paying Justin Smith much attention on defense. It worked, as Smith did little to make Ohio State pay and the extra defender sagging in then paint made life difficult on Romeo and Juwan. But Smith has been a different player during IU’s win streak. He’s averaging 14 points and 5.5 rebounds, plus just one turnover per game.
Third, Rob Phinisee was a non-factor in the first game, totaling five points and 0 assists. But Rob is averaging 10 points and 4 assists per game over his last five games, all while playing outstanding perimeter defense. It seems unfathomable that he won’t deliver a much better performance today.
Given these three factors and more, most analysts have predicted an IU victory in this one. It would be a welcome change for a program that has been haunted much more than it’s been helped by the Big Ten Tournament.
For the links mentioned in this edition of Banner Morning, visit assemblycall.com.
We’ll be back tomorrow with a new edition of Banner Morning. Until then, keep your elbows in and your eyes on the rim, and go Hoosiers.