Ohio State Buckeyes vs Indiana Hoosiers (1/28 @ 8:00 PM EST)
Spread: Indiana -4
Money Line: Ohio State +160 / Indiana -190
Overview and Betting Info
The Ohio State Buckeyes (11-9) will head to Indiana to take on the Hoosiers (14-6) in a clash of Big 10 rivals. This will be the first meeting between these two teams this season. Indiana is 5-4 in the conference, putting them in fifth place. Ohio State is 3-6 and sits at twelfth.
Ohio State is 8-12 against the spread this season, covering just two of their eight road games. They have gone over the total 11 times but have been under in five of eight on the road..
Indiana is 9-10 versus the spread, covering seven of their 13 home games. They have gone over the total 12 times, eight of which came at home.
Ohio State Buckeyes
The Buckeyes come into Saturday having lost six of their last seven games. It was a tough part of the schedule, but they hit an all-time low in losing to the bottom two teams in the conference in Minnesota and Nebraska. The offense has not been their problem, as they are 3rd in the Big 10 in scoring (77.0 PPG), 2nd in field goal percentage (46.7%), and 1st in three-point percentage (38.8%). The defense has been more of the issue, sitting toward the bottom of the conference in points allowed. They have done well defending against the three, ranking 2nd in the Big 10 in three-point percentage (29.3%).
The Buckeyes are led by a trio of stars in Brice Sensabaugh (17.4 PPG, 5.5 RPG), Justice Sueing (13.0 PPG, 4.6 RPG), and Zed Key (11.8 PPG, 7.8 RPG). Sensabaugh is a freshman who has stepped in to be the team’s top scorer. He’s an efficient shooter, making 50.6% from the field and 46.7% from three. His 14-point performance in a loss to Illinois on Tuesday broke a ten-game streak of scoring 18 or more points. He’s also becoming a reliable rebounder, averaging 8.0 over their last five games. Senior forward Justice Sueing has also been a key scorer, but he’s cooled off over their last five games (9.4 PPG). Key is a major presence down low and has turned into a rebounding machine since December and is a great defender with four blocks and four steals over their last three games.
Aside from their top three, the Buckeyes have struggled to find consistent scoring. They play with a five-man bench, but it has not been much help for these Buckeyes. The best of the group has been Sean McNeil (9.8 PPG, 40.7 3PT%) and Bruce Thornton (8.7 PPG, 41.1 3PT%). The pair are fantastic from three but haven’t contributed much else. McNeil has been the better of the two as of late, scoring in double digits in four of his last five games. We’ll be watching center Felix Okpara on Saturday. The big man isn’t a scorer, but he’s averaging 1.2 blocks per game.
The Hoosiers enter Saturday having won their last four games, with impressive wins at Illinois and at home against Michigan State. While they sit in fifth place in the Big 10, they have been inconsistent from week to week. The Illinois and MSU wins were impressive, but the streak followed a three-game skid where they lost to Iowa and were blown out by Penn State. They are 2nd in the Big 10 in scoring (78.3 PPG) and lead in field goal percentage (50.3%). Their defense has struggled a bit, as they are 11th in opponent scoring (67.3 PPG), but they have been strong down low and are 2nd in blocks (5.9 BPG).
The Hoosiers are led by a pair of stars in Trayce Jackson-Davis (19.7 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 3.2 BPG) and Jalen Hood-Schifino (13.1 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 4.4 APG, 1.0 SPG). Jackson-Davis has been their star and is arguably the second-best player in the conference. He is third in scoring, second in rebounds, and first in blocks. The senior has been incredible over their last three games, averaging 30.3 points, 15.0 rebounds, and blocking 14 shots. He’s one of the best defenders in the country, highlighted by the nine blocks he had against Kansas. Hood-Schifino is a shooter that has hit 39% of his three-point attempts. He’s active on defense, leading the team in steals, and is a solid passer and rebounder. He’s been struggling over their last two games, scoring a total of just eight points. This broke a streak of nine games with ten or more.
Tamar Bates (8.3 PPG) and Miller Kopp (8.2 PPG, 45.0 3PT%) are two of the Buckeyes’ key role players, filling in for steals-leader Xavier Johnson, who is out indefinitely with an injury. Bates can score but has been awful of late. He’s scored 0 points in three of their last four games, with an impressive 17-point performance wedged in between. He’s been streaky all year, but something has clearly been off recently. Kopp is one of the nation’s elite three-point shooters. He isn’t always able to get open looks, limiting his effectiveness, but the Buckeyes will need to have him marked on Saturday. Watch out for forward Race Thompson (7.6 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 1.4 BPG), as the big man has shown flashes of greatness this season. He was starting to get hot in December, but an injury in early January kept him out for a couple of weeks and has him looking to return to form. Wednesday’s win against Minnesota was his first full game back, and he managed just four points and four rebounds, but he did block three shots.
Free Pick: Indiana -4
Indiana is hard to trust, but the Buckeyes are just not a good basketball team. Their cold streak has shown their many weaknesses, and they have won just one of their six road game all season (at Northwestern). They will struggle to stop Jackson-Davis on the offensive end, and he and Thompson should dominate down low defensively. With Sueing suddenly struggling to score, Ohio State doesn’t have the offense to run with the Hoosiers.
If Ohio State can get hot from three, they may have a chance to keep this close, but the Hoosiers are clearly the better team. Given that they are at home and have won their last four, we see this as an easy win.
We’re giving up the points to roll with Indiana.