Published November 20, 2014
The Buckeyes made a statement in their Big Ten opener, routing a good Northwestern squad this week, 87-54. OSU has now won five straight games since its only loss of the season at Kansas. Thad Matta's squad will return home after this contest to take on Nebraska in Columbus on January 3rd.
Tom Crean's Hoosiers were cruising along this season and came into their Big Ten opener with a flawless 12-0 record. Perfection is now no longer a goal for Indiana, which was upended at Michigan State earlier the week, 80-65. It is a gauntlet to start the conference slate for Indiana, which will play its third ranked opponent in as many games next week when the Hoosiers take on Michigan.
The Hoosiers hold a 101-77 advantage in the all-time series with the Buckeyes, but Ohio State has won each of the last six meetings.
William Buford erupted for a career-high 28 points, as Ohio State served notice to the rest of the conference with its lopsided win over Northwestern. The victory was the 34th straight at home for OSU, the third longest in the country. All-American Jared Sullinger was dominant in the low post once again finishing with 17 points and 14 rebounds. Deshaun Thomas poured in 16 points and Jordan Sibert came off the bench with 12, as Ohio State shot 47.5 percent from the floor, including 50 percent from behind the arc (10-of-20). Ohio State has the ability to post lopsided victories with dominant play at both ends of the floor. The team is boasting an impressive +24.1 scoring margin, averaging 79.2 ppg while allowing just 55.1. The team relies on a potent trio of scorers in Buford (16.6 ppg), Sullinger (16.3 ppg) and Thomas (15.9 ppg). Sullinger is one of the nation's premier frontcourt players. He leads the team in rebounding (9.6 rpg) and is converting nearly 60 percent of his shots (.591). Point guard Aaron Craft (7.8 ppg, 5.4 apg) and Lenzelle Smith Jr. (4.8 ppg) round out the starting five.
Despite a huge game from Christian Watford, the Hoosiers suffered their first defeat, falling by 15 points in East Lansing this week. Watford finished the game with 26 points and 10 rebounds. Verdell Jones III and Victor Oladipo added 11 and 10 points, respectively, but Indiana, which shot a modest .422 from the field overall, was done in by Michigan State's .547 shooting. In addition, MSU took full advantage of Indiana's 13 turnovers, converting those miscues into 23 points. Like Ohio State, Indiana has shown itself to be a complete team with the ability to win at either end of the floor. The team has a +22.0 scoring margin thus far and has been one of the better shooting teams in the country, hitting just over 50 percent from the floor and putting up 83.3 ppg. Scoring depth is apparent with five players currently averaging double digits. Cody Zeller leads the way in both scoring (14.2 ppg) and rebounding (6.9 rpg). Watford follows in the scoring column (13.2 ppg), with Oladipo (12.0 ppg), Jordan Hulls (11.5 ppg) and Will Sheehey (10.7 ppg) making contributions as well. Sheehey however, is listed as questionable for this game with a leg injury.