NCAA Basketball Spread: Off
New Year’s Eve night the Indiana Hoosiers picked up their second win this year over a team ranked in the top two when they downed Ohio State. The Hoosiers hit the clutch shot and came up with the loose balls late in that hard fought win. Thad Matta was extremely unhappy with his team after that game, and the Buckeyes will be looking to exact some serious revenge in this one. Will the Buckeyes get the Hoosiers back or can Indiana pull off another stunner?
Tom Crean has had a tough first couple years in Bloomington, but his terrific recruiting is starting to pay off this season. Many people thought this team would be improved this year, but hardly anyone expected them to be in the top ten. Cody Zeller is a major difference maker in the post for Indiana this year. Zeller can run the floor well, and he has terrific touch for a big man. In addition, he is a great shot blocker on the defensive end. Zeller is only a freshman, but he leads the Hoosiers in both scoring and rebounding. Christian Watford is another talented forward for Indiana. Watford is averaging 13.5 points and 5.7 rebounds per contest. On the outside it has been guard Jordan Hulls who has been a dead-eye shooter this season. Hulls is knocking down a ridiculous 58.2% from beyond the arc. Indiana is seventh in the nation in points per game at 82.4 per contest.
Expectations were very high going into this season in Columbus, Ohio. The Buckeyes had a rough football season and the basketball team is being counted on to do a lot this year. The Buckeyes are 15-3, but two losses on the road in Big Ten play have fans a bit worried. Brandon Paul’s 43 point barrage took down the Buckeyes this past Tuesday at Illinois. Ohio State is unbeaten at home this year, and they’ll look to get back on track this Sunday at Value City Arena.
Jared Sullinger is a real contender for player of the year this year. Sullinger has slimmed down a bit this year, and that has allowed him to become more agile. He leads the team in both scoring and rebounding. Sullinger is shooting 60.5% from the floor this year. William Buford is a senior guard who can get his own shot at just about any time. Buford averages 15.4 points per game this season. Aaron Craft is a very good leader at the point guard spot. Craft doesn’t look to score too often, but he can score when it is needed. In addition, Craft is a terrific defender who makes life miserable for the opponent. The Buckeyes have struggled to close out games so far this year, so it will be interesting to see if this young team matures in the coming weeks.
Ohio State is the better team, and I think they will be very hungry in this one. Expect a big win for the Buckeyes.
Basketball Prediction: Ohio State 79 Indiana 67
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