Ohio State lost ground in the Big Ten over the weekend as they were upset by Iowa on their home floor. Their offense, which is ninth in efficiency at KenPom, scored only 62 points against a bad Hawkeyes defense. It was especially disappointing because the defense was very solid, holding Iowa to just 75 points (that is good against the Hawkeyes). They now have one more loss than the other teams at the top of the league with just six games to play.
Indiana is in bigger trouble as they look to halt a four-game losing streak. Two weeks ago, they looked like a lock for the NCAA Tournament, but teams that finish below .500 in their league often have problems with the selection committee. They have good wins over Purdue and Notre Dame and beat Ohio State when they met in Bloomington in Jan., winning by 16.
Both of these teams need a win. Indiana has been off for almost a week. Perhaps some rest has helped them reset mentally.
Indiana Hoosiers (16-9) vs. Ohio State Buckeyes (16-7)
Monday, Feb. 21, 2022
7:00 PM ET
Value City Arena, Columbus, Ohio
Spread: Hoosiers +7 (-110), Buckeyes -7 (-110)
Moneyline: Hoosiers +225, Buckeyes -275
Ohio State -7
Both of these teams have been scuffling lately. Ohio State made just a couple of three-pointers in the loss to Iowa, and you have to think they rebound from that poor shooting performance, especially at home. Top scorer E.J. Liddell blocked five shots against the Hawkeyes. He is a versatile player, but they need more than the 15 points he scored in the game. Freshman wing Malaki Branham led the team with 22 points. His emergence is why the Buckeyes are dangerous big picture.
Big man Trayce Jackson-Davis came back to Indiana to improve his draft prospects. He scored 30 points in their last game, a loss to Wisconsin, but his numbers are down from last season in scoring and rebounding. When you watch an Indiana game, you don’t come away with thinking that he is an NBA player, just a guy who is bigger than most and has success with that. He reminds me of Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, who got drafted but has not impressed with Oklahoma City. Indiana does not have the overall talent of the other top programs in the Big Ten.
Ohio State will definitely have revenge on their mind Monday. I thought we would get a smaller number, but with Indiana really struggling the market has soured on them. I am not expecting OSU’s defense to be what it was against Iowa but the offense should be better than what we saw. Look for a final score in the 80-70 range that gets a comfortable win and cover. Liddell vs. TJD could be a draw, and Indiana does not have enough to pull the upset on the road if that happens.