Greetings Hoops Fans! This is Dave Horning for HoopsOnLane.com Fan Podcast with a preview of the next Ohio State Buckeyes game … a Home Game against the Indiana Hoosiers coming up this Tuesday, January 30th at 7:00pm Columbus time at the Schott. The game will be televised on ESPN-2 and on radio at The Fan 97.1 FM.

This is a huge game for both teams. Indiana still has hopes of earning an invitation to the NCAA tournament, but need a signature win, and beating Ohio State, now ranked #17 in the AP Poll, in Columbus would be that signature win. Ohio State needs a win following its first Big Ten loss of the season – losing at home last Thursday night to Penn State. Ohio State has 8 remaining Big Ten games, 4 at home and 4 away. The next two are at home, against Indiana on Tuesday night, and against Illinois on Super Bowl Sunday. That means the last 6 games have 2 home games and 4 away games – and the away games are at Purdue, at Penn State, at Michigan and at Indiana. There isn’t an easy road game on that list, and it will look bad to the NCAA committee if Ohio State falters down the stretch. A win by Indiana in Columbus followed up by a win in Bloomington will provide Indiana an argument that they are the over-dog and deserve to be invited before Ohio State. A win Tuesday night by Ohio State puts us ahead of Indiana and whatever hopes they have of gaining an NCAA invitation.

Indiana’s current record in the Big Ten is 5 wins and 5 losses – tied with Penn State for 6th place. Ohio State’s Big Ten record is 9 wins against one loss – sole possession of second place. In the Team Ranking website of all 351 Division 1 Men’s Basketball programs, Indiana is ranked #113 and Ohio State is ranked #24. Indiana’s overall record is 12 wins against 10 losses, so they can NOT afford many more losses.

Indiana’s last game was Sunday, a home loss to Purdue, but they played Purdue tough, staying close the entire game – actually leading at halftime – before losing by the score of 74 to 67. Indiana got a big game from their best player, Number 13 Juwan Morgan, a 6-7 Junior Forward who had to play Center on defense against Purdue’s two big men – both 7’ 2” tall – Isaac Haas and Matt Haarms. Those two Purdue Centers combined for 30 points on 12 of 19 shooting. With 4:44 left in the game, and the score tied at 62, Juwan Morgan picked up his 4th foul, and could no longer aggressively defend. Isaac Haas made 6 of the next 7 points for Purdue, and Purdue built a 5-point lead.

On offense, Indiana’s Morgan scored 26 points on 10 of 18 shooting. He is not usually a 3-point threat – but I’m not taking anything for granted as of late. Penn State made 11 of 14 3-point shots against the Buckeyes last Thursday, and Nebraska’s James Palmer scored 34 points in the game before that, so anything can happen at the Schott. Ohio State will need to get Juwan Morgan into foul trouble so that Kaleb Wesson can score down low. Kaleb Wesson will need to stay out of foul trouble, so look for Jae’Sean Tate or Keita Bates-Diop to guard Number 13 Juwan Morgan. I’d like to see Kyle Young or Mussa Jallow in the game to defend him also.

Indiana’s line-up does not have a true Center, as their best big man, 6-10 Freshman De’Ron Davis injured his Achilles tendon earlier this season in practice and is reported as being out for the year. I do not expect to see Number 20, De’Ron Davis in the lineup Tuesday night.

Here is the starting line-up for Indiana:
Number 13 – 6-7 Junior Forward Juwan Morgan – their leading scorer averaging 16 points a game
Number 3 – 6-7 Freshman Forward Justin Smith
Number 15 – 6-6 Junior Guard Zach McRoberts
Number 4 – 6-3 Senior Guard Robert Johnson – their leading 3-point threat – that’s Number 4 – Robert Johnson
and finally, Number 2 – 6-1 Senior Guard Josh Newkirk

Indiana’s best 3-point shooter, Robert Johnson is making 34% of his 3-point shots. Against Purdue, Indiana made only 3 of 16 3-point shots for 19%, so if Indiana lights it up from behind the arc like Penn State did, then I’ll pull out what little hair I have left. The Buckeyes MUST defend the 3-point shot early and often.

Indiana is coached by Archie Miller in his first year at Indiana.

Since Indiana does not have a true Center, look for the Buckeyes to feed the ball down low to Kaleb Wesson, who could have a monster game, if he stays out of foul trouble, which he did in the last game against Penn State. If the ball goes in down low to Kaleb, he can kick it out for open 3-point shots by CJ Jackson, Kam Williams and Keita Bates Diop. So, either way, look for the Buckeyes to feed the ball down low at the start of each offensive series.

Ohio State’s Starting Lineup will be:
Number 34 – 6-9 Freshman Center Kaleb Wesson
Number 33 – 6-7 Junior Power Forward Keita Bates-Diop
Number 15 – 6-2 Senior Shooting Guard Kam Williams
Number 3 – 6-1 Junior Shooting Guard or Point Guard CJ Jackson, and
Number 1 – 6-4 Senior Jae’Sean Tate, Point Guard or Small Forward

Ohio State is coached by Chris Holtmann, in his first year.

The home crowd at the Penn State game was great – the crowd size is increasing and Buckeyes are playing great. Tickets are still available against Indiana, so come out for the game – it’s a 7:00pm start – so it won’t be a late game. Let’s fill up the Schott!

This is Dave Horning for HoopsOnLane.com Fan Podcast. Go Bucks, and I’ll see you at the game.