Greetings Hoops Fans! This is Dave Horning for HoopsOnLane.com Fan Podcast with a preview of the next Ohio State Buckeyes game … an away game against the Indiana Hoosiers in Bloomington Indiana coming up this Friday, February 23rd at 8:00pm. The game will be televised on Fox Sports 1 – FS1 – and broadcast on radio at The Fan 97.1 FM.

This will be the final regular season Big Ten Conference game for both teams. Ohio State’s conference record is 14 wins against just 3 losses – tied for second place with Purdue and one game behind Michigan State. The Buckeyes must beat Indiana and hope that Michigan State loses its final game at Wisconsin on Sunday if the Buckeyes want to tie for first place. I’m more concerned with the Buckeyes beating Indiana and improving their seeding in the NCAA Tournament. Every win from here on out improves our seeding and our chances in the first round game at the NCAA Tournament.

In the Team Rankings Website of all 351 Division 1 Men’s Basketball programs, Indiana is ranked Number 104, and Ohio State is ranked Number 20. The Buckeyes are ranked Number 16 in the AP Poll. If we can hold on to that ranking, we could get a Number 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Wow!

Just like the Buckeyes, Indiana’s last game was also played on Tuesday night – Indiana lost at Nebraska by the score of 66 to 57. Indiana shot poorly from behind the 3-point arc, making just 3 of 14 for 21%. They haven’t been a great 3-point shooting team all year, and that will be the key to this game with the Buckeyes on Friday night. We can NOT let them get hot. If our defense can play them tough on the exterior, like we DID at Michigan but DID NOT at Penn State, then we will have an advantage. Indiana cannot match up against our front line. In the last game against Indiana in Columbus on January 30th, the Buckeyes front line was tough, especially early in the game. Kaleb Wesson is coming on strong.

Last time Indiana played Ohio State was on Tuesday, January 30th, and they had just played Purdue on Sunday night, just two days earlier. It was a tired Indiana team that played in Columbus. The Buckeyes and the Hoosiers both last played on Tuesday night this week – so the two teams will be equally rested or tired as the case may be. Therefore, this will be a tough game for the Buckeyes, and the Buckeyes will need to play for 40 minutes to win this one.

Here is the starting line-up for Indiana:
Number 13 – 6-7 Junior Forward Juwan Morgan – their leading scorer averaging 17 points a game
Number 21 – 6-6 Senior Forward Freddie McSwain
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 11 – 6-3 Sophomore Guard Devonte Green, or will it be Number 2 – 6-1 Senior Guard Josh Newkirk – who might get the start because he is a Senior?

Also look for Number 3 – 6-7 Freshman Forward Justin Smith who will get significant playing time.

Indiana is coached by Archie Miller in his first year.

Based on who started the second half of the Rutgers game, 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.

From this point on, all of the games are big games, and it is the star player who needs to step up this time of the year. Traditionally, it is the star player who carries the team in the playoffs. I don’t know why Keita Bates-Diop is in a shooting slump – and I don’t know what I can do to change it, except to say what Cher’s character said to Nicholas Cage’s character in the Movie “Moonstruck” – “SNAP OUT OF IT!” – that’s what she said to him after he told her he loved her … but she was supposed to be marrying his brother .. so it was complicated … watch the movie scene on YouTube and search for Cher Moonstruck snap out of it

Do you have any better ideas to get Keita back on track? If you do, send them to my e-mail at hoopsonlane@gmail.com

This is Dave Horning for HoopsOnLane.com Fan Podcast. Go Buckeyes! Go Keita! SNAP OUT OF IT!