BLOOMINGTON – I expected the Hoosiers to come out with plenty of energy in the early going and they delivered. After a pair of early layups, Indiana's defense was generally stellar, holding the Buckeyes to 40 percent shooting for the half. From the eye test alone, it was clear Indiana was prepared for this game. It was tenacious on the glass, especially Freddie McSwain Jr., who grabbed four boards and tipped out several other shots on the offensive end.
On defense, the Hoosiers were very good, forcing one shot clock violation and almost causing several others. They defended for entire possessions and their rotations were stellar. Ohio State hit a few 3s, including two from Keita Bates-Diop, who is having a bounce-back night with 13 points already after a couple of down games, but the performance was generally very good.
So why is Indiana only tied at 33? There are two main reasons. First, the Hoosiers have been a little careless with the ball, trying to throw several passes into lanes that weren't really there. Devonte Green especially was a little overly aggressive at the beginning of the game. Of course, Green's game thrives on aggressiveness, but sometimes he tries to do too much and that has happened several times. Ohio State's defense in general was excellent until late in the half, when the Hoosiers heated up for the first time.
Second, and perhaps more importantly, there were a lot of loose balls that have found their way into Buckeye hands this half. Ohio State has seven offensive rebounds and at least half of them have hit Indiana in the hands before ending up with the Buckeyes. To beat a good team like OSU, you need to get some breaks and the Hoosiers really haven't had many yet.
Encouragingly, the Hoosiers are still in this game and an 8-0 run late in the half sliced what had been a 12-point Buckeye advantage to 26-22. The run ended with a huge putback dunk from Justin Smith in transition, igniting what had been a drowsy crowd for much of the night. The Hoosiers closed the gap further in the final minutes and rattled an Ohio State team that had been poised in the face of pressure. Yet again, Indiana has an opportunity for a big win.