As the Ohio State Buckeyes get set to face the Indiana Hoosiers in a crucial Big Ten contest, there are concerns around Columbus. Both teams are coming off of road losses, the Buckeyes to the arch-rival Michigan Wolverines and the Hoosiers to the Illinois Fighting Illini, and both will be hungry to get back to their winning ways.
Ohio State is a notable underdog to Indiana, which is currently ranked No. 1 in the country, but there are a couple of things the Buckeyes can do to spring the upset at home. I talked about the need for secondary scoring yesterday and today I focus on exactly who the Ohio State defense needs to key in on. To many people’s surprise it is not the big men Cody Zeller and Christian Watford, but an athletic guard who will cause havoc if the Buckeyes aren’t careful.
Victor Oladipo is a matchup problem for most teams with his quickness and grace in his 6-foot, 5-inch frame. He is able to post up the smaller guards teams put on him and he is too quick for most of the small forwards in the league. The Buckeyes struggled against the Wolverines at limiting the play of the guards, giving up 23 points to Tim Hardaway Jr. and 16 points to Trey Burke. Ohio State may be tempted to put Aaron Craft on Oladipo, but Lenzelle Smith Jr. has the size needed to effectively guard Oladipo. The issue is Smith is not the greatest defender and Oladipo will probably take advantage of that. However, if the Buckeyes are able to limit Oladipo’s production than they may be able to sneak away with a victory.