Victor Oladipo

Victor Oladipo’s importance shows as No. 1 Indiana rolls over No. 10 Ohio State

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It was a turnover that ultimately sank No. 1 Indiana on Thursday in a last-second loss to Illinois on the road. Victor Oladipo lost control of the ball on Indiana’s final possession and, despite blocking a breakaway layup to preserve the game for the moment, Tyler Griffey’s layup at the buzzer off an in-bounds pass delivered the upset.

But that Oladipo, the one who was just 3-of-7 from the floor Thursday night, was nowhere to be found on Sunday against No. 10 Ohio State.

Oladipo scored 26 points on 8-of-10 shooting and was the engine behind Indiana’s offensive attack, as the Hoosiers cruised to an impressive 81-68 win over Ohio State at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio, on Sunday afternoon.

Emerging alongside sophomore Cody Zeller, Oladipo has proven that if he is able to get going, the Indiana offense follows suit. Take a look at Indiana’s two losses in Big Ten play.

On Thursday against Illinois and earlier in the year against Wisconsin, Oladipo went 3-of-7 from the floor in both. That 43 percent clip is 21 percentage points off his astronomical season average of nearly 64 percent from the floor.

His offensive prowess only adds to what he does on the defensive end, where he excels whether or not he is in a groove offensively. Sunday, he was part of an Indiana attack that isolated Deshaun Thomas and made him Ohio State’s only real scoring option with 26 points on the afternoon.

Though Aaron Craft added 16 points, Thomas accounted for 38.2 percent of Ohio State’s offensive output. That number is up from the already large 27.6 percent stake that he has held over the course of the season. Credit that to Oladipo and the rest of the Indiana defense.

The Hoosiers hope to hold on to the No. 1 spot in the polls, come Monday, but will have that Illinois loss counting against them.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

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Notre Dame’s Steve Vasturia sparks come-from-behind win over No. 13 Louisville

Notre Dame’s Steve Vasturia (32) goes up for a shot over Boston College’s Idy Diallo (4) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)
(AP Photo/Robert Franklin)
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Demetrius Jackson scored 20 of his 25 points in the first half and Steve Vasturia scored 15 of his 20 points in the final 20 minutes as Notre Dame landed a 71-66 win over No. 13 Louisville on Saturday afternoon.

The Fighting Irish trailed by as many as 11 points early in the second half, but Vasturia’s hot shooting combined with Notre Dame holding Louisville to just 15 points in the final 15 minutes made all the difference.

The Fighting Irish are not as good as they were last season, but they are built in a similar mold. Jackson, as we expected, as become one of the nation’s most dynamic point guards, impossible to slow-down in isolation and ball-screen actions. Steve Vasturia emerging as a legitimate secondary option offensively and Zach Auguste is one of the nation’s most underrated big men and one of the most dangerous as the roll-man in ball-screens.

Combine all of that with a handful of shooters creating space and Bonzie Colson’s emergence as a force on the offensive glass, and Mike Brey once again has one of the nation’s most lethal offensive attacks.

Where they struggle is on the defensive end of the floor, which is what makes the end of Saturday’s win so meaningful. The Irish entered the day ranked 232nd in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency metric, which more or less means they’re as good as a bad mid-major program at keeping their opponents from scoring.

But they don’t have to be great to be able to win games.

They have to be good enough and they have to get important stops.

That’s precisely what happened on Saturday.

Whether or not that actually becomes a trend for this group will be something to monitor — it happened for Duke during last year’s NCAA tournament — but the bottom-line is this: Notre Dame does something better than just about anyone else in college basketball, and that’s score the ball.

On the nights they are able to gets some stops, they are going to be able to win some games. In the last eight days, they’ve proven that, beating North Carolina, Clemson on the road and Louisville.

And that makes them dangerous in March.