Will Sheehey followed up a 30-point performance in the win over Iowa with 19 points, six boards and four steals and Yogi Ferrell finished with 20 points as Indiana knocked off their second straight ranked team, beating No. 22 Ohio State 72-64.
It sets up an interesting situation for the Hoosiers.
Hypothetically speaking, let’s say the Hoosiers beat Nebraska at home and Michigan on the road in their final two regular season games. If that happens, we’ll be looking at a team with four top 20 wins, five top 50 wins and eight top 100 wins. Those four sub-100 losses are ugly, and the fact that Indiana did bupkis in the non-conference is a red flag, but given how weak the bubble is, that’s a resume that has to be in the conversation.
A 9-9 finish in the Big Ten would probably get Indiana to sixth seed in the Big Ten tournament, meaning that a win over one of the league’s bottom-feeders would give the Hoosiers another shot at either Michigan State or Wisconsin. That’s still a long way away, but if Indiana makes it to the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament, that might be enough to earn a bid.
That feat doesn’t look quite as crazy after Sunday. Indiana beat an Ohio State team that matches up exceptionally well with them despite playing without star freshman Noah Vonleh, whose battling a foot issue.
Indiana started the afternoon 4-for-16 from the floor with seven turnovers in the first 12 minutes, scoring 60 points in the final 28 minutes against the Buckeyes’ stout defense, getting driving lane and creating open threes.
And while that’s a positive for Indiana, it’s just as big of a concern for Ohio State. They are not a ver good team offensively. They can really struggle to score at times, meaning that they need to be good defensively if they are going to do any damage in March.
They weren’t good defensively on Sunday.
Rutgers has struggled to achieve success on the floor the last few years and head coach Eddie Jordan is hoping that some talented newcomers can help start a turnaround. With the start of practice, local media saw some of the Scarlet Knights’ early practice and Jerry Carino of the Asbury Park Press noted that the duo of freshman point guard Corey Sanders and junior college forward Deshawn Freeman were getting a lot of burn together.
With both incoming players being four-star prospects, it’s hardly a surprise that Jordan would see what the two were capable of. According to Carino, it meant a lot of Sanders driving and forcing the defense to collapse before finding Freeman.
“It seems like coach always has us on the same team,” Freeman said to Carino. “Ever since we’ve gotten here, he’s trying to get us to play together.”
Carino also notes that since Rutgers is deeper, longer and more athletic in general this season, the team could do more with a pressing defense to help create turnovers.
While Rutgers still faces an uphill climb in the Big Ten, they at least have some exciting pieces that will be in place for a few seasons.
LSU football and Leonard Fournette are off to a strong start this fall, but the beginning of October also means that college hoops is right around the corner. If you’re a Tigers basketball fan, you also have plenty to be excited about on the hardwood this season with the arrival of a loaded freshman class headlined by forward Ben Simmons.
While the versatile Simmons has solidified a spot in the starting lineup for next season, it’ll be interesting to see how head coach Johnny Jones uses the rest of his talented freshmen. In a story from Sheldon Mickles of the New Orleans Advocate, he looks into some potential LSU starting lineups.
Freshman guard Antonio Blakeney, a McDonald’s All-American with Simmons, is also expected to start, but does another talented freshman guard, Brandon Sampson get a shot to start? And what of Arizona transfer Craig Victor when he’s eligible to play in December?
Mickles believes the early favorite for starting lineup is guards Tim Quarterman, Keith Hornsby, Blakeney, Simmons and center Darcy Malone. When Victor returns, Mickles said Victor could push Simmons into the “center” position, which would be a matchup nightmare on the opposition because Simmons would be very tough for many college centers to defend.
Sampson also gets a mention from Mickles of having the potential to start down the line. Overall, a good problem to have for Jones and he’ll have to experiment to see which lineups are giving him the most. Having a productive starting five is nice, but I’m sure Jones would love to find the five players he wants to close with.