Game of the Day: No. 14 Ohio State 67, No. 2 Indiana 58
Defense was the key for Ohio State Tuesday night in its big road win over Indiana. Aaron Craft and Shannon Scott combined for eight steals and ground Indiana’s offensive attack to a halt, including National Player of the Year candidate Victor Oladipo. That defensive effort turned into offense and the Buckeyes were able to get by without an efficient night from Deshaun Thomas. The victory keeps Ohio State in the running for a share of the Big Ten regular season title.
A signature road win in the tough Mountain West would have helped Boise State in its bid for the NCAA tournament, but the Broncos were unable to come up with one Tuesday. Anthony Marshall took over down the stretch and was too much for coach Leon Rice’s team, despite 22 points from Anthony Drmic.
This game did a couple of things. First, the loss hurts Illinois’ seeding in the NCAA tournament, dropping them for now from a seven or eight seed to a nine or ten seed. Secondly, it keeps the slim Iowa NCAA tournament hopes alive, which were hurt so badly by the Hawkeyes’ loss to Nebraska last month.
Despite remaining undefeated in the C-USA, Memphis likely scared off some believers with its performance Tuesday. The Tigers had to claw back from behind and turned the ball over with three seconds to play, allowing UTEP to get off one final heave and shot at a win, though that shot fell short. Without a signature win on its resume, how confident can we be in Memphis?
1. Aaron Craft and Shannon Scott, Ohio State (23 points, 8 steals)
The combination of these two players on the perimeter completely disrupted Indiana’s offensive flow, keeping Victor Oladipo and the rest of the Hoosiers’ attack in check. Ohio State then turned that defense into offense and got a big road win in the conference.
2. Anthony Marshall, UNLV (16 points, 5-of-6 FG, 8 assists, 5 rebounds)
Marshall took the game over in the second half for UNLV in a big home victory over a tough Boise State bubble team. He scored eight points in the final 4:42 of regulation and had a key dribble-drive that opened up Katin Reinhardt for the three-pointer that sealed the game for the Rebels.
3. D.J Cooper, Ohio (First player ever to record 2,000 points, 900 assists, 600 rebounds, 300 steals in career)
What Cooper put the finishing touches on Tuesday is an accomplishment that had never before been achieved in the history of college basketball. He finished with 24 points and five assists in a three-point Ohio win.
1. St. John’s Offense (17-of-56 FG, 40 points)
The young Red Storm were already at a disadvantage offensively without suspended leading scorer D’Angelo Harrison, but Notre Dame was successful in slowing down their transition attack and forcing them to operate in the half court. The result was 30 percent shooting and a lack of overall offensive flow. St. John’s will be without forward Sir’Dominic Pointer after his scuffle with Notre Dame’s Cameron Biedscheid at the end of the game.
2. Illinois Backcourt (11-of-39 FG)
Brandon Paul, D.J. Richardson, and Tracy Abrams combined to shoot 11-of-39 from the floor for an Illinois team that is sliding back into back habits and did not shoot well from the floor in a loss to Iowa. After a bad stretch earlier in the season, the Illini seemed to have bounced back, but will have to stop this slide before it really starts.
3. Arkansas Rebounding (-23 vs. Missouri)
Missouri is a good rebounding team, that’s for certain, but the Razorbacks had little chance Tuesday with a -23 rebounding margin against the Tigers. Arkansas continues to struggle away from home.
Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_