The first half started off as a good old fashioned passionate a** whoopin, and turned into the type where you get your shoes coat and hat token. Just to quote Eminem in what was an impressive win for the Hoosiers over Ohio State on Sunday.
The Hoosiers were 3-0 in Big Ten play entering the game vs the Buckeyes, but with top scorer, James Blackmon Jr., out for the season and 3 wins vs subpar opponents it was a game that was to be the first true test for the Hoosiers.
The Hoosiers scored a perfect A for the home test.
The Buckeyes were 3-0 entering the contest as well. They would fall to 3-1.
The Hoosiers scored the first 10 points to go up 10-0, and they never looked back. Troy Williams who has been ‘Good Troy/Bad Troy’ all year was Good Troy on Sunday. He had 16 points in the first half leading the Hoosiers to a 30 point lead halftime. Ohio State only had 18 points.
It was an impressive team effort by the Hoosiers in the first half who played the best defense of the season to date. Freshman big man, Thomas Bryant had 18 points with 13 boards, and was the centerpiece that IU fans thought he could be on defense. He wasn’t alone playing D, and that has been the difference in the last 9 games.
Tom Crean had never started 4-0 in Big Ten play until now, and for a team that bombed in the Maui tournament earlier this season, Crean has to feel the heat from the hot seat cooling off to some degree.
The Hoosiers are now playing like the preseason number #13 ranking they lost in Maui and at Duke losing by 20. The Hoosiers have won these 4 conference games playing man to man defense, moving the basketball on offense, and staying away from gimmick zones.
The bench play of Ogugua Anunoby and Juwan Morgan is a big reason for the success on defense. OG came off the bench for 7 points and 4 rebounds, and continued his case for 6th man of the year in the Big Ten.
Assembly Hall was rocking, and the IU fans were back to being Good fans. The IU fan base has been as rocky as Troy William’s play this season, but with an impressive win vs a Big Ten rival, they cries for Crean’s head have stopped.
4-0 is a great start, but just like Bad Troy coming back, the fans are only one loss away from calling for Crean’s job.
If the Hoosiers continue to play like they did on Sunday, Crean and the Hoosiers will be on road to a tourney bid.
Seth Davis said postgame that IU could be a Final Four team. It is a bit early for any prediction that large, but 4-0 is a great start.
Good Troy Williams finished the game with 23 points and only 1 turnover. Yogi Ferrell had 16 points and dropped 6 dimes for a solid game leading the team, and his backcourt partner, Robert Johnson, had a solid game with 11 points, 6 assists, and 6 boards.
The only bad thing for the Hoosiers was senior Nick Zeisloft failed to end his shooting slump missing 8 shots including going 0-7 from behind the arc.
Other Game Notes
The final score was 85-60 in a 25 point IU win.
The Buckeyes avoided what would’ve been the most lopsided loss of the Thad Matta era. That was a 28-point loss to West Virginia in 2008.
The Buckeyes host Rutgers (6-11, 0-4) on Wednesday. Tip-off from Value City Arena is at 6:30 p.m.
At one point a Hoosier fan yelled out “hey Lyle how was the recruiting trip to Louisville!” Lyle was one of the recruits that came out and said Louisville was using escorts to help bring in players.
Could it also be the injury of Blackmon Jr is actually helping the Hoosiers?