College Basketball: Why Ohio State at Indiana Is the Game to Watch This Week

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMarch 3, 2013

COLUMBUS, OH - FEBRUARY 10:  Cody Zeller #40 of the Indiana Hoosiers drives to the hoop to lay in the ball past the defense of Shannon Scott #3 of the Ohio State Buckeyes in the first half on February 10, 2013 at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

With one week left in the regular season for the BCS conferences, there are plenty of regular season honors still up for grabs, including the Big Ten title.

Ohio State (21-7,11-5) at Indiana (25-4, 13-3); Tuesday 9 p.m. ET; TV: ESPN

The Big Ten has been the most entertaining conference in America this season, and two of the conference's heavyweights will do battle at Assembly Hall on Tuesday night.

Ohio State proved that they could actually take down ranked opposition on February 24 when they beat Michigan State at home. 

While the Buckeyes' confidence is soaring at the moment, they will have to play their best game of the season to defeat the Hoosiers. 

Thad Matta's team are currently on a three-game winning streak, and they had a valuable off date during the weekend to prepare for their trip to Bloomington.

The Buckeyes are led by junior Deshaun Thomas, who is averaging 19.8 points per game, and junior Aaron Craft.

In the first meeting between the two teams in Columbus, Thomas was on the mark with 26 points, but the rest of his teammates failed to live up to his performance.

Craft, who is regarded as one of the best defenders in the nation, scored 16 points back on February 10. The real impact that Craft will have on the game will come on the defensive end as he will assigned with the difficult task of dealing with Indiana's excellent guards. 

On the offensive end of the ball, Thomas will need some support from the players in the paint so he can get open looks on the perimeter.

The trio of Evan Ravenel, Sam Thompson and Amir Williams will have their hands full with Cody Zeller and Christian Watford on both ends of the court.

If the Ohio State trio can get one or both of the Indiana big men into foul trouble, it could open the game up for the Buckeyes. 

Indiana were upset on the road for the second time this season on Tuesday at Minnesota, a loss which marked the end of their run as the top-ranked team in the country. 

The Hoosiers have lost just one game at Assembly Hall this season, and they are expected to defend their home court for one last time this season against Ohio State. 

Tuesday's game will have a deeper meaning for Jordan Hulls and Watford, both of whom will be playing their final game in front of the Indiana faithful. 

It also may be the final game in front of the home fans for Zeller and Victor Oladipo, who both have big decisions to make when the season ends in regards to their professional careers. 

Oladipo has transformed into a National Player of the Year candidate this season, and as one of Indiana's best defenders, he will be asked to shut down Thomas on the perimeter. 

While all of the attention will be on Oladipo and Zeller, Hulls will be motivated to end his home career on a strong note. 

The senior sharpshooter is shooting 48.6 percent from three-point range and is capable of draining consecutive shots from downtown in a heartbeat. 

As if those three stars were not enough to be worried about, the Hoosiers also have a dangerous sixth man in Will Sheehey, who is capable of making an instant impact off of the bench. 

Indiana may be one of the deepest teams in the nation, and they can hit you from all angles of the court on a consistent basis.

That is exactly what Ohio State has lacked this season, as Thomas and Craft have been the only two consistent performers for the Buckeyes. 

Indiana is the clear favorite going into the game, and unless something catastrophic happens in Bloomington on Tuesday night, the Hoosiers should be victorious and head into their clash with Michigan on Sunday with the Big Ten title outright. 

Who do you think will win the game of the week?

Comment below or leave me a comment on Twitter, @JTansey90. 


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