No. 2 Ohio State suffered its first loss of the season on Monday against Iowa, but the Buckeyes weren’t afforded much time at all to recover, now tasked with going on the road Thursday to face No. 6 Indiana.
This is the second-consecutive top-10 matchup for Ohio State, who sits at 19-1 (8-1 Big Ten) this season after falling to the Hawkeyes. The Hoosiers check in at 18-1 (8-1), and this is the first meeting this season between these teams after Indiana won both meetings last season.
“Indiana’s excellent,” Ohio State head coach Kevin McGuff said Monday. “They’re one of the best teams in the country – one of the best defensive teams, for sure. We’re going to have to be way better than we were tonight.”
The Hoosiers – who allow just 59.8 points per game – have been led this seasonably forward Mackenzie Holmes (21.9 points and 8.3 rebounds per game on 67.3 percent shooting) and guard Grace Berger, who Indiana got back after missing eight games earlier in the season.
Indiana also has a pair of guards – Yarden Garzon and Sydney Parrish – scoring in double digits in addition to guard Chloe Moore-McNeil, who is dishing out a team-high 5.1 assists per contest. The Hoosiers’ combined 50.3 percent shooting from the field is second in the country, presenting a significant challenge for Ohio State after allowing Iowa to shoot 47.7 percent from the field.
Other problems Ohio State will need to sort out against a tough Indiana team is rebounding, of which the Buckeyes were outpaced 51-31 against Iowa, and three-point shooting, where Ohio State was just 4 of 25 against the Hawkeyes.
It continues a challenging stretch for the Buckeyes as they hit the brunt of Big Ten play, and Ohio State is hoping the loss to Iowa doesn’t spiral into a losing streak after a positive start to the season.
“It is easier to buckle down after a loss because nobody wants to lose two games in a row, let alone one,” freshman forward Cotie McMahon said. “We’re all going to be really focused. No time for jokes or anything. We’re here for one thing and it’s to beat Indiana.”
Ohio State and Indiana will tip off at 8:30 p.m., with the game set to be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.