4 storylines for Indiana’s game at Ohio State #iubb

1. Can Indiana continue limiting turnovers? Beyond the team’s jump in offensive production, the Hoosiers’ ability to hold on to the ball has been one of the most encouraging developments over the last few months. Indiana’s turnovers are down from 15 per game last season to 11.6 this year, while its 16.7 turnover percentage is the lowest under coach Tom Crean and ranks the Hoosiers at No. 36 nationally, according to KenPom.com. The Buckeyes have a track record for defensive toughness and forced Indiana into 15 turnovers on Jan. 10.

2. A showdown between star backcourts: Indiana has Yogi Ferrell and James Blackmon Jr. Ohio State boasts D’Angelo Russell and Shannon Scott. Blackmon and Russell are two of the top freshmen not only in the conference, but in the entire country. Blackmon trails his classmate Russell for the national scoring lead among freshmen by only 2.4 points per game, while averaging 18 points and shooting 52.9 percent from 3-point range over his last three games. Ferrell and Scott are veteran point guards with savvy and skill. Scott is sixth nationally with 6.9 assists per game, while Ferrell has 14 assists and 1 turnover over his last two games.

3. It’s a big game for IU, but it may be even bigger for Ohio State: For the Buckeyes, Sunday marks the first of back-to-back home games against Indiana and Maryland, and a win for Thad Matta’s team would go a long way toward setting itself up for the second half of the season. Of course, the same is true for the Hoosiers, who head to Purdue once they’re done in Columbus. But for Ohio State, this is an opportunity for a key win over a ranked opponent, which would stand as the Buckeyes’ best win of the season. To this point, their most quality win is an overtime victory at Minnesota, which has disappointed with a 2-6 record in the league. Indiana will need to find a way to keep its edge in a tough environment.

4. Can Troy Williams be the X-factor? Williams was outstanding in the first matchup between the two schools, going off for a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds. In the three games since, Williams has averaged 17.3 points and 6.7 rebounds, while shooting 64.5 percent. As Indiana places four shooters around him in its new-look offense, Williams is arguably the reason why it’s working so well. His ability to work the baseline, draw double teams and become a presence at the rim are all major reasons why the Hoosiers are able to find open shots outside.