4 keys for Indiana’s game against Ohio State

1. Watch the perimeter: Ohio State boasts major shooting threats in freshman sensation D’Angelo Russell and sophomore forward Marc Loving, both of whom can have a huge impact from long range. Loving leads both his team and the Big Ten from beyond the 3-point mark, where he’s shooting 54 percent (30-for-55). He’s also No. 10 in the conference from the free throw line with an 83 percent shooting figure. Russell can get going from just about anywhere and is second nationally among freshmen with 18.3 points per game. He’s also fifth in the country from long range, shooting 45 percent (44-for-96) on 3-pointers. Indiana is No. 5 in the Big Ten in 3-point percentage defense (.313).

2. Bounce-back efforts from Troy Williams and Hanner-Mosquera-Perea: Whether he starts or not, Mosquera-Perea can’t afford to turn in empty efforts like he did on Monday. Neither can Williams, who combined with his maligned frontcourt mate to finish with zero points and only two rebounds. Against the size of Amir Williams and Sam Thompson, Indiana needs an answer defensively. Williams has been extremely effective around the basket this season, shooting 71 percent from the field. Thompson has also been efficient in the paint, shooting 66 percent on his 2-pointers.

3. Get James Blackmon Jr. back on track: Crean returned from a recruiting trip around 9:30 Thursday night and saw Blackmon active and shooting inside Cook Hall, working through an offensive funk that has carried through the freshman’s last five games. Blackmon is shooting only 28 percent (18-of-63) over that span, but Crean said he’s not worried about his ability to bounce back from this skid. As a freshman, Blackmon can’t be expected to lead Indiana every night, but getting him on track now will go a long way.

4. Forget Monday: Indiana had four days to move past its forgettable no-show effort at Michigan State on Monday, when the Hoosiers lacked offensive tenacity, defensive continuity and a whole lot of will. The Hoosiers were dealt a tough hand to open the Big Ten season, with back-to-back road games followed by a matchup against the always-tough Buckeyes. With a win today, IU emerges from this difficult stretch with two wins, setting itself up nicely heading into upcoming games against Penn State and Illinois. One bad loss against Michigan State shouldn’t define the season, but the Hoosiers have to prove it was an aberration. “That just gives us a little extra edge on our homecourt to make a statement,” Yogi Ferrell said.