4 storylines for IU’s game vs. Ohio State

1. Kaleb Wesson is back
Ohio State’s best player will be on the court for the first time since Feb. 26 when the Buckeyes meet the Hoosiers on Thursday afternoon. Wesson, Ohio State’s leading scorer and rebounder, was reinstated this week from a three-game suspension for a violation of athletic department policy. The sophomore center is averaging 14.6 points per game and 6.7 rebounds per contest, and his absence was among the primary reasons for Ohio State’s losses to Purdue, Northwestern and Wisconsin. Wesson scored 10 points and posted four rebounds against IU on Feb. 10. “He’s such an unbelievable presence, in terms of being able to play around him,” IU coach Archie Miller said. “He’s a big body that creates angles and flips his hips. He’s a true low post player with really good technique and feet, and he has great touch around the basket.”

2. Tournament troubles
This event hasn’t been kind to Indiana over the years. The Hoosiers are 12-21 in Big Ten Tournament, posting the second-worst winning percentage (.364) among the 11 oldest conference members. Only Northwestern (9-21, .300) has fared worse at the league’s annual tournament since the event’s inception in 1998. Indiana has made only one appearance in the Big Ten Tournament final, and hasn’t won more than one game at the event since advancing to the semifinals in 2003. The tournament is back in Chicago for the first time since 2015, when IU beat Northwestern before falling to Maryland. No current IU player has ever played in the event at the United Center. The Hoosiers are 2-1 against Ohio State in Big Ten Tournament history, with the last meeting coming in 2006.

3. Jackson has IU’s number
C.J. Jackson is making a habit of hurting the Hoosiers during his career. The senior guard drilled clutch 3-pointers in each of his final two trips to Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, sinking a 25-footer in the final seconds of double overtime to lift Ohio State to a win in 2018. Then, in the Feb. 10 meeting, Jackson connected on a late 3 that tied the game at 52-52 with 1:11 left in the Buckeyes’ eventual 55-52 victory. Jackson leads Ohio State with 12.8 points in four career meetings with Indiana. He enters the postseason after dropping in 22 points and posting five rebounds and five assists against Wisconsin on Sunday.

4. Backcourt boost
Strong guard play is crucial to success in March. Right now, Indiana can feel as comfortable as it has all year with the play of its backcourt. Rob Phinisee and Devonte Green have combined to help put the Hoosiers back on track to postseason success. During IU’s current four-game winning streak, Phinisee has logged 132 minutes with 18 assists and only two turnovers. Green, meanwhile, has made seven of his last 14 3-point attempts over the last three games, scoring 16 points against Rutgers and 11 points at Illinois.

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