Tom Crean has Indiana at top of Big Ten after beatdown of Ohio State

Indiana is now 2-0 since James Blackmon underwent knee surgery and was ruled out for the season, still undefeated in conference play (4-0) and looked as sharp as they have all season in the first half of an 85-50 win vs. Ohio State on Sunday.

Troy Williams, Yogi Ferrell and Thomas Bryant were in double figures before halftime, while Ohio State missed 18 of its first 25 shots and trailed by 30 at the break. The bleeding never really stopped, and though the Hoosiers had stretches in the second half where the flow stalled and Ohio State cut into the lead, the outcome was never in doubt.

It was a particularly impressive game for freshman big man Thomas Bryant. Bryant recorded his first double-double with 18 points and a career-high 13 rebounds. In addition to cleaning up on the boards, he was active inside and energetic throughout the game.

If Indiana is going to be a bubble team, Tom Crean is going to be the center of attention when the Hoosiers head to the Big Ten conference tournament. But he shouldn’t be, because this team is really good team and we should be talking about the players; Williams, Ferrell and Bryant are as a good a trio as you’ll find in the Big Ten.

No one in the Big Ten is scoring more or shooting the ball at a higher percentage than the Hoosiers, so there really should be no reason to worry about this team’s postseason status. The Hoosiers were a bubble team in Jerry Palm’s Bracketology coming into the week, but wins against Wisconsin and Ohio State have them at the top of the standings with better odds to make the field of 68 in March.

As encouraging as this win is for Indiana, it’s also a very concerning loss for Ohio State. The Buckeyes won seven straight coming into Sunday’s game, including wins over Kentucky and Northwestern, but have struggled on the road. That trend does not bode well for Thad Matta’s team head into big road games against Maryland and Purdue in the next two weeks.

Thomas Bryant had his first double-double against Ohio State. (USATSI)

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