#10 Indiana's 74-69 loss to #8 Ohio State leaves a sour taste in the mouth of Teri Moren's squad. It also begs a lot of questions about the Hoosiers. The Buckeyes used a 23-10 third quarter to take control of the game and hang on for the win. Indiana took a five-point lead in the locker room, only to find themselves down by eight points at the end of the third quarter. What did the Buckeyes do to take control of the game?
Ohio State did two things that gave Indiana fits: pressing and trapping on defense and spreading the floor, increasing the tempo on offense. The Buckeyes' trap exposed Indiana's lack of reliable ball handlers outside Chole Moore-McNeil. Sydney Parrish's injury means one less reliable ball handler and one less shooter.
The Buckeyes' press created 23 turnovers, 21 after three quarters. Offensively, Ohio State picked up the tempo and pushed the basketball. While Ohio State did allow some points, Indiana could not slow down the Buckeyes.
While this might seem like nit-picking, the Hoosiers, Teri Moren, Mackenzie Holmes, and the Hoosiers have their eyes set on a deep run in March. It is concerning that Indiana's three losses are against teams also looking to make deep runs in the NCAAs.
Iowa and Stanford exposed Weaknesses with the Hoosiers as well.
Both the Hawkeyes and Cardinal exposed Indiana's struggles with length and athleticism. They are two of the better teams in the country because they are long and athletic. Having Cameron Brink and Caitlyn Clark doesn't hurt either. That also keeps Indiana from being one of the elite college basketball teams.
Mackenzie Holmes is one of the four or five best post players in the country. However, the primary reason those players are better than her is they have more variety in their game. That is also why Indiana struggles when teams up the tempo. Holmes doesn't have three-point range; she struggles outside of 10 feet.
That leaves Indiana with a tremendous challenge: force elite teams to play their style of basketball. They want to play half-court offense and get the basketball into the post, force teams to double Holmes, and kick the basketball out to their shooters. Can they slow down more athletic teams? We'll see this March.