Technically, when No. 5 Ohio State Buckeyes (15-3, 3-2) host No. 7 Indiana Hoosiers (15-2, 3-2) on Sunday, the national TV audience will be treated to a top ten college basketball matchup.
But what looked to be an epic rematch between two top teams at Value City Arena has turned into a desperation game with each team looking to hold their ground in the Big Ten standings after both teams added a conference loss to their ledger leading up to the matchup.
Ohio State was ambushed on the road at Illinois falling victim to a ridiculous performance by the Illini's Brandon Paul who knocked down eight three-pointers as part of his 43-point game. Indiana simply was caught exhaling by a desperate Minnesota Golden Gophers team who entered Assembly Hall winless in Big Ten play and left with a special W to bring the high-flyin' Hoosiers back to Earth.
The loser of today's game will likely fall out of the top ten in the new rankings that come out on Monday. But the intensity in this game will remain at a fever pitch since both teams are now fighting to remain in the mix for a regular-season conference championship.
Forward Jared Sullinger continues to lead Ohio State with 17.4 points and 9.3 rebounds per game, while the Hoosier counter in the front court with freshman Cody Zeller's 14.7 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. In the last meeting, Indiana guard Victor Oladipo changed the tone of the game with his defensive pressure on the Buckeye backcourt. Ohio State will need to handle that pressure better today and take advantage of the athletic scoring trio of Sullinger, Deshaun Thomas and William Buford to run past the Hoosiers.
The game is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. ET and will be televised on CBS.
For more on the Indiana Hoosiers, check out The Crimson Quarry. For more on the Ohio State Buckeyes, check out Along The Olentangy. You can also head over to SB Nation's main NCAA Basketball hub at SBNation.com/NCAA-Basketball.