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Indiana Takes On OSU to Remain On Top, Syracuse to Keep Home Streak Alive Against St. John’s

On Saturday, it was a great day to be an underdog in NCAA hoops action. #25 Notre Dame went to five OTs to finally defeat #11 Louisville 104-10 while Wisconsin only needed three OTs to beat #3 Michigan, 65-62. But not every unranked team needed extra time as Oklahoma defeated #5 Kansas 72-66 in regulation time and UNLV beat #15 New Mexico, 64-55.

And who says all the Madness happens in March?

On Sunday, there’s another great slate of games. The days kicks off with #1 Indiana (20-3, 8-2) vs. #10 Ohio State (17-5, 7-3) at 1:00 PM ET. Both teams will look to rebound after buzzer losses in their previous games.

For Big East leader #9 Syracuse (19-3, 7-2), they’ll take on an improving St. John’s (15-8, 7-4) at 3:00 PM ET. Can the Orange win with their depleted group of starters?

#1 Indiana vs. #10 Ohio State

Hoosiers Center Cody Zeller

For the Hoosiers, it’s been a topsy-turvy week with its win over then #1 Michigan last Saturday followed by Thursday’s surprising loss against unranked Illinois. The Fighting Illini outscored them 13-2 at the end and won on a shot at the buzzer.

But looking at history, it shouldn’t have been too much of a surprise considering the Hoosiers arrived in Champaign losing 9 of their last 10 games when playing on the Illini’s home court.

On Sunday, Indiana will play to keep its top AP ranking. It will bring National Player of the Year contender Cody Zeller, the team’s leader for points per game (16.2), rebounds (8.3), and blocks (1.3). The team also has Victor Oladipo who averages 2.3 steals. He’ll likely be matched up against Ohio State’s Aaron Craft (averaging 4.5 assists per game and 2.0 steals), a possible Defensive Player of the Year.

The Buckeyes will want to keep the Hoosiers from rebounding as they are No. 5 nationally for taking 39.9 percent of their own rebounds with Zeller as leader with his 2.9 offensive boards each game and 3.2 for conference play. But Ohio State is talented as well, ranking No. 24 nationally for defensive rebounds.

History may be on their side as the team plays well against No. 1 teams: all time, they are 8-10. In its last two meetings with a #1 Indiana (1983 and 1993), they won. Things may happen in three for the Buckeyes (-1, 138.5 o/u).

#9 Syracuse vs. St. John’s 

Syracuse forward Jerami Grant

After suffering a two-game losing streak, Syracuse appears to be back on track after defeating #25 ND 63-47 last Monday. They shot 48.3 percent in the game and help Notre Dame undergo 34.6 percent shooting from the field and for three-pointers, 6 for 20.

They’ll enter Sunday’s game with the longest home-win streak in Division 1 and with a talented freshman, Jerami Grant, who has stepped up in the absence Dajuan Coleman (knee) and James Sutherland (academic issues). In the Notre Dame game, Grant had 14 points (a season high) and six rebounds.

Also playing at a higher level is C.J. Fair and Rakeem Christmas, who with Grant, had a combined 44 points, 21 rebounds and six blocks against the Fighting Irish.

Playing defense will be key for this team to see another win.

But Syracuse owns St. John’s on its home court as the team is 1-13 against them. Syracuse has outscored them by 14.9 points over their seven-game losses in this match up and while playing at the Carrier Dome, it goes higher to 18.4 from seven consecutive losses.

St. John freshman Jakarr Sampson with his 14.5 point average and team-high 6.6 rebounds said of the Orange, “They are bigger, that zone (defense) causes a lot of problems for teams and they play well together.”

Besides not playing well in Syracuse, St. John’s likes to give up rebounds, sitting at the bottom of the conference with its 40.5 rebounds allowed per game and in its three prior games, the team has shot 36.5 percent.

For Syracuse, they’ll keep their home steak alive on Sunday (-14, 135.5 o/u).

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