Ohio State Would Gain Energy From Young's Return vs. IU
Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann may know more than he's sharing or his pronouncement on Kyle Young's availability for a noon Saturday game at Indiana might pass muster if hooked to a polygraph.
There's no way to know, and there's no reason for Holtmann to let Indiana know if indeed he knows -- which he said he does not -- whether Young can return from a two-game absence since an appendectomy two weeks ago.
"As far as Kyle, it's going to be really up until game time," Holtmann said. "He was able to do a few more things (Thursday). He was able to move and do some things. Its probably too early to determine exactly what his status will be. Obviously, he's more ready to play than he was the other night. So, We'll see."
Good luck crafting a game plan off that, Archie Miller, although the Hoosiers' head coach really has no worries about matching up size-wise with the 6-7 Young should he return.
IU goes 6-11, 6-9, 6-7 across the front line, so it has ample options to handle OSU's leading scorer, 6-9 Kaleb Wesson, and Young.
The Buckeyes (11-4, 1-3 Big Ten) have lost three straight and seen their offense deteriorate since Young played through pain to grab 11 rebounds in a loss to West Virginia that started the skid.
OSU scored 69 points in that defeat, 67 at home in a loss to Wisconsin and then 65 on Tuesday at Maryland without Young's steadying influence and timely contributions of 8.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and a team best 67% field goal percentage.
"He's not the guy you're looking at and saying you're counting on him to be a double-figure scorer," Holtmann said. "But in some ways, what he's doing is he plays off others so well that he allows others to get shots. Sometimes, the way we play, some of our lineups without Kyle, we've had situations where guys weren't patient enough. Kyle kind of lets it happen."
Ohio State shot 30% against Wisconsin and 31% against Maryland without Young in the lineup, easily its two worst shooting performances of the season.
"When we have had lulls with Kyle in the lineup, he's been a guy who's either caught a dump-down or gotten an offensive rebound that kept a possession alive," Holtmann said. "Listen, it's not like he's the answer to all our offensive issues, we understand that."
Some timely three-point shooting would certainly help.
OSU went a season-low 5-of-27 against Maryland.
Those shots may be there against Indiana, which is 10th in the league in field goal percentage defense.
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