COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ohio State’s second date with the Indiana Hoosiers will be the first game this season the Buckeyes will play without standout freshman D.J. Carton. The point guard announced on Twitter he’s taking an indefinite leave of absence due to mental health issues:
Carton has been starting alongside point guard C.J. Walker and has been an integral part of this Buckeyes’ team. The freshman averages the fourth-most minutes per game (23.9), the third-most points (10.4) and the second most assists per game (3.0). Carton is also only one of four players who has played all 20 games for OSU this season. His absence comes at a pivotal time for the Buckeyes who have lost five of their last seven games.
It remains to be seen who will step in for Carton in those categories, but his replacement as a starter will likely be sophomore guard Luther Muhammad. That means Ohio State’s starting five will look like this: Walker (point guard), Muhammad (shooting guard), Andre Wesson (shooting forward), Kyle Young (power forward) and Kaleb Wesson (center).
OSU (13-7, 3-6) is coming off a 71-59 win over Northwestern and showed flashes of why this team was ranked as high as number two in the country back in December.
59 points is the fewest Ohio State has allowed since December 17th when the Buckeyes were still top-10 in the country in scoring defense. One of the weakest parts of Ohio State’s game is its inability to take care of the ball with the Buckeyes averaging 13.7 turnovers a rank, which ranks 200th out of 350th in the country. The Buckeyes also rank second to last in the Big Ten in turnover margin at -1.1 with the team averaging 12.6 assists per game.
One of Ohio State’s strengths is its ability to shoot from three-point range with the Buckeyes shooting 38.2 percent from long-range, which ranks 21st in the country and first in the Big Ten.
The Buckeyes will go up against an Indiana team that’s lost back-to-back games including a 64-49 beta down to Penn State with 49 points being the fewest the Hoosiers have scored all season. These two teams squared off in Bloomington three weeks ago when the Hoosiers took down then-ranked OSU 66-54.
Tip-off for that game at the Schottstein Center is set for noon.