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Victor Oladipo’s importance shows as No. 1 Indiana rolls over No. 10 Ohio State

Feb 10, 2013, 3:19 PM EDT

Victor Oladipo AP

It was a turnover that ultimately sank No. 1 Indiana on Thursday in a last-second loss to Illinois on the road. Victor Oladipo lost control of the ball on Indiana’s final possession and, despite blocking a breakaway layup to preserve the game for the moment, Tyler Griffey’s layup at the buzzer off an in-bounds pass delivered the upset.

But that Oladipo, the one who was just 3-of-7 from the floor Thursday night, was nowhere to be found on Sunday against No. 10 Ohio State.

Oladipo scored 26 points on 8-of-10 shooting and was the engine behind Indiana’s offensive attack, as the Hoosiers cruised to an impressive 81-68 win over Ohio State at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio, on Sunday afternoon.

Emerging alongside sophomore Cody Zeller, Oladipo has proven that if he is able to get going, the Indiana offense follows suit. Take a look at Indiana’s two losses in Big Ten play.

On Thursday against Illinois and earlier in the year against Wisconsin, Oladipo went 3-of-7 from the floor in both. That 43 percent clip is 21 percentage points off his astronomical season average of nearly 64 percent from the floor.

His offensive prowess only adds to what he does on the defensive end, where he excels whether or not he is in a groove offensively. Sunday, he was part of an Indiana attack that isolated Deshaun Thomas and made him Ohio State’s only real scoring option with 26 points on the afternoon.

Though Aaron Craft added 16 points, Thomas accounted for 38.2 percent of Ohio State’s offensive output. That number is up from the already large 27.6 percent stake that he has held over the course of the season. Credit that to Oladipo and the rest of the Indiana defense.

The Hoosiers hope to hold on to the No. 1 spot in the polls, come Monday, but will have that Illinois loss counting against them.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

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