Northwestern 78, Indiana 61: Hoosiers suffer inevitable letdown.

I would have been more disappointed in the outcome if it hadn't been so predictable.  In the last two games, IU had (pardon the cliche) left it all on the court in painfully close losses to Illinois and Purdue.  It didn't surprise me that a Sunday afternoon roadtrip to Northwestern amounted to a step back.  Northwestern led 18-4 just 7 minutes into the game, and the Hoosiers never got closer than 9 for the rest of the game.  The Hoosiers turned in one of their very worst defensive performances of the season.  Northwestern's 1.23 points per possession was IU's worst defensive total of the season, second only to the Kentucky game.  NU shot 52 percent from the field and 40 percent from behind the arc.  IU has quietly become a moderately above average defensive team, but not on Sunday. 
As for Northwestern, things looked dicey for Bill Carmody when he went 1-17 in the conference a couple of years ago, but finally he has built the team that most (or at least I) expected him to build at NU when he made the move from Princeton.  NU shot well, took good care of the ball, assisted 21 of 25 field goals, and back-doored IU literally from the first possession.  It may have been an overreaction, but I concluded that IU was going to lose after NU's backdoor layup on the first possession.  Honestly, it's Northwestern.  If you can't successfully defend the backdoor for 30 seconds, what hope is there?

Well, the game wasn't entirely without merit for the Hoosiers.  Verdell Jones turned in another efficient performance, scoring 28 points on 14 attempts thanks to 12-13 from the line.  Christian Watford scored 16 points on 11 shots thanks to 6-8 from the line.  IU's single bright spot as a team was shooting 23-27 from the line. 

Sorry for slacking on the headlines.  Here is some postgame coverage:

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