clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Northwestern game.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Northwestern Wildcats
Current record: 7-11
Big Ten record: 0-7
Current RPI: 208
Current Sagarin: 192
2006-07 record: 11-18 (2-14)
2006-07 RPI: 178
2006-07 Sagarin: 143
Series: IU leads 105-43
Last IU win: 2/28/07 (69-65 in Evanston)
Last Northwestern win: 1/5/05 (72-53 in Evanston)
Last Northwestern win in Bloomington: 1/13/68 (86-81)
TV: 12 pm Sunday, BTN
Blog: Lake the Posts
Northwestern is the only school that IU has defeated more than 100 times (although IU's next win over OSU will be #100). The Wildcats have lost 32 games in a row in Bloomington, and last won there in 1968, when IU played in the fieldhouse next door and Bob Knight was the coach at Army. Since that 1968 home loss, IU has lost to NU only eight times, but the Hoosiers lost three in a row in Evanston from 2003-2005.
After flirting with quasi-respectability for a few years, NU now seems to be as bad as ever. The Wildcats are 0-7 in the Big Ten and Pomeroy gives the Wildcats no better than a 40 percent chance to win any single game in the conference. Western Michigan is the only team with a pulse that NU has defeated. NU has lost all of its Big Ten games (including home games against Penn State and Michigan) by ten or more points, and in their last conference game, NU was nearly doubled up (70-37) by a pretty dreadful Illinois team. In short, if this game shows even a glimmer of competitiveness, its yet more bad news for the Hoosiers.
As always, Northwestern plays slowly, as is typical of the Princeton system that Bill Carmody brought to Northwestern. NU plays at about 63 possessions per game, #304 nationally this is actually NU's fastest team of the last five years). I've said this before, but this slow pace fuels a misperception that NU is a good defensive team. They are not. NU is #293 nationally in defensive efficiency, allowing 1.07 points per possession. The Wildcats do force a good number of turnovers (#26 nationally in defensive turnover percentage, #11 nationally in steal percentage). Otherwise, NU ranks #299 or worse in the following categories: effective field goal percentage, rebounding percentage, 3 point defense, 2 point defense. If short, if NU doesn't steal the ball, the opponent is likely to score. Offensively, the picture is a bit better. NU is #212 nationally at .996 points per possession. The Wildcats, as would be expected, are among the nation's leaders in assist percentage and percentage of three point attempts. Unfortunately, the Wildcats are shooting only 35 percent from three point range (that's really poor for a team that takes 44.2 percent of its shots from behind the arc). Northwestern takes good care of the ball--NU turns the ball over on only 17.9 percent of possessions. On the bad side, Northwestern doesn't prioritize getting to the line or offensive rebounding.
Kevin Coble, who missed NU's first nine games so that he could spend time with his mother, who has breast cancer, has led NU in scoring since his return. Coble shoots 50 percent from two point range and 43 percent from behind the arc. He's also NU's only regular taller than 6-6. It seems likely that DJ White will have a big game. NU's next three leading scorers, Craig Moore, Michael Thompson, and Jason Okrzesik, shoot from 41-43 percent from the field.
Not much to say here. This team is bad by any standard, and IU should win comfortably.