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Indiana Hoosiers v. Northwestern State Demons: IU and NSU meet for third consecutive season.

Northwestern State Demons
Current record: 3-2
2009-10 record: 10-20 (5-11 in Southland Conference)
2009-10 RPI: 290
2009-10 Sagarin: 303
2009-10 Pomeroy: 313
Pomeroy scouting report
Series: IU leads 2-0
TV: 7:30 p.m., bigtenentwork.com

The Tom Crean era began with an 18-point win over Northwestern State, and IU won by the same margin in 2009-10.  The Demons visit Assembly Hall for the third consecutive season when they play Indiana tonight.  Unfortunately, for the first time since the advent of the BTN, an IU home game is not available on the BTN itself, but on bigtennetwork.com (who do they think we are?  Purdue?). 

NSU is 3-2, with wins over lesser competition and with losses to LSU and Memphis.  Last season, the Demons finished 10-20 and they were 11-20 the year before.  As always, the Demons are among the fastest-paced teams in the nation, averaging 75 possessions per game.  The Demons leading scorer is senior Will Pratt, who is averaging 22 points per game despite coming off the bench and playing only 25 minutes per game.  Pratt scored 10 points against IU last year.  Devon Baker, a dangerous three point shooter, averages 18 per game and is shooting 40 percent from behind the arc.    He led NSU with 14 points against IU last year.

 

As noted above, the Demons are an extremely fast-paced team.  In addition, they excel at forcing turnovers.  Over 30 percent of the Demons' defensive possessions end in a turnover by the opponent.  IU's numbers against NSU in both seasons weren't horrible by IU's standards, but this is something to watch.  If IU manages to take care of the ball, then that may be a good sign.  And again, given the Demons' extraordinarily high pace, this is a game in which the tempo-free numbers will tell the story much more clearly than a quick glance at the box score. 

This is the last warmup game for the Hoosiers before their first real test of the season, the trip next Wednesday to Chestnut Hill, Mass. to play Boston College.  BC isn't a great team, but the Eagles will be IU's first major conference opposition and the game will be the Hoosiers' first away from Assembly Hall.  So far, the Hoosiers haven't always been pretty, but the record is what it had to be by this point, and a 6-0 start would be a major improvement over the last two seasons, regardless of the quality of the competition.