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Northwestern 93, Indiana 81: Hoosier defense...well, you saw the score.

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Ninety three points.  To Northwestern.  Take a look at the box score, and at IU's numbers in particular.  Before the game, any of us would have taken IU's offensive performance.  IU shot 46 percent from the field, made 6-14 three pointers, finally made it to the free throw line with regularity (and made 21 of 25), and corralled 41 percent of offensive rebounding opportunities.  The turnovers (13 in a 70 possession game) were a bit high for a game against Northwestern, but not overwhelmingly so.    IU recorded assists on 18 of 27 made baskets.  But, the defense.  Northwestern plays an unusual offense, and even less-talented Northwestern teams than this one always are good for a few backdoor breakdowns even against the best defensive teams.  But IU was all over the place.  The Hoosiers didn't defend the back door, didn't defend the perimeter, didn't defend the interior.  There appeared to be a lack of communication and breakdowns galore.  Again, this can to some degree be excused because of the opponent, but not to the point of 93 points and 1.32 points per possession.  After falling behind by 24, IU did pull to within 8 in the final two minutes, so they get some credit for not giving up, but this was yet another disappointing and disheartening performance. 

As I noted, this was a decent offensive performance for IU.  some individual performances of note:

  • After a really rough start, Christian Watford finished strong, scoring 17 points on 6-13 from the field.  
  • Verdell Jones III was only 3-13 from the field but had 9 assists and 2 turnovers.
  • Victor Oladipo scored 13 on 4-7/5-6 shooting, but had 4 turnovers.
  • Jeremiah Rivers played reasonably well on the offensive end, scoring 7 points and he had 3 assists.
  • Will Sheehey played well again offensively, scoring 9 points in 12 minutes on 4-5 from the field. 
  • It was another rough night for Maurice Creek, who was pointless in 13 minutes.  
Well, here we are.  Prior to the Big Ten season, most expected a 1-3 record at this point in Big Ten play.  Still, the loss to Penn State combined with the poor showing in Las Vegas makes the current status of the program hard to stomach.  IU has the bye during this week and resumes action at home Saturday night against Michigan, a crucial game.