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Indiana Hoosiers v. Northwestern Wildcats: Hoosiers seek to avenge Evanston loss.

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Northwestern Wildcats
Current record: 15-10 (5-9)
Current RPI:  89 (IU is #162)
Current Sagarin: 65 (IU is #193)
Current Pomeroy: 65 (IU is #69)
2009-10 record: 20-14 (7-11), lost to Rhode Island in first round of NIT
2009-10 RPI: 116
2009-10 Sagarin: 76
2009-10 Pomeroy: 82
Series: IU leads 109-47
Last Northwestern win:

Last IU win: 3/6/2010 (88-80 in Bloomington)
Last Northwestern win in Bloomington: 2/25/2009 (75-53)
Pomeroy scouting report
TV: 7 p.m. Saturday, Big Ten Network

Blogs:  Sippin on Purple, Lake the Posts

After a week's layoff, the Indiana Hoosiers resume play with a home game against Northwestern.  The schedule has been kind to IU in this instance.  While IU has had a week to prepare and regroup since last Saturday's loss at Michigan, Northwestern played a game last night that did not tip off until 8:30 p.m., and now the Wildcats have to head on the road.  Northwestern, which again thought it had a chance at its first-ever NCAA Tournament bid, but that has not panned out.  NU stands at 5-9 in the conference, a game and a half ahead of IU.  A decent finish should assure the Wildcats of an NIT bid.  NU has one Big Ten road win, at Iowa, and has won in Bloomington only once since 1968 (in 2009).  After tomorrow's game, IU's schedule toughens up considerably.  Pomeroy gives IU a 65 percent chance to win tomorrow night but no better than a 24 percent chance in any game after that.  This game isn't IU's last chance for a win, but it will be IU's last regular season game as a favorite.

 

IU's first game against Northwestern, a 93-81 loss in Evanston, was one of the most discouraging performances of the season.  IU played reasonably well offensively but had no concept on defense.  Northwestern's offense, with all of the back door cuts, is tough for many teams, particularly those with young players, but the problem went beyond that.  IU didn't defend the back door, didn't defend the interior, and didn't defend the perimeter.  It was IU's second worst defensive performance of the year, after Boston College.  In the future, I hope that IU's bye weeks line up with games against teams at the top of the conference schedule, but for this IU  team, there's probably no opponent for which a week of preparation would be more beneficial. 


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
John Shurna 23 32.3 5.7 11.1 50.8 2.3 4.7 49.5 3.6 5.0 70.7 0.9 3.4 4.3 2.8 1.8 1.3 0.9 1.5 17.2
Michael Thompson 25 36.0 5.2 11.2 46.1 2.4 6.5 37.0 1.8 2.4 72.1 0.2 1.7 1.9 4.5 1.9 1.6 0.0 2.3 14.5
Drew Crawford 25 30.0 4.8 11.1 43.5 1.8 4.9 35.8 1.2 1.6 73.2 1.4 3.4 4.8 2.1 1.4 1.0 0.7 2.5 12.6
Luke Mirkovic 25 24.6 3.1 6.2 50.6 0.2 0.6 37.5 2.0 2.9 67.1 2.0 3.7 5.7 1.9 1.4 0.7 0.6 2.5 8.4
JerShon Cobb 23 26.4 3.0 7.4 40.9 1.0 3.0 31.9 1.3 1.8 71.4 0.7 2.6 3.3 1.7 0.9 0.7 0.1 1.7 8.3
Alex Marcotullio 25 19.5 1.6 4.0 41.0 1.1 3.0 36.0 0.6 0.8 66.7 0.5 1.6 2.0 2.4 0.8 0.9 0.0 1.8 4.9
Davide Curletti 25 14.2 1.4 3.0 45.9 0.3 0.8 38.1 0.8 1.2 67.7 0.4 1.4 1.8 0.8 0.5 0.2 0.4 2.6 3.9
Nick Fruendt 15 4.5 0.7 1.5 50.0 0.1 0.5 25.0 0.6 0.9 69.2 0.3 0.3 0.7 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.1 0.5 2.2
Mike Capocci 25 10.3 0.8 1.6 51.3 0.1 0.2 40.0 0.4 0.6 62.5 0.9 0.9 1.8 0.7 0.4 0.5 0.2 1.2 2.1
Ivan Peljusic 12 5.1 0.8 1.3 60.0 0.2 0.3 66.7 0.0 0.1 0.0 0.4 0.6 1.0 0.3 0.7 0.2 0.1 0.7 1.7
Jeff Ryan 10 10.1 0.2 0.7 28.6 0.1 0.2 50.0 0.7 0.8 87.5 0.2 1.6 1.8 0.6 0.3 0.3 0.1 0.7 1.2
Reggie Hearn 14 3.2 0.3 0.8 36.4 0.1 0.4 20.0 0.5 0.6 87.5 0.1 0.1 0.3 0.2 0.2 0.1 0.1 0.2 1.1
Austin Nichols 12 2.7 0.1 0.4 20.0 0.0 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.2 0.2 0.0 0.3 0.2


Northwestern continues to heavily rely on its three point shooting, and John Shurna continues his blistering pace of 49 percent on 4.7 attempts per game.  Every major contributor for Northwestern is willing to shoot three pointers.  As frustrating as back door layups are to watch, I would rather see a handful of those than a bunch of uncontested three pointers.  IU generally has shot the ball well at home, and hopefully that trend will take some pressure off on the defensive end.

A win tomorrow would allow IU to equal its 2010 Big Ten win total with four games remaining.  This isn't where we hoped to be at this point in the season, but the schedule still provides some opportunities for progress.  IU blew its last winnable home game, against Iowa.  Hopefully they will learn from the stagnant crunch time offense in that game, will keep attacking, and will beat Northwestern.