A few days after a postponed game against Iowa, Indiana has to try and find the mental mindset to exact revenge on Norhtwestern for the embarrassment they handed Indiana on their own floor in January. The Hoosiers in that game never settled in or looked comfortable. It was easily their worst offensive game to date. They missed double digit layups and shot under 30% in the game. I'm not sure the historic numbers, but I can't imagine there are many teams that have shot so poorly and still won.
Indiana is going to have to fight past that. Poor shooting isn't something they can survive with at home and they sure as hell aren't going to get away with that in Chicago. Northwestern comes into this game with a top 15 defense in the nation and a bottom thirty offense. They've also been firmly planted next to Indiana on the struggle bus having lost the last 4 straight.
Obviously the last thing you need to fear with Northwestern is them putting the ball in the basket. They don't have a single player that rates as an average offensive player. In fact, only sophomore Kale Abrahamson is worth even a point per possession. As poor as Indiana has been on offense, that is still very very bad.In their first game against the Hoosiers they scored a measly .84 points per possession. With the strength of Indiana's defense, I don't think stringing stops together is going to be the problem.
On the flip side, you could call Northwestern's defense elite. They play an old Wisconsin game where they grind games to a halt and make few mistakes. They rarely force a turnover, but they don't need to. You just have to play lengthy possessions and try and find something through half court sets. To be frank that's really what they're the best at. Teams don't shoot the best against them, but we've seen more smothering defenses in terms of preventing shots.
To be completely honest, as I look at the numbers I can't really figure out where they truly excel to be a #10 defense. Somehow, some way with some Chris Collins black magic they prevent teams from scoring at nationally elite clip without truly being elite in any certain category. Truly their best defensive stat is something they can't effect. Free throw percentage. Teams usually don't hit their free throws against Northwestern. I don't know why that is other than dumb luck.
Overall, once again I feel like this should be a win for Indiana. But, stop me if you've heard this, you really just can't be confident about what Indiana is going to offer you. Pomeroy is giving Northwestern the 1 point victory, but as I look at the numbers I just can't find how that happens. Then again confidence is the last thing Hoosier Nation should be feeling. More than likely it's going to be a very ugly affair. All you can ask for is win. Nothing more, nothing less. Just win.
Stick around for the game as this will serve as the game thread as well. Go Hoosiers.