In a game where we should have expected a win, the results happened pretty much as they should have. After a solid month of stuff just not going how it is supposed to go a true road win, even against a poor opponent is surprising. After going into West Lafayette and getting trounced by Purdue in a game where they just gave up, I really didn't expect any sort of bounce back. I'm not certain many were really expecting anything other than signs of a team that has just given up. Instead we saw a team with some flaws, but still plenty of fight.
The final differential of 5 points was actually on the low side of things. For the most part the game broke open after halftime and remained a 7-10 point game for a majority of the remainder. The Hoosiers built up a 7 point lead at the 16 minute mark in the second half and the spread didn't drop below that until 3 minutes remained. Indiana, though struggling to execute at times still had their best offensive performance in quite some time.
As you know Northwestern came into the game as the #10 defense in the nation allowing under .92 points per possession. Obviously that's quite good and the fact that Indiana's offense was able to put together 1.11 points per possession should be encouraging. Northwestern even threw a lot of zone at the Hoosiers late in the game and though it did slow them to an extent, it wasn't ever enough to completely shut them down. In fact, for a full squad only Etherington, Stan and Will were inefficient.
Defensively, the Hoosiers showed to still have some issues they need to work out. I've always been a fan of Alex Olah, but he's not a guy that should score 17 points and pull down 11 rebounds in a Big Ten game. Just shouldn't happen. He's come along a ton as a defensive player in his second year, but his offensive game should mostly be limited to put backs and dump passes. You have to be concerned a bit of Indiana's interior defense when he racks up a double double.
1.02 points per possession from one of the nation's worst offenses is not a good thing. The Hoosiers for all their projectable talent just cannot put together a complete game. I guess that's a measure of youth, but it's still been 27 games. That excuse is played out at this point. Now that's not to say that Indiana didn't string together some good defensive runs. For the first 10 minutes of the second half Northwestern scored 6 points. That's obviously very good and hard to replicate, but a poor offense like Northwestern should be able to break into the 20s like they did in the final 10 minutes of the game.
On the whole, you just have to accept the game for what it was. It was a win. No matter how ugly or attractive games are from here on out, you just have to ask for the W at the end. The Hoosiers have a brutal schedule coming up this week. Away game at Wisconsin on Tuesday, home against Iowa on Thursday and home against Ohio State on Saturday. Brutal. But hey! Win all three and we're back in the tournament mix. So there's that. But if I were you, I would just be ecstatic with getting 1. Anything more than that is just gravy.