What to Expect: Minnesota

  • 02/25/2012 11:54 am in

Indiana looks for its third road win in conference play on Sunday when they meet Minnesota at Williams Arena. Minnesota won the first meeting, 77-74, in Bloomington on Jan. 12. It’s the final road game for the Hoosiers. (Photo credit: IU Athletics.)

The game will be shown on ESPN (Dave O’Brien and Dan Dakich) and broadcast on the IU radio network:

As Indiana and Minnesota prepare for tomorrow’s game that will be broadcast to a national television audience, there are intriguing story lines surrounding both teams.

For the Hoosiers, who have won four of their last five, this game has Big Ten Tournament and NCAA Tournament seeding implications. IU could still finish as low as seventh in the Big Ten due to Iowa’s recent surge and a home game in a little over a week with Purdue. And if IU hopes to remain in the hunt for a top four seed in the NCAA Tournament, this is a game that would help solidify their position.

From a personnel standpoint, the Hoosiers also need to get juniors Christian Watford and Jordan Hulls back on track offensively. Watford is just 4-of-24 from the field over IU’s last three games and has been held to just three points over the last two. Hulls’ seven turnovers over his previous three games matches his total number of points scored.

Minnesota looked to be in good position for the NCAA Tournament after a win over Nebraska on Feb. 5, but the Golden Gophers have dropped four straight and probably need to win out and do damage in the Big Ten Tournament to get back in the mix. Their problems, which were outlined by Star Tribune beat writer Amelia Rayno on Podcast on the Brink, stem from their inability to close out games like Wednesday’s loss to Michigan State. The Gophers led the Spartans 48-39 midway through the second half, but collapsed down the stretch and fell 66-61. Does Minnesota have any fight left after four straight losses? Or will its recent skid snowball into another defeat?

POMEROY PREVIEW

Indiana has three key areas it’ll need to either exploit or improve upon to win this game. The first is creating turnovers at a much higher rate than they did in the first meeting. Minnesota posted a conference-low turnover rate of 16.4 in Bloomington, but they’re coughing the ball up at a rate of 22.0 in league games. That’s last in the Big Ten.

Second, IU must get to the foul line. In road wins at Penn State and Purdue, the Hoosiers posted a free throw rate (FTA/FGA) of greater than 60 percent. In losses at Michigan State, Ohio State, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Michigan, their free throw rate was under 30 percent. With Minnesota allowing an opponent free throw rate of 42.8 in conference play, second worst in the league, IU has an opportunity to make a living at the line.

And finally, IU has to improve on the defensive glass from the first meeting. The Hoosiers allowed Minnesota to rebound 43.2 percent of their misses. That’s IU’s worst performance of the season on the defensive glass to-date this season.

OTHER NOTES

Indiana’s last win at “The Barn” came on Jan. 17, 2008. The Hoosiers won 65-60. … Per IU media relations, the Hoosiers are the most improved team among major conference programs with a +9 in the win column from the previous season. … A win on Sunday would give the Hoosiers a 6-6 record in games away from Assembly Hall.

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  • I would still be happily surprised if we pull this one out. Keep waiting for the toughness and defense we played with earlier this year to return, but we have a lot of guys currently out mentally right now. We will see how bad they want this for the seniors.

  • Walt

    IMHO, looking at 2 players vs. 2 other players;  Victor and Will seem to thrive when they get the juices going and athleticism working. example last game.  Jordan and Christian, when they get a little out of control, either get stuffed or cough the ball up. Jordy and CWat do get in the zone (previous games) but if they stay within their limitations they can do great.  Vic and Will do their best when they are stretching their limits. Hope this makes sense.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I personally feel like this is a must win game.  I think IU can’t afford another loss before the PUke game!  PUke is going to lose at Michigan, putting IU one game ahead of PUke and Iowa in the loss column.  Right now IU sits at 5th in the conference and I feel like their overall resume is better than Michigan or Wisconsin’s.  If they win out and win a game or two in the B1G tourney then they’re sitting pretty on selection Sunday.  Lose at Minny and their even in the loss column with an Iowa team that’s playing very well with three winnable games left on their schedule and PUke who will be head hunting at IU if they think they can get one up on us or draw even!

    What I’m saying is that IU could easily drop from 5th to 8th if they don’t win this game at Minny with two tough home games left.  An 8th place finish would not look good on selection Sunday and it sure wouldn’t be good because we would then have a tough go of it in the B1G tournament. 

    This team is good enough to win out!  I can concede the loss to Iowa because the Hawkeyes have been able to beat IU, Mich, and Wisc twice.  I still can’t believe Iowa drew the schedule to where two of their single plays were OSU and MSU!!!  What luck!!!  Anyway, Minny has really no good wins in the conference other than at IU so we need to even that up and get a win at the Barn!

    I understand that IU is in the tournament.  I just don’t want to settle for backing in and getting an 8 seed or something like that when this team is perfectly capable of getting hot again and pulling out a 4 or possible 3 seed! 

    It’s very simple to me . . . CWat and Jordy Hulls need to get their crap together and play like the solid junior leaders they are starting tomorrow at 1 o’clock!  I’m joining others who have called these guys out!  As a former college athlete who went through slumps (baseball is a game of slumps) I know that sometimes you just need to be challenged and called out in order to get back on track.  Let’s do it CW and JH!!!

    The rest of this season really depends on the two of you and whether you are going to lead or fade.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I personally feel like this is a must win game.  I think IU can’t afford another loss before the PUke game!  PUke is going to lose at Michigan, putting IU one game ahead of PUke and Iowa in the loss column.  Right now IU sits at 5th in the conference and I feel like their overall resume is better than Michigan or Wisconsin’s.  If they win out and win a game or two in the B1G tourney then they’re sitting pretty on selection Sunday.  Lose at Minny and their even in the loss column with an Iowa team that’s playing very well with three winnable games left on their schedule and PUke who will be head hunting at IU if they think they can get one up on us or draw even!

    What I’m saying is that IU could easily drop from 5th to 8th if they don’t win this game at Minny with two tough home games left.  An 8th place finish would not look good on selection Sunday and it sure wouldn’t be good because we would then have a tough go of it in the B1G tournament. 

    This team is good enough to win out!  I can concede the loss to Iowa because the Hawkeyes have been able to beat IU, Mich, and Wisc twice.  I still can’t believe Iowa drew the schedule to where two of their single plays were OSU and MSU!!!  What luck!!!  Anyway, Minny has really no good wins in the conference other than at IU so we need to even that up and get a win at the Barn!

    I understand that IU is in the tournament.  I just don’t want to settle for backing in and getting an 8 seed or something like that when this team is perfectly capable of getting hot again and pulling out a 4 or possible 3 seed! 

    It’s very simple to me . . . CWat and Jordy Hulls need to get their crap together and play like the solid junior leaders they are starting tomorrow at 1 o’clock!  I’m joining others who have called these guys out!  As a former college athlete who went through slumps (baseball is a game of slumps) I know that sometimes you just need to be challenged and called out in order to get back on track.  Let’s do it CW and JH!!!

    The rest of this season really depends on the two of you and whether you are going to lead or fade.

  • IUJeff

    I am really hoping that CWat and Jordy get their swagger back in this game. We need to pay back Minne for beating us at home. 

  • HoosiersBB

    I actually feel great about this game.  The combination of IU being a deeper team than is Minnesota as well as getting payback for the January 12 contest in Bloomington should ensure a win.  I’ll toss out a prediction of 78-68, and the Hoosiers moving to 22-7.  

  • SCHoosier

    I frankly have no confidence on which Indiana team will show up. If its the one where Hulls and Wat stay home..its turn the lights out early. Even if we play well..match-ups are a concern. Tubby defended IU very well in B-town..and forced the half court game which we are very average in playing. I assume Wat takes Williams again (who is a little too quick for him)..which leaves VO on one of their quick perimeter players. MN. has ten fouls to give with their two 7 foot centers..so Cody has his work cut out. Most of all I’m concerned that Tubby will again scheme to cut off VO’s drives..and control the pace..not good news for IU. Much as it pains me I have to project an IU loss here.
    gGophers playing for their tournament lives. Prove that I’m an idiot Hoosiers..please.

  • catronhoosier

    We are in a similar situation as the Gophers in that night in and night out you don’t know which team will show up.  You don’t know if the minnesota team that beat us at the Hall will show up or the team that blew a huge lead to MSU at home will show up.  Same goes for us, it could be us beating OSU out there, or us at nebraska. 

    I think the rest of this season in all honesty is going to fall on the shoulders of Watford and Hulls.  I believe in those 2 they both have amazing offensive talent.  I am picking them and us as a team to pick it up this game and take it to Minnesota.  Watford and Hulls break out of their slumps.

     The reason why i feel that the rest of this season will be on Watford and Hulls is that the rest of the team is honeslty very consistent on the offensive side of the ball.  Oladipo, has found his groove again and is going to give you at least 10 points a night a lock down on the opposing team’s best player.  Zeller is the very definition of consistency.  We need our other 2 offensive players, Watford and Hulls, to pick up the slack they themselves gave.  We can winout and make a little run in the B1G tourney if they do that.  And if they continue in the big dance, i would not want to be the team playing us.  I have this strange feeling about the big dance for us this year, I can’t honestly explainthe feeling it is just the idea that we will have guys who will be very very hungry to make a run becuase it is their first time being there. 

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    I watched the replay of the Kentucky game on the BTN last night.  I hope Watford did too.  He was an absolute beast.  We just need him to get confident again.  He led us while Hulls, VO, CZ, Sheehey all made big contributions.  VJIII made the find and feed- a smaller, but clutch contribution.  I think that’s about what its going to take from our team to have the kind of success we are hoping for.   

  • MillaRed

    There will be a day when our team wins consistently on the road. I will be surprised if we see that team this season.

    I would like to see Coach use these last 3 games as a stepping stone for the B1G and NCAA tourney’s. In other words, it’s all or nothing. No double elimination. If Jordy, CWat, Verdell, anyone struggles, get em out of there.

    If that means Remy and AE are out there competing then so be it. Whatever it takes. We cannot go into the NCAA’s with CWat going 2-12 or whatever in the first round. We will not see the 2nd.

  • Oldguyy

    We may be at a point where Sheehey and Elston can make a significant contribution  toward  restoring our once-daunting offensive firepower, as well.

  • Sherronhasaheadache

    i just wonder, maybe this team is having some internal issues ? where has the Defensive effort been and all around play of some of the kids. hasn’t been the same team of late. lets turn it around now and get hot going into tournament play. GO HOOSIERS

  • Sherronhasaheadache

    i just wonder, maybe this team is having some internal issues ? where has the Defensive effort been and all around play of some of the kids. hasn’t been the same team of late. lets turn it around now and get hot going into tournament play. GO HOOSIERS

  • inadvertentelbows_stillhurt

    Tubby will have his team ready..they will try to attack Hulls and control VOs drives..and let Cody and RS3 battle it out…this game screams for VJ3 mid range game while Will and CWat have to knock down shots to open up the floor.

  • inadvertentelbows_stillhurt

    I hope the B1G/WWF refs call all the fouls on Cody.

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    Holy crap, the big ten is impossible to figure out.  So how do we feel about Purdue now?  Are we more worried because they appear to be getting it together, or do we feel like they might not be as desperate to make the tourney now?  

    I’m worried, but I’m always worried.

    But I feel a win coming tomorrow.  We’ve lost too many we shouldn’t have, time to win another on the road.  

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    Holy crap, the big ten is impossible to figure out.  So how do we feel about Purdue now?  Are we more worried because they appear to be getting it together, or do we feel like they might not be as desperate to make the tourney now?  

    I’m worried, but I’m always worried.

    But I feel a win coming tomorrow.  We’ve lost too many we shouldn’t have, time to win another on the road.  

  • Geoff_85

    We wouldn’t be worried about how any other team is doing if the Hoosiers were playing like they were prior to the Minn loss. This is a huge game. Indiana needs to show up. This game could do wonders for their confidence heading into a game where MSU is looking to win the Big Ten Title. This is a very scary game though. The Hoosiers just do not match up well. Speaking of which, REBOUND THE DAMN BALL! REBOUND.

  • Remy Willing and Abell

    IT’S ALL A MATTER OF WHICH TEAM SHOWS UP! THIS TEAM SHOULDN’T BE THIS BAD ON THE ROAD ! IT’S TIME FOR THIS TEAM TO PUT ON THEIR BIG BOY PANTIES AND TAKE THE NEXT STEP ! PUT UP OR SHOW UP …….PERIOD

  • MillaRed

    Strange how it all works out. But the Minny W vs Wisconsin and this Purdue win improve our RPI.

  • Jkwenzel2002

    You are so right! If it doesn’t work, fix it!

  • Q95

    hopefully not a repeat of the iowa game. mental toughness is the key in finishing strong. this would be a great late season win for the hoosiers.

  • SCHoosier

    PU just kicked the poop out of UM yesterday..anybody who thinks IU hasn’t got the possibility of finishing 0-3 needs to think again. PU won’t roll over just because its our senior night..Hummel and Jackson playing very well. PU defense against UM was teriffic..they stopped Burke’s drive..and when UM has to live or die by the three..its 50-50 which is going to happen..same as IU trying to play a decent half court game. Man..what a tough seson in the B10. I know many posters believe this IU team has hit its ceiling for the year..come on guys..prove’em wrong!

  • Ball sCrean

    I tend to agree, but mental toughness is actually one of our weaknesses, where I think up-tempo play, defensive pressure, and gaining momentum with runs is our strength. We have to be good in the half-court, but can’t forget how hard we are to beat when we force turnovers and push the pace. Even though Jordy isn’t super-fast, I feel like he responds well to that style of game – and, obviously, so does the Great Gazeller.