Video: Crean, IU players preview Purdue

Tom Crean, Devonte Green and Freddie McSwain met with the media on Monday afternoon to preview Tuesday’s game against Purdue at Mackey Arena.

Watch their comments below (Crean video via IU athletics):

What to Expect: Purdue

Indiana is back on the road Tuesday night as the Hoosiers travel to West Lafayette to take on Purdue. The Boilermakers are 23-6 overall and 12-4 in the Big Ten.

The game will be broadcast at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2 with Dan Shulman and Dan Dakich on the call:

Mackey Arena should be rocking Tuesday night. Purdue, coming off of an 82-70 loss on Saturday at Michigan, has a chance to clinch a share of the Big Ten regular season crown.

The Big Ten title was Wisconsin’s to lose at one point, but the Badgers have faltered in recent weeks with four losses in their last five contests. The primary beneficiary of the Wisconsin slide has been Purdue, which had its six-game winning streak snapped over the weekend in Ann Arbor.

Despite the loss to the Wolverines, Purdue needs just one win in its final two games to grab a piece of the league title. And if Purdue can beat Indiana on Tuesday and then win at Northwestern on Sunday, the Boilermakers can win the conference title outright.

Indiana, meanwhile, finally stopped its slide on Saturday night with a win over Northwestern. At 16-13, the Hoosiers are staring at the prospect of missing the NCAA tournament for the second time in four seasons. The NIT is no certainly, either, as Indiana is a No. 4 seed in one of the recent projections for that field.

MEET THE BOILERMAKERS

Is Purdue the Big Ten’s best chance to advance deep in the NCAA tournament? Given Wisconsin’s recent slide, the Boilermakers are the league’s best team entering the final week of the regular season.

Purdue has a star in Caleb Swanigan and is ranked in the top 22 nationally in Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency metrics. Purdue is 0-2 in the NCAA tournament since 2012, but looks like Matt Painter’s best chance to advance in March in quite some time.

Swanigan is a national player of the year candidate, but is probably just outside the top tier at this point. It’ll be a surprise if he doesn’t win Big Ten player of the year.

The Homestead product was the Big Ten’s best defensive rebounder last season, but is now a one-man wrecking crew as a sophomore. His defensive rebounding percentage in league play is 33.7 percent and he has 23 double-doubles. Swanigan is also making 46.2 percent of his 3-pointers this season.

Junior forward Vincent Edwards (pictured) dominated Indiana in the first matchup in Bloomington. Edwards went for 26 points and eight rebounds in Purdue’s 69-64 victory over the Hoosiers on Feb. 8. He’s third on Purdue in scoring at 11.8 points per game. Edwards is an excellent free throw shooter (82.6 percent) and is hitting 40.8 percent of his 3s in Big Ten games.

Junior center Isaac Haas is a luxury that most teams would love to have coming off the bench. The 7-foot-2, 290 pound Haas is Purdue’s second leading scorer at 13.2 points in 20.6 minutes per game. Haas is making close to 57 percent of his 2s in league games.

The rest of Purdue’s eight-man rotation consists of starters Carsen Edwards, P.J. Thompson and Dakota Mathias and backups Spike Albrecht and Ryan Cline.

Mathias is 17th in the country in 3-point shooting percentage at 47.6. Several of his teammates are also capable from distance. Cline is hitting 42.4 percent, Thompson is 39.6 percent and Edwards is 35.7. With Swanigan and Haas in the post, Purdue usually does a nice job of finding shooters when opponents double down in the post.

TEMPO-FREE PREVIEW

The free throw line was a problem for Indiana in the first meeting earlier this month (the Hoosiers were outscored by five in a five-point loss) and the concern hasn’t gone away heading into Tuesday.

In 10 Big Ten losses, opponents have outscored Indiana by 76 points at the foul line. Purdue’s advantage in Bloomington was only five points, but Indiana’s free throw differential on the road in Big Ten games is substantial. The Hoosiers have the Big Ten’s worst opponent free throw rate (FTA/FGA) at 45.3 percent.

Turnovers, of course, are the other major problem for the Hoosiers. Indiana has been outscored by 85 points off of turnovers in 16 Big Ten games. In the 10 losses, the number is 94 or 9.4 points per game.

If the Hoosiers come close to these averages at the line or on free throws, winning in an environment like Mackey Arena will be close to impossible.

WHAT IT COMES DOWN TO

The Pomeroy projection is Purdue by 11 with an 84 percent chance of a Boilermaker victory. Sagarin projects a nine-point win for Purdue.

With only two conference games remaining, Indiana is likely destined for a Wednesday game in the Big Ten tournament for the first time since the league expanded to 14 teams.

Purdue has plenty to play for after Saturday’s slip up in Ann Arbor. The Boilermakers are a lock for the NCAA tournament, but certainly want to win an outright league title and beating rival Indiana in the process would make the victory sweeter in West Lafayette.

Film Session: Northwestern

During Indiana’s five-game losing streak, its inability to make plays down the stretch — as well as catch luck at the right time — doomed them in a number of close contests.

But against Northwestern on Saturday night, the Hoosiers finally closed out a game by making plays to pull out the victory, overcoming a seven-point deficit in the final minute and a half of the game.

We’ll take a look at how Indiana mounted its quick comeback for the victory in the latest edition of Film Session:

Down seven after a Bryant McIntosh free throw, Robert Johnson cuts through the lane as Thomas Bryant sets a ball screen up top for Josh Newkirk:

Newkirk takes it right and swings the ball back left to James Blackmon Jr. as Johnson moves to the left corner:

Blackmon Jr. swings it to Johnson in the left corner. He fakes up and left on Scottie Lindsey:

Johnson puts on a move on him right and moves into the paint:

As Johnson hits the center of the lane, Lindsey makes contact with teammate Dererk Pardon and falls to the ground. This gives Johnson a path to the rim:

He takes it and scores to pull the Hoosiers within five:

The fluke fall from Lindsey helped pave the way for Indiana’s first score in its comeback.

Five takeaways from Indiana’s win over Northwestern

Indiana’s five-game losing streak is over. The Hoosiers found a way to win on Saturday night as they made just enough plays to edge Northwestern, 63-62, at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

Here’s a look at five takeaways from the win over the Wildcats:

· A close game goes Indiana’s way: After narrow road losses at Minnesota and Iowa, Indiana flipped the script in a close game on Saturday night.

The Hoosiers had control in both Minneapolis and Iowa City, but let comfortable leads disappear down the stretch. Northwestern was in great position – leading by seven with 1:33 to play – but couldn’t make one more play to close the deal.

Indiana took advantage by getting stops defensively and scoring on its final three possessions. In a game dominated by runs, the 8-0 spurt by the Hoosiers in the game’s final minutes was the difference.

“We always stick with it,” James Blackmon Jr. said. “We know that we’re right there. The games we’ve lost have come down to one or two possessions just like tonight. So it was good to get this one.”

· Guards make plays in final minutes: It hasn’t been a great couple of weeks for James Blackmon Jr. and Robert Johnson. IU’s junior guards struggled during IU’s five-game skid, but with Saturday’s game on the line, both delivered winning plays.

Let’s start with Johnson, who was -9 in 12 first half minutes. The Richmond native’s layup with 1:17 remaining brought Indiana to within five at 62-57. On the next possession, Johnson found Blackmon Jr. in stride for a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to two at 62-60.

And after both players held their ground defensively on Northwestern’s next possession, Blackmon Jr. grabbed a rebound and brought the ball length of the floor and found Thomas Bryant for the game winner.

“I thought James was going to take the shot, so I was really getting ready for rebounding position. I knew I could get on the backside. He was up and watching,” Bryant explained. “I was going the backside. And when James did a hesitation, came through, I was like oh, it’s open right here. So I’m just going to keep wedging him out and just be on that backside, which he dumped it off to me and it was a good pass.”

· Turnovers almost a catastrophe once again: A glance at the turnover numbers tells this story: Indiana was fortunate to win.

The Hoosiers turned it over 16 times for a turnover percentage of 24.8. Northwestern turned IU’s 16 mishaps into 16 points. It could have been much worse, but Northwestern shot just 39 percent from the field.

Through 16 conference games, Indiana has been outscored by 85 points off of turnovers. On Saturday, the deficit was 13.

· This was Indiana’s second best defensive game in Big Ten play: The Hoosiers didn’t have a great night offensively, but won because of defense.

Northwestern managed just .96 points per possession, the second lowest points per possession output for a conference opponent this season. Only Rutgers, which scored .77 points per trip, scored fewer.

The Wildcats shot just 22.2 percent on 3s (4-of-18) and under 50 percent on 2s (19-of-41).

“Very proud of the resiliency of this group,” Tom Crean said postgame. “Certainly numerous times they could have turned it in. And they never did.”

· Green’s 70-foot shot might have been the longest in Assembly Hall history: For the second time this season, Devonte Green connected from halfcourt or beyond.

Saturday’s shot might have been the longest shot ever made in Assembly Hall history. Longtime Bloomington Herald-Times sportswriter Bob Hammel told me at halftime that he couldn’t recall a longer shot ever being made in the building’s 45-year history.

Green’s shot, which we’ve estimated at 70 feet, gave the Hoosiers a 36-26 halftime lead and capped off a 22-0 run.

Video: Collin Hartman’s senior speech

Indiana’s lone senior, Collin Hartman, gave a spirited speech following Indiana’s 63-62 win over Northwestern on Saturday night at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

The 10-minute speech from the Cathedral product ended with a marriage proposal by Hartman to his longtime girlfriend. You can watch the entire speech below, via the HoosierSportsReport:

And here’s the video tribute for Hartman that was played prior to his speech:

Notebook: Indiana miraculously ends skid, Hartman gets engaged

In a season chock full of twists and turns, Saturday’s home finale provided the most unbelievable chapter yet.

And unlike most of the recent chapters of the 2016-17 IU basketball season, it had a happy ending.

The game had all of the same ingredients we’ve come to expect from the Hoosiers. Spurts of brilliance and spectacular individual feats were often canceled out by extended sequences of mind-boggling mistakes and turnovers, poor communication and missed defensive rotations.

As a result, the Hoosiers found their backs to the wall. But this time, they delivered. In fact, they did so twice.

The first time the Hoosiers found themselves struggling for answers came less than six minutes into the game.

Yet another slow start placed them in an all too familiar position, down 26-14 with 5:30 still left in the opening frame and forced to call a timeout.

But the Hoosiers responded to end the half, scoring the next 22 points to head to the locker room with a 10-point advantage.

It was the type of commanding run not seen since the 28-0 burst last season in Ann Arbor.

The boost to the scoreboard was obvious, less so was the heightening of morale and confidence that Indiana has been missing since the slide began.

Before the Hoosier’s put up 22 unanswered, the only player with much in the way of enthusiasm was Thomas Bryant.

Bryant was his usual self, dancing on the bench and pumping his fist when teammates scored.

It wasn’t until the start of Indiana’s run began that Bryant’s passion became infectious, with Devonte Green becoming the first Hoosier to show symptoms.

With just over five minutes left in the half, Green received a pass from Josh Newkirk on the right wing. After using a pump fake to put Isiah Brown out of position, Green calmly nailed a step-back three (it was initially ruled a two before being changed upon review).

Two possessions later and with the Hoosiers still down eight, Green grabbed a Bryant McIntosh miss. Green proceeded to dribble behind the back, strut down the open court, and crossover McIntosh before feeding Bryant for an and-1.

On the following possession, Green found a trailing Newkirk, who knocked down a three of his own. As the two high-fived, a smile was evident on each of their faces.

It wasn’t long before James Blackmon Jr. and Juwan Morgan came to life as well, as each made key plays during the stretch.

Before long, Indiana was in complete control. Northwestern had the chance for one final shot to regain momentum before the break. But a Vic Law miss was rebounded by Green just inside the free throw line with under two seconds to go.

From there, Green took one dribble and threw up a 70-foot heave. Somehow, the shot found its way into the basket.

Green stood at center court, surrounded and embraced by teammates.

Thomas Bryant let out a yelp. Morgan gave him a chest bump. Freddie McSwain leaped in jubilation. De’Ron Davis smacked Green’s hips as if he was a boxing trainer preparing him for a fight.

The entire team had managed to encapsulate the spirit of Thomas Bryant.

“(Devonte) brought a lot of confidence to the game,” Blackmon told reporters after the game. “He made confident plays and big plays and it got us going.”

When the second half began, the infectious energy had vanished.

In its place, Indiana’s old demons once again returned.

During the opening 10:03 of the final half, Northwestern outscored Indiana 23-6. Over that span, the Hoosiers committed four turnovers, settled for contested shots, and struggled to defend. When Indiana did contest Northwestern shots during that stretch, they almost always ended up fouling. Northwestern was only 12-for-18 from the charity stripe for the night but went 9-for-10 over that stretch.

The Hoosiers were able to stop the bleeding but struggled to put a dent into the lead they had allowed Northwestern to retake.

Time was beginning to run out.

Moments after the final media timeout, Bryant McIntosh banked in a 3-pointer. The game clock read 3:11 and the Hoosiers were down 61-53.

Fans started heading for the exits.

A sixth straight was defeat was staring Indiana in the face. Unless they could find a way to rekindle the same energy they mustered at the end of the first half, the season would continue plummeting downhill.

Somehow, the Hoosiers found a spark, outscoring Northwestern 10-1 throughout the final stretch.

Although Indiana’s first made field goal over the span didn’t come until 93 seconds remained, the defensive intensity increased significantly.

Northwestern came close to knocking down a shot down the stretch, but for once, the Basketball Gods chose to side with Indiana.

This was no more evident than the final Indiana offensive possession of the game.

The Hoosiers were trailing by two and just nine seconds remained on the clock when Blackmon grabbed the rebound off a McIntosh layup attempt.

Coach Tom Crean appeared to want a timeout, but Blackmon had other ideas.

“I heard the bench calling timeout, but I was already in my move so I just went with it and tried to be confident,” Blackmon said.

Personifying the same spirit that the team took on at the end of the first half, Blackmon hurried up the floor.

When he got to the low block, Blackmon was double teamed, leaving Thomas Bryant open right under the basket.

Blackmon, with nowhere to go, found Bryant with a bounce pass across the paint. Bryant then threw down the game-tying dunk while being fouled in the process.

“I saw two or three (Northwestern players) coming at me, so I knew (Bryant) was going to be at the right spot and that’s what we work on,” Blackmon said. “He wedged it and it was a perfect play.

The ensuing free throw from Bryant was an adventure in itself.

After Northwestern took a timeout in an attempt to ice the big man, Bryant, a 73 percent shooter from the stripe on the year, made his way to the line.

The normally hyperactive Bryant appeared calm, at least on the outside.

The shot went up, hit the back iron and then the top of the backboard. Not the literal top of the backboard, the top of the front facing side of the backboard (go ahead and watch the replay).

Somehow, someway, the way the ball bounced off the backboard placed it into the nylon.

How? I have absolutely no idea.

“To be honest, Coach just told me to stay straight up and shoot it just like it was normal,” Bryant told BTNs Jon Crispin immediately after the game. “I felt a little bit off, but I stayed with the follow through and it went in for us.”

A stroke of luck? You can certainly call it that.

But for a team that hasn’t had any in the weeks, Indiana will gladly take it.

Hartman’s wild senior night

Right after Bryant’s free throw found its way into the net, BTN switched over to a shot of Hartman.

A smile crept over his face as he pumped his fist on the bench. It looked to be an expression of both joy and relief. He knew what came next, even if most in attendance didn’t have a clue.

When it was time for the team’s lone senior to give his speech, the majority of the crowd had already funneled out.

Those that remained were treated to one of the wildest senior night speeches in recent memory.

The entire speech is available here and is well worth your time, but the part that will be remembered most came at the tail end.

Collin Hartman may not have logged a single minute this season, but the words he spoke in Assembly Hall on Saturday night will be a part of Indiana lore forever.

Photo Gallery: Indiana vs. Northwestern

Check out 94 photos by Jamie Owens from Indiana’s 63-62 win over Northwestern at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. Purchase prints from J. Scott Photography.

Video: IU players react to win over Northwestern

James Blackmon Jr. and Thomas Bryant met with the media following Indiana’s 63-62 win over Northwestern at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

Watch their postgame comments below:

Video: Tom Crean reacts to win over Northwestern

Tom Crean met with the media following Indiana’s 63-62 win over Northwestern on Saturday at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

Watch his postgame comments below:

Video: Chris Collins, Bryant McIntosh react to loss at Indiana

Chris Collins and Bryant McIntosh met with the media following Northwestern’s 63-62 loss to Indiana on Saturday at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

Watch both press conferences below: