Thoughts on a 61-56 win over the Wildcats:
EVANSTON, Ill. – After all the tumult over the last week-plus, just what Indiana team was going to show up inside Welsh-Ryan Arena tonight was anybody’s guess.
As it turns out, the Good Hoosiers made an appearance for much of this one. And so they avoided the second half breakdown, one that has plagued them on the road in conference play, hanging on for an important victory on the road and perhaps even gaining some confidence for the home stretch in the process.
The Wildcats, after zoning Indiana up for much of their win in Bloomington, decided to go man on Indiana in the first half. The Hoosiers, with more space and seams, went to work on the drive and on the offensive boards (42.1 percent offensive rebounding percentage). More than half (18) of their 32 first half points came in the paint. 10 of their 32 points came on second-chance opportunities, as Troy Williams (two) and Noah Vonleh (one) had tip-in slams. The offense scored 1.13 per possession.
But Indiana’s defense wasn’t exactly sound, as their option to go zone allowed Northwestern some looks from beyond the 3-point arc (4-of-10, 40 percent). Alex Olah, on two bum ankles, played well (5-of-8 for 12 first half points) and the Hoosiers entered half up only two points (32-30).
Indiana was able to extend the lead all the way up to 12 coming out of halftime on the back of a 12-2 run. Northwestern went cold, Drew Crawford missed a few shots at the rim, and Indiana kept going to work against Northwestern’s man-to-man defense. But Chris Collins finally decided to go zone against the Hoosiers as the game seemed to be getting away from his Wildcats. During a stretch of five minutes and 45 seconds between a Will Sheehey lay-in at 14:28 and a 3-pointer from Yogi Ferrell at the 8:43 mark, the Hoosiers failed to score a field goal, though they got into the bonus during this timeframe and hit some free throws.
It stands as Indiana’s worst offensive performance of the year: Fewest points scored, worst offensive efficiency rate and worst 2-point shooting percentage.
Just over one month ago, the Hoosiers’ 54-47 home loss to Northwestern was their first black eye in what was once a hopeful NCAA tournament-bound season. It set the wheels in motion, as since that game, the Hoosiers have won just two of seven.
Today, though, in Evanston, Ill., Indiana (14-11, 4-8) will have a chance to avenge that loss to Northwestern (12-15, 5-9), as two of the bottom four teams in the Big Ten battle at 8:15 p.m. ET.
“You can’t settle, there were far too many times in our first game here that we settled,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said during a teleconference on Friday. “We tried to force things that weren’t there rather than attacking what was there. What we have to do a much better job of, and some teams have done a better job than others against them, is look for those opportunities.”
The numbers from Indiana’s first bout with the Wildcats are sobering: a .73 points per possession rate, a 22.2 3-point shooting percentage, a 26.2 2-point shooting percentage and a 28.3 effective field goal percentage is all the Hoosiers mustered against the then 8-10 (1-4 Big Ten) Wildcats. Indiana turned the ball over only nine times, but missed shots did the Hoosiers in, anyway.
Since that game, Northwestern continued its success in low-scoring, poor-shooting affairs. It beat Purdue, in double overtime, by a 63-60 score. It beat Wisconsin and Minnesota — each on the road — by holding each opponent to 56 and 54 points, respectively.
After an unexpected postponement of Tuesday’s game with Iowa at Assembly Hall, Indiana travels to Evanston to meet Northwestern on Saturday for the second contest in what is now a three-game road trip. The Wildcats are 12-15 overall and 5-9 in Big Ten play.
The game will be broadcast on BTN at 8:15 p.m. ET and on the IU radio network:
It’s been one of the more bizarre and turbulent 10-day stretches in IU basketball history.
Whether the first three game losing streak of season continues beyond Saturday is to be determined, but let’s quickly recap the news of the past ten days.
First, IU couldn’t finish off Penn State at home after leading by double digits with less than three minutes to play. Then, sophomore forward Hanner Mosquera-Perea was arrested and charged with two misdemeanors. The Hoosiers followed the Penn State game with a blowout loss to rival Purdue, their worst of the season. And then, and this is where the bizarre part comes in, Tuesday’s game with Iowa had to be postponed after seats were damaged in Assembly Hall from a piece of metal that fell from the ceiling.
Naturally, this brings up the question: What’s next?
With a week off following the Purdue loss, Indiana heads to Welsh Ryan Arena, the most road friendly environment in the Big Ten for the Hoosiers because of a strong alumni presence in the area. This is IU’s best remaining chance for a conference road win, but what happens next is anybody’s guess.
Indiana coach Tom Crean was asked about the status of Hanner Mosquera-Perea during a conference call on Friday morning to preview Saturday’s game at Northwestern and provided an update on the status of the sophomore forward.
Mosquera-Perea was arrested on Feb. 14 and charged with operating while intoxicated endangerment and operating with a blood alcohol content above .15.
Here are Crean’s comments, in their entirety:
“There’s two things. I’m not going to get into a suspension, but as far as his discipline, that is going on daily. And the bottom line is that to get him to a place where he understands what he has here, where he understands the commitment level, not only physically, but mentally, that goes into this. And really, to understand that for him to take the next step as a player, that commitment level, that passion level, that seriousness about this, along with his school work, which he’s done very good with, is the most important things to his future. It’s certainly the most important things to his present.
“But it’s also extremely important to his future and for his career. It’s been ongoing, daily. And it will continue to be to the point where he has an uncle in the United States that flew up here to make sure we were all unified on what we wanted for him. And how we were all unified and how we were going to get it. And I really, really appreciated that on behalf of Hanner’s family because obviously he doesn’t see them and we don’t see them. But they’re there. And they’re just like all of us, they love their son, they love their grandson, they love their nephew, they love their brother as we do.
Indiana’s game with Iowa that was originally scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 18, but had to be postponed due to a metal panel falling into the seats at Assembly Hall, will be played on Thursday., Feb. 27 at 9 p.m. at Assembly Hall.
Here’s the full release from the Big Ten:
ROSEMONT, Ill. – The Big Ten Conference announced that the Iowa at Indiana men’s basketball game, originally scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 18, has been rescheduled for Thursday, Feb. 27. The game will tip at 9 p.m. ET and be broadcast by ESPN.
In addition, the Purdue at Iowa men’s basketball contest originally scheduled for Saturday, March 1, will move to Sunday, March 2 at 2 p.m. ET, and air on BTN. The Ohio State at Minnesota women’s basketball game on March 2 will now appear on the Big Ten Digital Network (BTDN) beginning at 2 p.m. ET.
Rules are here, for those unfamiliar.
Yogi Ferrell was the pick to click winner for Illinois (game one), Michigan State (game one), Penn State, Wisconsin, Illinois (game two), Michigan, Penn State (game two) and Purdue. Noah Vonleh was the winner for Northwestern, Michigan State (game two) and Minnesota. Will Sheehey was the winner for Nebraska. Full standings through 11 are available here. (Note: Only those who have registered at least one correct pick are listed. Next update after 14 conference games.)
Pool for Northwestern: All players are eligible to be picked.
Picks are due by 8:00 PM ET on Saturday.
A few reminders:
· State the name of the player (not a nickname) that you’re picking. If you use a nickname for a player, your pick will not be counted. Also, please state who you are picking as the first thing in your comment. We’re tracking hundreds of picks per game. It’s more difficult to keep track of everyone’s pick if it’s not the first thing in your comment.
· Please make sure you are using a valid e-mail address if you are not registered.
· Please make sure you are using the same name each time to pick if you are not registered. We are tracking wins by the name you use to submit your pick. If your name changes on a game-to-game basis, credit for your pick will be given to the name used to submit the pick.
(Photo credit: Sportowefakty.pl)
Periodically throughout the season, we’ll take a look at how members of IU’s 2012-2013 Big Ten championship team are performing in both the NBA and professional leagues around the world. Here’s our latest update:
· Victor Oladipo, Orlando Magic
Stats: 13.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.6 steals in 31.5 minutes per game
Notes: Oladipo participated in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge last Friday at NBA All-Star weekend and finished with 13 points, five rebounds and five assists for Team Webber, which fell to Team Hill, 142-136. The former IU star remains in the hunt for the league’s rookie of the year award with Philadelphia’s Michael Carter-Williams, the current front runner, and Utah’s Trey Burke. He has struggled, however, coming out of the All-Star break with just a total of 10 points in losses to Cleveland and Milwaukee.
Notable recent performance: 23 points, four rebounds and four assists in a 93-92 win over Indiana on Feb. 9.