Pick to Click: Northwestern

Rules are here, for those unfamiliar.

Pool for Northwestern: All players are eligible to be picked.

Picks are due by 6:45 PM ET on Saturday evening.

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 over a hundred 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.

Video: Tom Crean previews Northwestern

Tom Crean talks about the week off for Indiana and previews tomorrow’s game against Northwestern in his Friday afternoon press conference, which you can watch below courtesy of IU Athletics on YouTube:

Report: Peter Jurkin ready to return

After missing a month and a half due to a stress fracture in his lower leg, 2012 Indiana commit and United Faith Christian Academy (NC) center Peter Jurkin will return to action tonight, according to a report in The Charlotte Observer.

The 7-0, 200-pound Jurkin, who is rated the No. 20 center in his class by ESPN.com, will return and play in tonight’s SPAA championship game at Statesville Christian.

Jurkin, a native of Sudan, was the first recruit to join IU’s 2012 recruiting class, which also includes Broad Ripple’s Ron Patterson, La Lumiere’s Hanner Perea and Park Tudor’s Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell.

Previously on ITH:

- adidas Nations: Quick chat with new IU commit Peter Jurkin
- Peter Jurkin joins Indiana’s 2012 recruiting class
- 2012 Intro: Peter Jurkin

(HT: Jody Demling)

Thirteen games in, a look at the numbers

A little over a month ago, I took a look at Indiana’s efficiency numbers just four games into the Big Ten season.

Things were not pretty on the defensive end.

Have things changed with a larger sample size?

Read on:


Last time around, Indiana ranked last in the Big Ten, as it was giving up 1.26 points per possession to its opponents. Though not a spectacular defensive squad now, the Hoosiers have improved. They now sit at 1.11 points per possession, ahead of only basement-dwelling Northwestern (1.15), tied with Michigan and just behind both Iowa (1.1) and Michigan State (1.1). So if Indiana flashes some solid D the rest of the way out, it’s possible it could leapfrog the Hawkeyes and Spartans and finish seventh or better in the conference in terms of defensive efficiency, provided Michigan and Northwestern don’t jump ahead of them.

Better communication, more resolve and less lapses have allowed the Hoosiers to defend the 3-point line better. After being up at 51.4 percent (eleventh) through four games, the team has now allowed Big Ten opponents to shoot 39.2 percent (ninth), ahead of Michigan State (42 percent) and Northwestern (39.5 percent). This has helped drop their opponents’ effective field-goal percentage from 59.9 percent (tenth in conference) to 51.9 (seventh).

Indiana has also done a better job of fouling less frequently, as their opponents’ free-throw rate has dropped from 69.5 (eleventh) to 53.6 percent. Mind you, this is still dead last in the league by a long shot, as Northwestern is tenth at 43 percent.

Again, not stellar, but it’s an improvement. This team is better defensively than their wayward start showed.


Big Ten power rankings: Week 8

A delayed version of the Big Ten power rankings this week. We’ve waited long enough — and more importantly, we’ve made you wait long enough, so let’s just dive right in, shall we?

Inside the Hall Big Ten power rankings: Week 8

The CBI is On Line 11. Indiana – NR; 12-14, 3-10; 33 total points

Christian Watford is back, though he’s not going to be 100 percent through the rest of the season. Indiana needs his aggression to be all there, however, with an even chance at grabbing at least a spot in the CBI with a couple more wins.

The Because We Beat No. 11 No. 10: Iowa – NR; 10-15, 3-10; 30 total points

There’s really no other reason for Iowa to be here. Consider that if you take away the two wins against IU, the Hawkeyes are basically atrocious. But we won’t, because the Inside the Hall rankings are too nice. We also have a soft spot in the old heart-ski for Melsahn Basabe.

The We Weren’t Moving In This Direction Before No. 9. Northwestern – NR; 14-10, 4-9; 27 total points

Northwestern had better make the most of its next two games (home to Iowa, at Indiana). After that, the sledding to win another game could get tough. Bill Carmody has an NIT appearance reputation to protect, daggum!

The In Its Rightful Place No. 8. Penn State – NR; 13-11, 6-7; 22 total points

One of the lowest point totals we’ve ever had at No. 8. The Nittany Lions are an exercise in proving the theory that you can’t just sail through your non-conference. Chalk back a home loss to Maine and Penn State is feeling a lot better about its NIT chances than it does right now.

The Some Sweet Day We’ll Be in the Tourney No. 7. Michigan State – Still NR anymore; 14-11, 6-7; 21 total points

Everyone kept waiting for the Spartans to right their own ship. After losing two of their last three (at Wisconsin, at Ohio State) to the conference elite of which they were supposed to be one, perhaps it’s time to recognize that this just isn’t Tom Izzo’s best crew. As it is, everything is a must-win from here on.

The John Beilein Memorial No. 6. Michigan – NR; 16-10, 6-7; 17 total points

Instead of me writing something insightful (unlikely) or hilariously funny (even more unlikely), I would simply ask you to read this incredible story by Mike Rothstein from AnnArbor.com. Thanks.

The Bruce Weber Memorial No. 5. Illinois (tie) – NR; 16-9, 6-6; 15 total points

Does Illinois deserve to be No. 5? Probably not. Does anybody else? Oh no. The Illini won their first three Big Ten games this season. They promptly lost six of their next nine. Never did a team need to beat Michigan, Iowa and Indiana at home in a worse way. And we’re not even sure that’s enough to impress the committee.

The How Far Has the Big Ten Fallen No. 5 Minnesota (tie) – Receiving votes in both polls; 17-8, 6-7; 15 total points

The weekly Big Ten press release is kind to point out that the Big Ten has as many teams (3) in the country’s top 11 as any conference in the country. What it neglects to mention is that those three teams, which coincidentally make up Nos. 1-3 in this poll, are the ONLY three teams left in the Top 25. Minnesota ain’t one of ‘em, just like Illinois or Michigan State. Oof.


Crean: IU-Louisville series not on immediate horizon

LEXINGTON, KY - DECEMBER 11: Tom Crean the Head Coach of the Indiana Hoosiers gives instructions to his team during the game against the Kentucky Wildcats on December 11, 2010 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)One of the questions Tom Crean is frequently asked when he travels to the southern part of the state is this: “When is Indiana going to start playing a series with Louisville?”

Such was the case again last night, when Crean traveled to Jeffersonville to speak at a Rotary Club event. And here’s how Crean answered the question, according to Rick Bozich of The Louisville-Courier Journal:

“That’s a possibility. There’s no question we want to do it at some point in time. I don’t know if it’s going to happen quickly. Our schedule’s gotta balance out a little bit right now. Next year we play Notre Dame in Indianapolis, we play at Evansville, we have Butler at home at the end of a tournament. We have Kentucky at home, we’ll have a Big Ten-ACC Challenge game, either home or on the road. I’m not sure with a young team like that, especially with the young freshmen that we’ll have, I’m not sure that we’ll want to play too many tough games. But I’d love to get something going with Louisville at some point. I always said to Rick (Pitino) and his staff, as we got down the line and got more competitive, we’d want to revisit that and we’re getting closer to that.”

As much as fans would like to see this series sooner rather than later, Crean’s logic for not pursuing it immediately makes sense. The addition of Notre Dame and Butler will improve the competitiveness of next year’s schedule and the Big Ten-ACC Challenge meeting is only going to get tougher for IU as the program returns to prominence.

With that said, we’d like to open this up for a broader discussion and pose this question: Is there an opponent (Louisville included, if that’s your preference) you’d like to see the Hoosiers start playing regularly?

2011 forward Walter Pitchford commits to Florida

Quiet day on the recruiting trail, eh?

Dave Telep of ESPN.com is reporting that 2011 Summit Christian (MI) forward Walter Pitchford has committed to play at Florida next season.

Indiana had been tracking Pitchford aggressively, but it’s unclear if the Hoosiers had actually extended a scholarship offer. Assistant coach Steve McClain had been to watch Pitchford as recently as January at an event in Vincennes.

Pitchford originally signed a National Letter of Intent with DePaul in the 2010 class, but asked out of that commitment after Jerry Wainwright was fired last spring. He then re-classified to 2011 and was one of the better big men still available in that class.

Previously on ITH:

- Video: Walter Pitchford talks recruiting, Indiana
- Scouting Report: 2011 forward Walter Pitchford
- Indiana a leader, “if not ahead of everyone else,” for Pitchford

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