The Minute After: Northwestern

Thoughts on a 93-81 loss at Welsh-Ryan Arena:

Don’t be fooled by the final score, ladies and gents: This game was not that close. And in many ways, it may have been the worst effort the Hoosiers have given all season, which is not particularly encouraging given the fact it was game No. 17 on the schedule.

Instead of boring you with statistics and over-analyzing tonight’s contest, I’m just going to hit you with the facts: This team is in a major, major funk.

Major deficiencies, like poor communication on defense and lack of a post presence, that Indiana was able to mask against a weak non-conference schedule, are coming to the forefront in a big way.

But perhaps more concerning is that Indiana’s effort and execution is far too inconsistent to compete at the highest level of college basketball.

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Live Blog: Indiana at Northwestern

Scouting Report: 2011 forward Walter Pitchford

Joe Eberhardt is a high school sports blogger and regular contributor to Inside the Hall. You can follow him on twitter at @IndyHSHoops and read his blog, IndyHSHoops.com.

Walter Pitchford played twice this weekend in a tournament at Vincennes University. On Friday night, Pitchford scored 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds in a game against Iowa Western CC, and Saturday night he scored 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Here is a quick scouting report on Pitchford along with a quick highlight video of the 6-9 forward.

Most Impressive: The two things that jump out about Pitchford are his length and explosiveness as a leaper. The 6-9 forward is able to finish plays above the rim on offense and elevate to block shots on the defensive end. Athleticism and length help Pitchford on the glass, allowing him to rise above opponents for a rebounding advantage. He uses the offensive glass to finish plays and create second chance opportunities for himself and teammates. Pitchford also shoots the ball well for a big man and is able to hit shots out past the 3-point line. He has a quick release allowing him to elevate over defenders and get off shots in traffic.

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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 Sunday evening.

A few reminders:

+ State the name of the player (not a nickname) that you’re picking. If you use a nickname, like “Home Depot” for Oladipo as was the case last game, your pick will not be counted. Also, please state who you are picking as the first thing in your comment. We’re tracking a couple of 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.

Indiana talks Northwestern before Sunday’s game in Evanston

(Editor’s Note: Audio and video of Tom Crean meeting with the media today is available after the jump. Audio of Jordan Hulls, Jeremiah Rivers and Will Sheehey is also available.)

BLOOMINGTON — After 11 years under Bill Carmody, the Northwestern Wildcats are considered some of the foremost practitioners of the Princeton offense in the country. That offense is renown for its disciplined use of back-door cutting and off-ball movement trying to take advantage of slow-reacting defenders.

On the other, Northwestern has attempted fewer 3-pointers only than Wisconsin and Michigan among Big Ten schools, boasts several talented shooters and in its last game against Illinois attempted thirty-eight 3-point field goals.

So as they chase a program-first NCAA Tournament bid, the Wildcats are certainly going to present problems for Indiana, as both teams look for their first Big Ten win of the young conference.

“I don’t know if you can ever just guard those guys one way, because no matter what you think you know, they know it so much more,” IU coach Tom Crean said Saturday, referring to Northwestern’s offensive approach. “They’ve got an answer for everything, and it’s not only the system, it’s the personnel that’s inside of the system. So we’ve got to be really, really locked in to what their strengths are.”

A few thoughts on Northwestern:

+ One of the obvious talking points with Crean and the three players (Jeremiah Rivers, Jordan Hulls, Will Sheehey) was the discipline required to defend the Princeton offense. Rivers’ thoughts were particularly insightful, given that he played in a similar offense at Georgetown. Some pulled quotes:

On the similarity to what he ran at Georgetown: “It’s the same thing. I mean, the play calls are almost the same thing. It’s kind of funny, just eerily similar, principles. Northwestern might have a little more flexibility.”

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Video: 2014 Indianapolis Tech forward Trey Lyles

I had to pass this along as it’s the best compilation I’ve seen yet of 2014 commit Trey Lyles. His footwork and post moves are tremendous and as you’ll see, he’s an excellent ball handler for a 6-9 kid. Enjoy.

Video: Walter Pitchford talks recruiting, Indiana

VINCENNES — Friday night was my first look at 2011 Indiana target Walter Pitchford and his (East Lansing, MI) Summit Christian team. Summit Christian took on Iowa Western Community College in a game played at Vincennes University.

The 6-9 forward scored 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds in front of IU assistant coach Steve McClain. Pitchford shot 5-of-14 from the field and knocked down one his three 3-point attempts.

I’ll be back in attendance again tomorrow to watch Pitchford as his Summit Christian team takes on New Creations. Here’s a video of Pitchford speaking to the media following his game earlier tonight:

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