Indiana got to work on the defensive end early and often against the Wildcats in its win on Thursday evening. It helped lead to a 16-0 run during the middle stretch of the first half which saw the Hoosiers take a 24-6 advantage over Northwestern.
We’ll take a look at some plays on both sides of the ball during this key run in the latest edition of Film Session:
Well, lookie here: We have an Indiana player picking up an opponent full court. James Blackmon Jr. pokes the ball loose on Dave Sobolewski:
The senior guard is able to recover the ball and Blackmon Jr. continues to pick him up the length of the court:
As the Wildcats get into their half court offense, Tre Demps gets a ball screen and comes left. Collin Hartman hedges hard and is called for a foul, but it was a good aggressive play regardless:
Indiana and Maryland will meet for a third time this season later today in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament at the United Center in Chicago. The Hoosiers snapped a three-game losing streak on Thursday night with a 71-56 win over Northwestern while the Terrapins come to the Windy City as the No. 2 seed riding a seven-game winning streak.
The game will be broadcast at 6:30 p.m. ET on BTN with Eric Collins and Bill Raftery on the call:
CHICAGO — Indiana avoided the nightmare scenario of a loss to Northwestern in the Big Ten tournament that would have sealed an N.I.T. bid for the Hoosiers. But there’s still work to do if IU doesn’t want to sweat it out two days from now on Selection Sunday as a win over Maryland, a top 10 team in the RPI, would lock up an NCAA tournament bid.
Of the teams who finished ahead of Indiana in the Big Ten standings, Maryland is the team these Hoosiers played the toughest. Indiana routed Maryland, 89-70, back on Jan. 22 in Bloomington and took the Terps down to the wire before falling 68-66 on Feb. 11 in College Park.
Now a rubber match is set up and both teams have plenty to play for as Indiana is still fighting for its NCAA tournament life and Maryland is looking to climb even higher up the seeding hierarchy.
CHICAGO — Indiana knows its position in regards to the NCAA tournament field. It knows it can improve on it tonight.
Heading into this evening’s game at 6:30 ET against No. 2 seed Maryland (26-5) in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals, the Hoosiers (20-12) could move themselves off the bubble with a win over the Terrapins.
And with both teams exchanging wins on their home courts this season, it’s a matchup the Hoosiers are excited to have.
“We know the position we’re in,” freshman James Blackmon Jr. said. “We’re not really thinking about it. We know that we can win these games, though, and that’s what we’re going to try to do.”
In their prior two games against the Terrapins this season, the Hoosiers have had promising performances in each.
The first was an 89-70 drubbing of the Terps in Assembly Hall, a game in which the Hoosiers had their best offensive performance of the Big Ten season — all the while still allowing 1.09 points per possession. The second, in College Park, saw the Hoosiers have the chance to win at the buzzer, only for a Yogi Ferrell 3-pointer and put-back to miss.
And if those two games have indicated anything, freshman Emmitt Holt said, it’s that tonight’s game should be an exciting one.
CHICAGO — Indiana’s players knew it was guaranteed only one game in the Big Ten tournament.
They played on Thursday like they wanted more.
In a dominant 40 minutes, the Hoosiers (20-12) fought their way to a 71-56 win over Northwestern in the United Center, snapping a three-game losing streak started by the Wildcats just over two weeks ago, 20 miles away in Evanston.
“We’re only guaranteed one game,” junior Yogi Ferrell said. “And that was this game right here. So we wanted to keep this season going on.
“And we don’t want it to end early and pack up going home.”
After three straight losses, the Hoosiers spent much of the lead-up to the Big Ten tournament having energetic practices — ones that were so good they gave the team its confidence and edge back, Collin Hartman said. It showed against the Wildcats.
CHICAGO – Indiana advanced to the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament on Thursday night with a 71-56 win over Northwestern at the United Center.
Here’s a look at five takeaways from the win over the Wildcats:
· Indiana played its most complete game in a while: The Hoosiers have struggled since beating Maryland 89-70 back on Jan. 22 and a 4-8 record over its last 12 had this group facing a must-win situation in its postseason opener.
It was fair to wonder how Indiana would respond in a pressure filled situation, but the Hoosiers started strong and never really let off the gas in its most complete effort in over a month. It was the third best defensive performance against a Big Ten team this season (.97 points per possession allowed) and a significant improvement over the first meeting in Evanston when the Wildcats torched IU for 1.25 points per trip.
Indiana’s renewed energy was evident early as it crashed the offensive boards and made things uncomfortable for Northwestern offensively by ramping up the ball pressure, getting into the passing lanes and holding to just 22 first half points. That set the tone for the rest of the evening as Indiana built a lead and was never really challenged from there.
“We moved the ball extremely well, but the pressure of our defense, the energy, the tenacity, all those things were really, really strong,” Tom Crean said. “I’m extremely proud of the coaches and the way that they prepared them and the way these guys and their teammates, the way that they played.”