Northwestern Wildcats Archive

2014-2015 ITH season preview: Northwestern Wildcats

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With the start of college basketball season on the horizon, we’ll be taking a long look at the conference at large as well as Indiana’s roster over the next month. Today, we continue our look at the Big Ten with the Northwestern Wildcats.

Welsh-Ryan Arena has a new high-definition, 23-foot wide video scoreboard.

It will have little to do with Northwestern’s on-court play, but for those witness to the archaic, somewhat laughable screen that still hung from the rafters just last season, it’s symbolic of the program’s shift from Bill Carmody to Chris Collins: Modernity is the new rule.

Freshman Vic Law, a local product from St. Rita, arrives as the program’s top recruit in two decades (Evan Eschmeyer, 1993) — and just maybe its best ever. Law figures to draw the starting wing spot for Collins and be a top contributor from the get-go. Northwestern loses veteran Drew Crawford (15.7 PPG) off a team with limited bodies last season, but JerShon Cobb (redshirt senior, 12.2 PPG) and Tre Demps (reshirt junior, 11.0 PPG) return. They were the only other double-digit scorers for Collins during the 2013-2014 campaign.

Down low, Alex Olah is back for his junior season. At 7-foot and 265 pounds, he’s a bruiser and tough cover. Olah made great strides last season, developing more of an offensive game and improving his field goal percentage (41.5 percent to 50.9 percent). Olah also became a more respectable shooter from the charity stripe (58.3 percent to 68.0 percent) and proved a modest threat from distance (30.3 percent) for a player his size. He’ll be essential for the Wildcats during the physical Big Ten season on both ends of the court (block percentage of 6.3).

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Film Session: Passing in the halfcourt

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After struggling to put the ball in the basket against Northwestern in Bloomington, Indiana’s halfcourt offense hummed to the tune of 1.1 points per possession in Evanston.

Often, the Hoosiers stayed patient, making the extra pass to get the best look. And when Noah Vonleh and Yogi Ferrell drew extra attention, they made sure to make the Wildcats pay. A look at some sharp passing in the halfcourt in the latest edition of Film Session:

Vonleh sets an off-ball screen for Ferrell under the basket as Jeff Howard curls around on the right wing. Evan Gordon looks for Ferrell:

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As Ferrell gets the ball, all five Northwestern defenders are ball-watching:

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Indiana finds its rhythm, notches second road win of the season

022314jjcThis was exactly what Indiana needed.

On the heels of a wild ten days — from the Penn State and Purdue losses to the arrest of sophomore Hanner Mosquera-Perea to the collapse of a metal beam at Assembly Hall which postponed Tuesday’s scheduled game against Iowa — Saturday night’s game at Northwestern gave the Hoosiers a chance to clean the slate heading into a six-game in 15-day final stretch to the season.

And the Hoosiers (15-11, 5-8) did just that in their 61-56 victory over the Wildcats (12-16, 5-10) in Evanston, only their second road win this season.

“That’s what makes this league so hard but it’s also what makes every win so gratifying,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “It’s what makes every win so incredibly — not just valuable in standings and things — but just precious because they’re so hard to come by. Especially when you go on the road.”

This was an Indiana team that, before Saturday night’s game, had blown double digit leads in three of its past five games. This was an Indiana team that lost four of its past five and had little going for it. None of that mattered on Saturday, though.

Against a Northwestern squad that only one month earlier baffled the Hoosiers into their worst offensive output of the season, Indiana did everything it needed to in order to succeed in their second matchup.

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Five takeaways from Indiana’s win at Northwestern

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EVANSTON, Ill. — Indiana snapped a three game losing streak and picked up its second conference road win on Saturday night with a 61-56 triumph over Northwestern at Welsh-Ryan Arena.

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

· Indiana closed the deal on the road: After IU held second half leads in earlier conference road losses at Michigan State, Nebraska and Minnesota, it was fair to wonder if the Hoosiers would win again away from Assembly Hall this season. And as Northwestern trimmed a 12-point IU lead all the way down to four with 2:21 to play, it looked as if the Hoosiers may let another opportunity for a win slip away.

But rather than just trying to hold on, Indiana took control late and made the plays necessary to win the game. It started with Noah Vonleh finding a cutting Troy Williams on the baseline to make the lead back to six with 1:59 to play. And then came the dagger: A 3-pointer by Will Sheehey with 52 seconds remaining to make the lead eight and put the game away for good.

“Really to win a close game, it means a lot for our team,” Sheehey said. “It means we’re progressing.”

· A balanced offense: Rather than relying on a big night from Yogi Ferrell, who came into Saturday averaging 21 points in IU’s four previous conference wins, the Hoosiers hurt Northwestern in a variety of ways as four players finished in double figures.

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Video: Tom Crean reacts to win at Northwestern

EVANSTON, Ill. — Tom Crean met with the media following Indiana’s 61-56 over Northwestern on Saturday at Welsh-Ryan Arena.

Watch his postgame comments in the media player below:

Video: Chris Collins reacts to loss to Indiana

EVANSTON, Ill. — Northwestern coach Chris Collins met with the media following his team’s 61-56 loss to Indiana on Saturday at Welsh-Ryan Arena.

Watch his postgame comments in the media player below:

Video: Troy Williams, Will Sheehey react to win at Northwestern

EVANSTON, Ill. — Sophomore Troy Williams (12 points, four rebounds) and senior Will Sheehey (12 points, six rebounds) met with the media following Indiana’s 61-56 win over Northwestern on Saturday at Welsh-Ryan Arena.

Watch their postgame comments in the media player below:

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