A player to watch: Illinois

In the Big Ten opener against Illinois New Year's Eve, Yogi Ferrell had a career-high 30 points including five 3-point field goals. Since then, he has hit 25-of-75 shots from the field. Check out some of the changes in Yogi's game since the first time these two teams met.

With each game this season we'll put the spotlight on an Indiana player that we believe is someone to keep an eye on for that particular game.

For today's game against Illinois, we'll take a look at sophomore Yogi Ferrell:

When Yogi faced Illinois on New Year's Eve in the Big Ten opener in Champaign, he was on fire. He poured in a career-high 30 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the field. He hit 5-of-8 from 3-point range. He also had five rebounds and four assists and on the negative side, six turnovers. You just had the feeling throughout that game that no one really had an answer for how to stop Ferrell. Rayvonte Rice had the hot hand on the other side. Since that game though, Yogi hasn't had quite the same kind of production. Don't get me wrong, he still leads the Big Ten in scoring (19.2) in league games and is IU's top scorer with a 17.5 points per game average which ranks third in the the Big Ten, but his shooting touch just hasn't been the same in recent games.

In the five games since hitting 9-of-15 against Illinois, Ferrell is 25-for-75 from the field. Since going 5-for-8 from beyond the arc to open conference play, he is 8-for-28 in the last five games. Even with that mini-slump, Ferrell is still hitting 40.7 percent from beyond the arc for the season which is a marked improvement over his freshman year last season when he shots 30.3 percent from 3-point range. He also made just a total of 23 a year ago. This season he has already made 48.

The point is that Ferrell needs to regain his shooting touch and begin to hit his long 3-pointers with more regularity. Ferrell has had a lot of success with blow bys this season where he drives to the basket and gets to the rim with either his right or left hand. But it's those wide open 3's in transition that can provide his teammates much needed momentum that he needs to find a way to be able to convert. His last game at Assembly Hall was against Northwestern when Ferrell was 2-for-14 from the field. He needs to take advantage of the friendly rims on Saturday against Illinois.

Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch

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