IU Insider Blog: 3-game skid has to end

Indiana has only won one true road game this season but somehow is a two-point favorite tonight against a Northwestern team that it lost to at Assembly Hall. Go figure. Whatever the case, this is a must-win game for an IU team that is running out of opportunities.

Indiana's opportunities for a postseason tournament berth are shrinking with every game the Hoosiers play.

In fact, as must-win games go, tonight's matchup against Northwestern is firmly in that category.

And here's an interesting tidbit, too. Despite the fact that Indiana has only posted one true road win this season (at Penn State) and is coming off an 18-point debacle last Saturday against Purdue, the Hoosiers find themselves a two-point favorite today at Northwestern.

It's an interesting line.

Northwestern has a better record in conference than Indiana at 5-9 compared to IU's 4-8 mark.

And Northwestern went on the road just over a month ago and beat Indiana in Bloomington, 54-47.

Now, IU played awful that day. The Hoosiers were 15-of-60 from the field and 4-of-18 from 3-point range. But still, to now be a two-point favorite on the road in Evanston is a bit puzzling.

But the line suggests what Indiana fans know all too well tonight at Northwestern: Indiana has to find a way to win this one.

A win and the Hoosiers would snap a three-game losing streak, improve to 5-8 in Big Ten play and secure an important road win. They're all important but the clock is ticking on this Indiana season. A loss today and at 14-12, 4-9, the Hoosiers are going to have a difficult time finishing the season over .500. A win and 15-11 looks a lot better.

After today, IU plays a tough week. The Hoosiers will face a trio of ranked opponents including at Wisconsin on Tuesday, home against Iowa (in the makeup game) on Thursday and home against Ohio State on Sunday.

Going into that stretch on a one-game winning streak rather than a four-game losing streak will be significant.

This Indiana team lost some of its confidence when it allowed an 11-point lead to slip away in the closing minutes of a 66-65 loss to Penn State 10 days ago. The carryover happened with the way IU played against Purdue last Saturday.

But now Indiana needs to get up off the mat and find a way to turn this around.

Clearly, Yogi Ferrell needs to play better than his 2-of-14 performance from the field the first time the Hoosiers played Northwestern.

The same is true for Troy Williams. If Williams scores tonight, it will mark more points than he had the first time when he started and was held scoreless in 17 minutes of action. Williams only took one shot in the game and it was a missed 3-pointer.

Collectively, Indiana needs to put together a strong showing or next week could get ugly.

The season is hanging in the balance tonight. Indiana simply has to find a way to come out of Evanston with a victory.

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