Indiana vs. Northwestern Gameday

The Hoosiers look to halt their two-game losing skid Sunday when they host a struggling Northwestern team at Noon at Assembly Hall. The odds are stacked against the Wildcats, who are looking for their first Big Ten victory…

Game Particulars: Indiana (17-3/6-1) vs. Northwestern (7-11/0-7)
Indiana is looking to get things headed back in the right direction after a two-game losing skid, and Northwestern appears to be the perfect remedy for Coach Kelvin Sampson's squad. The Wildcats are not only winless in their seven Big Ten games, but they've lost those seven contests by at least 10 points apiece. If that wasn't enough stacked against Northwestern, it is also looking for its first win ever in Assembly Hall. A Northwestern team last won in Bloomington in 1968, when the Hoosiers still played at the IU Fieldhouse. Since then Indiana has won 33 straight in Bloomington.

IU is coached by Kelvin Sampson, who is in his second year as Indiana's head coach and owns a 38-14 record in Bloomington and a 493-271 career mark. Northwestern, meanwhile, is coached by Bill Carmody, who is in his eighth year in Evanston and owns a 102-124 mark. Carmody is in his 12th year as a head coach overall and owns a 194-149 mark.

The game will be televised by the Big Ten Network with Tom Werme (play-by-play) and John Laskowski (color commentary) calling the match-up.

Indiana 2007-08 Schedule

Northwestern 2007-08 Schedule

PROBABLE STARTERS
Indiana Hoosiers (17-3/6-1)
PG- Armon Bassett(6-1, 176, So.) – 10.3 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 3.0 apg, 51.4% 3 pt. shooting
SG- Eric Gordon (6-4, 205, Fr.) – 21.4 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.5 apg, 39.7% 3 pt. shooting
WG – Jamarcus Ellis (6-5, 210, Jr.) 7.7 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 4.4 apg, 1.5 spg, 41.7% FG shooting
F – Mike White (6-6, 232, Sr.) 3.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 39.5% FG shooting
F – D.J. White (6-9, 230, Sr.) – 17.1 ppg, 10.6 rpg, 1.8 bpg, 61.1% FG shooting

Northwestern Wildcats (7-11/0-7)
PG- Michael Thompson (5-10, 165, Fr.) – 12.6 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 4.9 apg, 42.4% 3 pt. shooting
SG – Craig Moore (6-3, 185, Jr.) – 12.7 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.6 apg, 1.8 spg, 37.2% 3 pt. shooting
WG – Sterling Williams (6-4, 180, Jr.) – 7.2 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.3 spg, 51.5% FG shooting
SF – Kevin Coble (6-9, 200, So.) – 16.6 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 1.9 apg, 43.9% 3 pt. shooting
PF- Nikola Baran (6-8, 235, Fr.) 3.4 rpg, 1.3 rpg, 26.7% 3 pt. shooting

Indiana 2007-08 Statistics

Northwestern 2007-08 Statistics

WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Now badly will Indiana abuse the Wildcats on the boards?– The Hoosiers were whipped on the glass by UConn and they gave up 15 offensive rebounds and 21 second-chance points to Wisconsin, so doing a better job on the glass figure to be a point of emphasis Sunday. Sampson's team figures to do much better in that category against a Northwestern team that ranks last in the Big Ten with a -10.7 rebounding margin. Northwestern has been out-rebounded in each of its first seven Big Ten games, including huge disparities against Ohio State (-23), Minnesota (-15), Michigan (-20) and Illinois (-19). Kevin Coble averages a team-best 6.0 rebounds/game and is the only Northwestern player averaging more than 3.3 rebounds/game. Sampson wants good defense and solid rebounding to be the foundation of his teams, and the rebounding has been lacking in each of the last two games. Look for the Hoosiers to try to crash the boards hard, and look for a big second-chance points total Sunday afternoon.

Can Indiana do some things defensively to dictate the tempo? - If the Wildcats had their way, neither team would work up much of a sweat. They'll walk the ball up the court, they'll send players back quickly on defense, and they'll try to shorten the game by allowing the shot clock to wind down on just about every trip down the floor. They also rarely turn the ball over, evidenced by their Big Ten-best 11.8 turnovers/game. If Indiana has any hopes of getting this game out of the 50s and 60s and into the 70s, it needs to generate some easy opportunities with its defense. While the athleticism IU boasts in the backcourt gives it a chance to force some miscues, Northwestern is also a dangerous team to try to over-play and deny since they are always looking for back-cut opportunities. Indiana will have to pick its spots, but it clearly has the athletes to give Michael Thompson and Craig Moore fits.

Will Jordan Crawford get himself back on track? - After being the team's third-most reliable scoring threat in non-conference play, freshman Jordan Crawford has been much more erratic as of later. Crawford averaged 12.7 points/game and shot 50 percent from the floor in the non-conference, but he's fallen off to 6.9 points and 35.8 percent shooting since league play opened. His recent struggles include scoreless performances against both Penn State and Wisconsin. The first thing Crawford is going to need is more minutes (he's averaged just 17.5 minutes in the last four games), and to get those he's going to need to make better decisions. His shot selection has been questionable as of late, launching the occasional ill-advised, deep 3-pointer while also getting himself caught in traffic at time as well. He has only 10 assists compared to 21 turnovers in Big Ten games, and he's seen his playing time drop off as a result. If Indiana is going to remain in the Big Ten title hunt it's going to need to get Crawford going, and he'll likely have a chance to get things turned around against Nortwestern.

What kind of afternoon will Craig Moore have?Kevin Coble is clearly the Wildcats' best offensive player, and he figures to give IU some problems with his ability to lure the Hoosier big men away from the basket due to his ability to shoot from the perimeter. But Moore is an equally important player for Carmody's squad. At times Moore can look like one of the league's best 3-point shooter, evidenced by the fact he's connected on at least five 3-pointers in five games this season. That includes a 28-point effort two weeks ago against Michigan State when he was 7-of-14 from behind the 3-point arc. But those games aren't necessarily the norm. Since his Michigan State outing, Moore has averaged just 5.5 points/game and missed 12 of 13 3-point attempts in his last two games combined. If Northwestern has any hopes of staying in this game it's going to need 20 points from Moore and 20 from Coble.

QUOTABLES
"If Craig (Moore) isn't making shots…it really puts us in a bind."– Northwestern Coach Bill Carmody

"I wish (Moore and Thompson) didn't have to play as many minutes. They're pretty good together. They both think the game…they have coaches' heads. They're in sync for just playing a half year together. I wish they didn't have to play as many minutes." – Carmody

"The thing (Gordon) has to start to get a little better at, that he was doing really good earlier in the year, he has to start getting back to the free-throw line more, because he can…this team needs Eric to get the free-throw line more." – IU Coach Kelvin Sampson

DID YOU KNOW
Northwestern has lost 12 straight Big Ten games dating back to a year ago. The Wildcats' last win over a Big Ten foe came on Feb. 10, 2007, when they topped Penn State 53-51 at Welsh-Ryan Arena…Northwestern is 0-3 against ranked teams this season, losing to Stanford, Michigan State and Wisconsin by an average of 13 points…Kevin Coble has been back for only nine games this season, but has had a 34-point effort against Michigan and a 29-point outing against Texas-Pan American. His 34-point effort against the Wolverines is the most scored by a Big Ten player this season, and was the most scored by a Northwestern player during Bill Carmody's eight-year tenure…Northwestern's 1.42 turnover ratio ranks sixth nationally…Northwestern has made 426 field goals this year and have been credited with 303 assists, or 71.1 percent of its made baskets. By contrast, Indaina has recorded an assist on 52.7 percent of its made baskets…after posting at least six Big Ten wins for three straight seasons (2004-06), Carmody's teams are 2-21 in conference play over the last year and a half…in last year's 69-65 IU win in Evanson, the Hoosiers attempted 32 3-pointers compared to only 22 shots inside the 3-point arc. Rod Wilmont was 9-of-13 from deep and finished with career-highs of 31 points and 12 rebounds to carry IU to its first win in Evanston in four tries.

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