Indiana vs. Northwestern Gameday

Hoosiers hope to extend homecourt winning streak to 36 games against Northwestern, while Wildcats hope to enhance postseason resume with a second win over Hoosiers…

Game Particulars: Indiana (6-20/1-13) vs. Northwestern (14-11/5-9)
The last time Northwestern won in Bloomington, Lyndon Johnson was president, Bob Knight was in his third year at Army, and the IU basketball program was still playing its home games at the IU Fieldhouse. That was 41 years ago, when the Wildcats handed the Hoosiers an 86-81 loss. Since that time the Hoosiers have won 35 in a row over the Wildcats, a streak that Bill Carmody's team hopes to end tonight. Northwestern held off the Hoosiers 77-75 last month in Evanston, and are in need of a win to enhance their chances of earning a postseason tournament invitation. Indiana, meanwhile, has is hoping to keep its homecourt win streak in tact and win for just the second time in 15 Big Ten games.

IU is coached by Tom Crean, who is in his first year as Indiana's head coach and 10th year overall. Crean owns a 196-116 career mark and led Marquette to the NCAA Tournament five times. Northwestern, meanwhile, is coached by Bill Carmody, who is in his ninth year with the Wildcats and 13th year overall. Carmody owns a 117-146 mark at Northwestern and a 209-170 mark overall.

The game will be televised by the Big Ten Network with Wayne Larrivee (play-by-play), Jim Jackson (color commentary) and Mike Hall (sideline) calling the match-up.

Indiana 2008-09 Schedule

Northwestern 2008-09 Schedule

PROBABLE STARTERS
Indiana (6-20/1-13)
PG- Verdell Jones (6-5, 176, Fr.) – 9.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 3.3 apg, 41.4% FG shooting
SG – Devan Dumes (6-2, 195, Jr.) – 13.4 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 1.3 apg, 38.3% 3 pt. shooting
WG - Nick Williams (6-4, 211, Fr.) – 8.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 0.9 spg, 44.0% FG shooting
PF- Kyle Taber (6-8, 220, Sr.) – 4.2 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 1.1 spg, 50.0% FG shooting
C – Tom Pritchard (6-9, 242, Fr.) – 10.4 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 0.8 bpg, 50.0% FG shooting

Northwestern (14-11/5-9 Big Ten)
PG- Michael Thompson (5-10, 182, So.) – 9.6 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 3.9 apg, 41.3% 3 pt. shooting
SG – Craig Moore (6-3, 185, Sr.) – 14.4 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.6 apg, 42.2% 3 pt. shooting
SF – Kevin Coble (6-8, 210, Jr.) – 15.5 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.6 spg, 38.1% 3 pt. shooting
PF – John Shurma (6-8, 210, Fr.) – 7.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 37.7% 3 pt. shooting
C – Luka Mirkovic (6-11, 235, Fr.) – 3.8 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 50.9% FG shooting

Indiana 2008-09 Statistics

Northwestern 2008-09 Statistics

WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Can the Hoosiers avoid the turnover problems that plagued them in Evanston? – When these two teams played at Welsh-Ryan Arena, one team shot 50 percent from the floor, 52.2 percent from 3-point range, out-rebounded the other by 11…and lost. That team was Indiana. Despite all of those positives on offense, the Hoosiers also turned the ball over 22 times, which Northwestern translated into 25 points off turnovers. Those miscues derailed Indiana's chances of getting its first road win of the season. As Indiana gears up for round two, it probably can't count on shooting 12-of-23 from 3-point range like it did in the first meeting. That means Indiana also can't be turning the ball over as frequently as it did last time out. Verdell Jones had a season-high seven turnovers of his own, and he'll need to cut that number in half tonight.

Will Northwestern do anything different defensively to try to do a better job of guarding the 3-point line? - The Wildcats' 1-3-1 zone does a nice job of creating turnovers, but it hasn't been very good at preventing foes from getting quality looks from behind the 3-point arc. Five different Big Ten teams have made at least 10 3-pointers in a game against Northwestern this season, including Indiana (12) last month. This could mean Devan Dumes and/or Matt Roth could be in line for big evenings. Roth has struggled finding ways to get his shot off when presented with man-to-man defense, but could find the opportunities more plentiful against the zone. Dumes, meanwhile, made six 3-pointers against Northwestern the last time the two teams met, so he already knows he'll have a chance to be successful.

Can Indiana get back to being dominant on the glass? - While Northwestern is doing a lot of things better this season than in years past, rebounding isn't one of them. The Wildcats are getting out-rebounded by an average of 11.8 rebounds/game in league contests, and have lost the rebounding battle by double digits in nine out of 15 Big Ten games. Indiana, meanwhile, started off the Big Ten slate by out-rebounding its first seven foes, but has won the rebounding battle only once in the last seven games. The Hoosiers need to get back to being dominant on the glass and scoring on put backs. Northwestern's struggles on the backboards is another reason why turnovers can be so costly – even if IU is misfiring, it has a very good chance of corralling the offensive rebound and scoring second-chance points. This needs to be a category that IU dominates if it hopes to win its second Big Ten game.

QUOTABLES
"Competitiveness has to be collective. It's part of the situation we're in. We don't have a group of guys who carry the torch for us day in and out, and who make the practices absolute battles. It has to come from the group. From the coaches. My staff does an amazing job of driving that out every day." – IU Coach Tom Crean

"We had a game that went down to the last player here in Evanston. They've improved, the game is in Bloomington, and it seems they are playing better. They're in the games longer, they're playing with a lot of enthusiasm. A lot of the young guys have gotten minutes, and so at this time it's not like they're veterans, but they've played a lot and they're used to it." – Northwestern Coach Bill Carmody

"We're asking them to do things that pretty much everywhere else they wouldn't get asked to do. We have numerous guys other schools wouldn't take. But we have coached every guy, every day. There's not one guy who hasn't had an opportunity to get better." – Crean

"The other night (against Minnesota) is not any indication of what kind of team they are. They weren't themselves. They were sick. That happens. We're not even going to show (the Hoosiers) the Minnesota game. We expect a team coming in here expecting to get into the NCAA Tournament. They're playing at a high level." – Crean

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