Indiana vs. Minnesota Gameday

Stuck in the midst of a seven-game losing streak, Indiana travels to Minnesota to try to bring a halt to the season-long skid. Hoosier Nation previews Saturday night's game against the Gophers, complete with match-ups, statistics, and keys to the game …

Game Particulars: Indiana (9-16/3-10) vs. Minnesota (15-10/6-7)
After dropping three straight games to three of the best teams in the league, Indiana now has to travel to one of the conference's most difficult venues to try to bring a halt to its seven-game losing streak. Minnesota's Williams Arena hasn't been kind to the Hoosiers over the years, as IU is just 3-9 in its last 12 games at ‘The Barn.' That includes a 62-54 setback last year, when 26 IU turnovers and a -9 rebounding margin eliminated any chance of the Hoosiers springing the upset. While Saturday's task is tall, Indiana is aided by the fact that it owns a three-point overtime win over the Gophers last month. In that contest, Verdell Jones scored seven of his game-high 24 points in overtime to lead IU to the 81-78 win. Since that game, both teams have fallen on hard times. Indiana has just one win in eight games, while Minnesota lost four of six to put its NCAA tourney hopes in serious jeopardy. Thursday's win over Wisconsin has put the Gophers back in the NCAA conversation, but a second straight loss to Indiana would all but eliminate Minnesota from making a second straight trip to the Big Dance.

IU is coached by Tom Crean, who is in his second year as Indiana's head coach and 11th year overall. Crean owns a 205-137 career mark and a 15-40 record at Indiana. Minnesota, meanwhile, is coached by Tubby Smith, who is in his third season at Minnesota and in his 19th year as a head coach overall. Smith owns a 57-35 mark at Minnesota, and a 444-180 record overall.

The game will be televised by the Big Ten Network with Wayne Larrivee (play-by-play) and Shon Morris (color commentary) calling the match-up.

Indiana 2009-10 Schedule

Minnesota 2009-10 Schedule

Indiana (9-16/3-10)
PG- Jeremiah Rivers (6-5, 214, Jr.) – 6.1 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 3.8 apg, 1.4 spg, 38.8% FG shooting, 55.0% FT shooting
SG – Jordan Hulls (6-0, 172, Fr.) – 6.0 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 1.6 apg, 0.6 spg, 39.1% 3 pt. shooting, 78.6% FT shooting
WG- Verdell Jones (6-5, 183, So.) – 14.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 3.2 apg, 1.0 spg, 40.1% FG shooting, 27.4% 3 pt. shooting
SF – Christian Watford (6-9, 220, Fr.) – 12.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 0.6 apg, 39.8% FG shooting, 80.8% FT shooting
C – Tom Pritchard (6-9, 248, So.) – 4.7 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 0.5 apg, 60.2% FG shooting, 40.0% FT shooting

Derek Elston (6-9, 220, Fr.) – 5.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 0.4 apg, 44.5% FG shooting, 38.9% 3 pt. shooting
Bobby Capobianco (6-9, 238, Fr.) – 2.0 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 0.4 apg, 42.6% FG shooting, 33.3% FT shooting
Devan Dumes (6-2, 192, Sr.) – 6.7 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 1.1 apg, 33.6% FG shooting, 31.4% 3 pt. shooting
Daniel Moore (5-10, 172, So.) ¬– 1.5 ppg, 0.7 rpg, 0.4 apg, 60.0% FG shooting, 82.4% FT shooting

Minnesota (15-10/6-7)
PG – Lawrence Westbrook (6-0, 193, Sr.) – 13.2 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.0 apg, 1.0 spg, 41.1% 3 pt. shooting
SG – Devoe Joseph (6-3, 179, So.) – 8.5 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 3.0 apg, 35.2% 3 pt. shooting, 63.8% FT shooting
WG – Blake Hoffarber (6-4, 210, Jr.) – 11.8 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.0 apg, 49.3% 3 pt. shooting
WF – Damian Johnson (6-7, 205, Sr.) – 10.0 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 2.1 apg, 2.0 bpg, 53.4% FG shooting, 72% FT shooting
PF- Ralph Sampson III (6-11, 241, So.) - 8.3 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 1.8 apg, 2.0 bpg, 52.2% FG shooting, 63.2% FT shooting

Paul Carter (6-8, 203, Jr.) – 6.6 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 0.6 apg, 48.9% FG shooting, 72.5% FT shooting
Rodney Williams (6-7, 200, Fr.) – 5.0 ppg, 1.7 rpg, 0.5 apg, 57.7% FG shooting, 60.7% FT shooting
Colton Iverson (6-10, 258, So.) ¬– 4.0 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 0.8 bpg, 41.9% FG shooting, 52.8% FT shooting

Indiana 2009-10 Statistics

Minnesota 2009-10 Statistics

Can Indiana keep Blake Hoffarber doing what the same thing Jason Bohanon did last weekend? – Last weekend, Indiana went up against one of the league's top 3-point shooters on the road and the results weren't good. Bohannon made 7-of-11 from behind the 3-point arc on his way to a career-high 30 points in Wisconsin's 83-55 win. Bohannon ranks fifth in the conference in 3-point shooting percentage at 41.1 percent, and now Indiana goes up against the league's top 3-point shooter in Hoffarber. The Gopher junior leads the conference by a wide margin in 3-point accuracy, making 71-of-144 attempts (49.2 percent). The Hoosiers did a very good job on Hoffarber in Bloomington, limiting him to just five points on 2-of-7 shooting, including a 1-of-4 effort from behind the 3-point arc. While a similarly anemic scoring effort might not be in the cards for the Gophers' second-leading scorer, Indiana can ill-afford to give Hoffarber the same sort of quality looks that Bohannon got last weekend. Whether IU is in man-to-man or zone, the Hoosiers have to be aware of Hoffarber's location on the court and contest every one of his 3-point attempts.

Will Minnesota go big against Indiana, and how will that impact the battle on the boards? -Minnesota broke out of its recent funk on Thursday with an impressive 68-52 win over Wisconsin, and they did it with a different personnel look. Gopher coach Tubby Smith played reserve center Colton Iverson alongside starting center Ralph Sampson III for extended periods of time, giving Minnesota a three-big man lineup that helped produce a 41-28 edge on the boards. The 6'10" Iverson had five points and seven rebounds in 29 minutes, which was more than double the playing time he's received in the last month. If Minnesota goes big against Indiana, the Hoosiers will have little choice but counter with a big line-up of their own or play zone exclusively to avoid a huge mismatch with either Iverson, Sampson or Damian Johnson. In the first meeting between these two teams, Indiana got nice production out of reserve big men Derek Elston and Bobby Capobianco, who combined for 10 points and nine rebounds in 33 minutes. Those efforts helped IU to a +12 effort on the boards and ultimately a three-point overtime win. Both will need to play well again in Minneapolis.

How closely will the officials call the game? - One of the staples of Indiana's offensive gameplan is the dribble drive, whether it's from Verdell Jones, Jeremiah Rivers, Devan Dumes or even Christian Watford. When they do that tonight against the Gophers, they'll be attacking a Minnesota frontline that leads the conference by a wide margin in blocks (6.04/game) and generally has at least two legitimate shot blockers on the floor. None of Indiana's players have shown an ability to finish over the top of those shot blockers, so it's going to help the Hoosiers immensely if the officials call the game close and put Indiana's guards on the free-throw line when they attack the rim. That's what happened in the first encounter, when Indiana shot 40 free throws, or 11 more than it has shot in any other Big Ten game this season. Minnesota, meanwhile, was whistled for 30 fouls – the most of any IU foe all season – and had Sampson plus top reserve Paul Carter foul out. A closely called game would clearly help Indiana's chances of winning its second Big Ten road game this season.

"They are a different team at home because they play so fast and I think that is the biggest difference. Williams Arena is a unique place and their crowd - they are really into it and they love their team. And that's what is great about this league - when you've got so many great on-campus arenas, But they are going to be hungry, especially after a big win against Wisconsin." – Tom Crean

"We have to play hard and compete. That's what it's about. We have a lot of spirit and toughness inside and we have to bring it. When we practice that way, we need to play that way." - Crean

"I think it is important to have the mindset that we are going to have to be aggressive on the boards to be successful. We have to defend, especially in transition. Their guards are outstanding shooters who can get on a hot streak and carry a team at any point in the game." - Crean

"Our preparation has been good. We took Wednesday off and came back yesterday. Our practice was competitive and our focus has to start with the defensive end. They used a bigger lineup at times on Thursday, so we have to be ready for that. We also have to take care of the basketball. You cannot let turnovers be the deciding factor on the road." - Crean

"The last five games we are shooting 76.7% from the line and Verdell and Christian are beginning to understand they can draw contact and help us at the free throw line. It is so important for us to try and get in the bonus as quickly as we can because when you are shooting with confidence from the line, the chance of you having an empty possession is much smaller and you can avoid those stretches where a team might put a run on you." - Crean

"We need to emerge as better post defenders all the time. We need to do our work early. We are giving up position to easily." - Crean Top Stories