Northwestern Wildcats vs. Indiana Hoosiers Game Preview

Uh-oh.

More like the LINdiana Hoosiers, am I right? I'll show myself out.

Northwestern has a road bout with the No. 18 Hoosiers, and suffice it to say, it isn't exactly a game Northwestern is expected to win. That said, it's a game that they can win - Indy has lost to worse teams - and it's a game that would really do wonders for NU's chances at making the NCAA Tournament in just under three weeks. (Holy crap, it's just under three weeks.)

Click the link to read this stuff!

Are they good?: Indiana has somehow made the leap from a three-win Big Ten team last year to a powerhouse with thrilling home wins over the then-and-nowNo. 1 Kentucky Wildcats and then-No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes. While they're not a great road squad - they've lost five games in conference, including one to Nebraska - only one team, oddly enough, Minnesota has been able to beat Indy in Assembly Hall.

Why are they so much better than last year?: The quick answer is that Cody Zeller is an absolute phenom. We're talking about a freshman averaging 15.4 and 6.2, who can get to the line at will, whose presence has made everything easier for everyone else, keeping less talented bigs who got major playing time last year on the bench, and opening up shooting opportunities for gunners in Jordan Hulls and Christian Watford. Secondly, last year Indiana gave heavy minutes to Jeremiah Rivers, who might have put up the ugliest Kenpom line for a team's ballhandler - 13.9 assist rate, 31.0 turnover rate - I've ever seen, in addition to having no offensive capabilities. That's some serious addition by subtraction.

What are they good at?: Indiana is one of the best shooting teams in the country, hitting 43.6 percent of their attempts as a team - that's No. 3 in the country. Hulls is shooting 49.5 percent on over four attempts per game, Watford is at 44 percent, and bench guard Matt Roth is shooting 54.9 percent. This is somewhat tempered by the broken jumpers of Victor Oladipo and Verdell Jones (the third!), but those guys can really knock them down.

What are they bad at?: Not much, really. I mean, they're obviously not perfect, they do lose, but they're well rounded. Above average defensively, great shooting, great interior play.

What is the preferred method of inserting Tom Crean's name into the song "Ice Cream Paint Job"?: It is "Crean on the inside, Clean on the outside", not "Clean on the inside, Crean on the outside".

Can NU win?: It'll take a great shooting night. Northwestern won't have an answer for Zeller and won't successfully guard the perimeter. There won't be much room for error, but stranger things have happened.

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