Less than 48 hours after beating Iowa, Northwestern is back in action tonight, traveling to Bloomington to take on the last place Indiana Hoosiers. Game is on BTN at 6 PM central.
As much as I'd like to be optimistic about NU's chances in this one, there are a lot of things working against them:
- NU played late Thursday night and has had almost no time to prepare, while Indiana has had a whole week off. Bill Carmody is justifiably upset about this, as apparently Big Ten rules say that teams are supposed to have at least two days off between conference games.
- While Indiana has been awful on the road (0-11), they've been a different team at home all season; all 12 of their wins are at Assembly Hall, including wins over Minnesota and Illinois. So you'd have to expect a much better effort from the Hoosiers than we saw from them in Evanston in early January.
- Northwestern has won a grand total of once in the history of Assembly Hall, and that lone win came 2 years ago when the Indiana program was in turmoil after the Kelvin Sampson scandal and barely even counts. Last year, NU lost at Assembly Hall to a terrible IU team that came into the game on an 11 game losing streak.
- The Hoosiers' two best scorers, Christian Watford and Verdell Jones III, both seem fully recovered from minor injuries suffered earlier in Big Ten play. NU will have a tough time containing either of them.
- IU's biggest defensive weakness, interior defense, was on full display in Evanston when Luka Mirkovic went for a career high 20 points, but Mirkovic has been a different player throughout his career on the road and will likely struggle.
- The Indiana students are really getting geared up for this one; they've created a Northwestern chant page in preparation for NU's visit. Among other things, they plan on chanting "Pu-Ber-Ty!"at John Shurna and "Daddy's Boy!" at Drew Crawford. Some really scary stuff there, Hoosier fans, I hope the NU medical staff packed some aloe vera to help ease the pain from those sick burns.
So not too many reasons to be optimistic tonight, but I'll still be watching and commenting. Hopefully we get a better turnout for the game thread than Thursday, which mostly featured me talking to myself and was kind of depressing.