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Rapid Reaction: Indiana 61, Northwestern 56

We're going to do the rapid reaction a little different today, splitting it up into two halves, because really, Northwestern played two separate games. The Wildcats stayed neck-and-neck with the Hoosiers until the second half, when the offense did what it always does.

First Half

- Despite playing with two recently sprained ankles, Alex Olah has a very impressive half. He had 12 points and 4 rebounds in 19 minutes. With Nikola Cerina sitting out due to suspension, that's exactly what the Wildcats needed. Olah struggled during the middle of the Big Ten season, but he's still developing and has a lot of potential. He showed that in the first half tonight.

- Dave Sobolewski returned to the starting lineup today, replacing injured guard JerShon Cobb. Sobolewski had a relatively pedestrian game, though he wasn't the defensive liability many figured he would be. He finished with two points (his first since January 2 against Wisconsin) and is going to have to hit some threes for NU to be successful in Cobb's absence.

- Tre Demps started in place of Kale Abrahamson today. Abrahamson wasn't even the first one off the bench, as Nate Taphorn came in as the first substitution. None of the young guard/forward combos (Abrahamson, Taphorn and Sanjay Lumpkin) were particularly impressive, but Lumpkin gets the edge because of his rebounding ability. However, they all need to have more of a presence offensively.

- The offense was actually pretty solid in the first half. NU scored over a point per possession in the first 20 minutes. They did a good job getting the ball inside to Olah and penetrating on the dribble drive.

- The defense was pretty bad in the last 10 minutes of the first half. The Wildcats did a terrible job boxing out, and at one point, IU got four dunks in a row, two coming on putbacks. That can't happen in what figures to be a close game.

Second half

- After a solid first half, the wheels came off on offense in the second half. NU hung around, as IU couldn't pull away after grabbing a 12-point lead, but it wasn't enough.

- After going 5-for-8 on field goals in the first half, Alex Olah didn't get his first attempt in second half — a three — until 14 minutes into the period. That's inexcusable. Olah did have a couple turnovers, but he simply has to be given more chances. Since he wasn't, NU resorted to the "pass it around the perimeter until the shot clock runs down" offense that NU fans know all too well. Even without getting his chances, Olah still had an impressive game. He finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

- Drew Crawford had a couple nice drives to the rim, but he couldn't finish. He's almost out of control on a lot of drives and ends up laying the ball off the glass way too hard.

- This has a lot to do with Olah not getting the ball, but NU couldn't get good shots in the second half. Don't blame the shooters, blame the ball movement on offense.

- NU turned the ball over 10 times, many times in transition on wild dribbles. That's way too many wasted possessions.

- This is NU's fifth straight loss. The Wildcats are now 10th in the Big Ten, half a game out of last place.