This is the winter of our discontent.
Northwestern basketball is bad. After beating a shorthanded Minnesota team in Rosemont on Wednesday, some may have hoped that the Wildcats were returning to form. Instead, Northwestern laid a complete egg on both ends of the floor against Indiana, losing 66-46 in Assembly Hall. It was a catastrophic defeat for Northwestern, its most embarrassing Big Ten loss since...well, last week. Northwestern shot 15-for-56 from the field.
The first half was an affront to the sport of basketball, mostly thanks to Northwestern’s offensive ineptitude. Over the first 11 minutes, Northwestern scored three points. That’s it. The Wildcats’ field goal percentage was in the single digits for a while. Somehow, despite the fact Northwestern could not hit the broad side of a barn, Indiana could only manage an 11-0 run. McIntosh hit a three for Northwestern’s first basket in ages, but it was still just 13-6 in favor of Indiana. Needless to say, neither team was executing well offensively.
The Hoosiers inability to just put the game away kept Northwestern in it without any justification. Soon enough the lead was trimmed to five, and then, remarkably, a pair of Pardon free throws cut it to 18-15. Indiana went to halftime up 6 thanks to three pointers from Johnson and Hartman, but overall things could’ve been worse for the Wildcats.
Indiana finally started dropping the hammer in the second half. Northwestern’s offense only managed 7 points in the first 10 minutes of the second half. Meanwhile, the defense imploded (or Indiana finally started hitting shots), allowing Indiana to score 27 points, including a game-ending 25-2 run. It was abysmal. The Northwestern players looked completely hapless and defeated. It was like Northwestern got stuck in traffic for 4 hours on I-65 and had just walked out of the car to start the second half.
This is the worst basketball I’ve seen in my three years at Northwestern. The team looked completely lifeless on offense. The defense was okay in stretches, but completely lost focus in the second half, just like in the Nebraska game. I have no explanations. This is a veteran team that should be putting in an effort against an inexperienced and generally mediocre Indiana squad.