Indiana vs Northwestern: Prediction & Fan Poll

February 15th, 2012

NORTHWESTERN (15-9, 5-7 Big Ten) AT NO. 20 INDIANA (19-6, 7-6 Big Ten)

 

Time: 6:30 p.m.

 

TV: Big Ten Network

 

Location: Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind.

 

RPI Ratings

Northwestern 41 (No. 7 Big Ten)

Indiana 15 (No. 4 Big Ten)

 

Line: Indiana -8½ (O/U 149)

 

Northwestern Players to Watch: F John Shurna, 6-9 Sr. (19.9 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 2.5 apg); G Drew Crawford, 6-5 Jr. (16.8 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 2.1 apg); G Dave Sobolewski, 6-1 Fr. (9.1 ppg, 3.9 apg, 2.8 rpg). Shurna – the Big Ten’s leading scorer – had a career-high 30 points in Sunday’s 87-77 loss at Purdue. He scored 21 points in the final eight minutes as the Wildcats shot 59.4 percent from the floor in the second half.

 

Indiana Players to Watch: F Cody Zeller, 6-11 Fr. (15.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 64.8% FG); G Victor Oladipo, 6-5 So. (10.8 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.5 spg); G Jordan Hulls, 6-0 Jr. (12.2 ppg, 3.4 apg, 49.5% 3s). Zeller, who lead the Big Ten in field goal percentage, was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week last week after a 22-point, 5-rebound performance in the Hoosiers’ 84-71 win over Illinois.

 

Storylines: With 19 wins, including 7 in the Big Ten, Indiana appears headed for its first NCAA Tournament since 2008. The Hoosiers have won three of their last four. Northwestern, which had its 3-game winning streak snapped at Purdue on Sunday, is in a more precarious position in search of its first NCAA Tourney bid. A win Wednesday would be big for the Wildcats, who have a lot of winnable games down the stretch.

 

Keys: Indiana leads the Big Ten in scoring (78.7 points per game), field goal percentage (49.6) and 3-point percentage (43.6). The Hoosiers have a significant advantage on the boards against Northwestern. The Hoosiers average 34.7 rebounds per game, compared to 30.1 for Northwestern. The Hoosiers have a plus-3.9 rebounding margin. Northwestern is last in the Big Ten at minus-4.5. Northwestern leads the Big Ten in assist-to-turnover ratio, averaging 16 assists and committing 10.1 errors per contest. The Wildcats are also fourth in the Big Ten in turnover margin at plus-2.3. Indiana has a 1.1-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio and just a plus-1.04 turnover margin. Three of Northwestern’s seven league losses were by a combined five points (57-56 to Illinois, 66-64 at Michigan in OT and 58-56 vs. Purdue). Northwestern is 2-6 in true road games and 5-6 in contests away from home this season. They are 1-5 in Big Ten road games. Indiana is 14-1 at Assembly Hall is season, including wins over No. 1 Kentucky and No. 2 Ohio State. The Hoosiers’ only home loss was Jan. 12, 77-74 to Minnesota. Northwestern has won six of the last seven outings against the Hoosiers, including 2-of-3 in Bloomington. Four of those wins were by double-figures. This is the only meeting this year between the Hoosiers and Wildcats.

 

The Bottom Line: Northwestern has the weapons to stick with Indiana, but in the end, the Hoosiers’ talent will be too much at home.

 

The Pick: Indiana 84, Northwestern 74

 

 

Greg Against the Spread This Season: 65-40