Feb. 13, 2012
THE OPENING TIP
Indiana is in its 112th season of college basketball and will host Northwestern on Wednesday night. The Hoosiers are coming off an 84-71 win at home over Illinois on Thursday, Feb. 9, while the Wildcats fell at Purdue, 87-77, this past Sunday. Indiana is ranked 18th by the Associated Press and 20th in the USA Today/Coaches poll, after entering the rankings for the first time under Tom Crean's tenure following a 73-72 win over No. 1 Kentucky, on Dec. 10 in Bloomington. IU also edged No. 2 Ohio State (74-70) on New Years Eve. IU is the first Big Ten team since Minnesota in 1952-53 to defeat the top two ranked teams in the same season. This week is the 508th appearance in the AP Poll (seventh all-time among Division I programs). Indiana is the most improved team among major conference programs with a +7 in the win column from the previous season.
Indiana named Tom Crean as its 28th men's basketball coach on April 2, 2008, and is in his fourth year with the Hoosiers. He is 237-168 all-time as a head coach and has five wins over nationally ranked foes in the last calendar year. Crean is 4-4 in his career against teams ranked No. 1 or No. 2 and 7-10 vs. teams ranked in the top five. Crean was named midseason winner of the Jim Phelan Award which is the National Coach of the Year by Collegeinsider.com and selected by SI.com as the Midseason Coach of the Year. Sunday, Jan. 22 was his 400th game as a head coach.
Bill Carmody is in his 12th season at Northwestern and a has career record of 175-186 with the Wildcats. Overall, he is 267-211 in his 16th season as a head coach.
The Hoosiers are 31-26 since the beginning of last season and took just 25 games to win 19 this year after winning 16 in two seasons from 2008-10. IU has improved its scoring average 18.6 points since averaging 60.1 points in Crean's first season at IU (2008-09), now averaging 78.7. The Hoosiers have improved their field goal percentage defense to 42.2 percent from 48.0 four years ago and are shooting 43.6 from long distance after shooting just 33.5 percent that first year. The Cream and Crimson are also shooting 49.6 percent from the field as opposed to 43.0. IU will likely move back into the top 10 in the nation in attendance, averaging 16,241 fans with four remaining home games, and are expected to average more than 17,000 per game for the remainder of the season. IU averaged 14,331 in attendance in 2008-09.
The Hoosiers are slotted ninth in the Sagarin Ratings, 11th by kenpom.com and are 15th in the RPI. IU has wins over four teams that are currently nationally ranked in Kentucky, Ohio State, Michigan and Notre Dame.
Indiana has shot 49.6 percent from the field, 43.6 percent from 3-point range and 74.9 percent from the free throw line. The Hoosiers are second in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage and sixth in field goal percentage, and lead the Big Ten averaging 78.7 points per game.
IU is the leader among BCS teams making 18.6 free throws per game. The Hoosiers also are the leader in 3-point field goal percentage, second in field goal percentage and are sixth in scoring among major conference teams.
In conference games only, IU is the league's best in scoring (73.1), field goal percentage (47.8), free throw percentage (75.8) and 3-point percentage (41.4).
Freshman Cody Zeller has been named Big Ten Freshman of the Week six times. He was also named a Second Team Midseason All-American by ESPN.com, the Sporting News and SI.com, was one of four Big Ten players named to the Midseason Top 25 list for the Wooden Award, and one of three freshmen being considered for the Oscar Robertson Award. Zeller leads the Hoosiers averaging 15.4 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. He leads the Big Ten and is fourth in the nation in field goal percentage, making 64.8 percent of his field goal attempts. He is on pace to break the school's single-season shooting mark of 62.8 set by Matt Nover in 1992-93. He had 22 points and five rebounds last game against Illinois. He had a career-high 26 points on 11-of-12 shooting against Iowa. He had his first Big Ten double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds at Michigan and then notched 16 points and eight rebounds at Purdue.
Sophomore Victor Oladipo has averaged 20.5 points in his last two games after he had 18 points against Illinois and had a career-high 23 points in the win at Purdue. He has made 20-of-24 free throws in that two-game span. He leads the team with 38 steals, which ranks fifth in the Big Ten (1.5). He had 15 points, six boards and three steals against Ohio State. He had the game-winning layup in the final minute to give IU the win over the Buckeyes.
Junior Christian Watford had 18 points and five rebounds against Illinois. He had a 15-point night against Iowa. He is averaging 12.4 points and 5.6 boards per game this season. He is second among all Big Ten juniors with 1,143 career points, becoming the 43rd IU player to top the 1,000-point mark in his career. He hit the game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer to beat Kentucky earlier this year.
Senior Verdell Jones III has not played in the last two and a half games because of a bruised shoulder. He had one of his best games of the season against Iowa with 14 points and nine assists, which matched his career-high. He is sixth among active scorers in the Big Ten with 1,302 points. He has made 102 career starts. He had 12 first-half points against Wisconsin.
Junior Jordan Hulls is averaging 14.3 points in the last three games. He had 16 against Illinois, 10 points at Purdue and a team-high 18 points at Michigan. He has made 7 of his last 12 3-point attempts (58.3). He is second in the league hitting on 49.5 percent of his 3-point attempts. He is one of the best in the league in free throw shooting making 87.7 percent of his charity tosses. He is averaging 12.2 points per game and has made 53-of-107 triples. He is the Hoosiers' active leader with 66 consecutive starts.
Senior Matt Roth has hit 23-of-39 long distance shots (59.2) since December 19. He had 22 points off the bench at Penn State and made 5-of-6 triples in that game. He leads the Big Ten making 55.1 percent of his 3-point attempts. He also has shot 56.7 percent from long distance in the Big Ten. Roth is the sixth Hoosier to eclipse the 20-point mark, a Big Ten best.
Sophomore Will Sheehey had seven points, seven boards and a career-high three blocked shots against Purdue, including a game-saver against Lewis Jackson late in the contest. He made his first start of the season and had 10 points, four rebounds and two assists against Iowa. He was averaging 9.5 points per game off the bench. He was named Tournament MVP after he scored a career-high 21 points against Butler in the championship game of the Hoosier Invitational. In the last six games, Sheehey has made 5-of-8 3-pointers (62.5 percent).
Junior forward Derek Elston has started the last two games. At Purdue, he had five points and six rebounds. He had nine points against Michigan after he matched his season high with 11 points against Iowa (11 vs. Stony Brook in season opener). It's also the most points he scored in a Big Ten game since 2010. He had eight straight points and a block in a 68 second span in the win over the Hawkeyes. He is no longer wearing a protective mask in games, which he wore after breaking his nose in late December. He is shooting 50.0 percent from the field and 60.0 percent from 3-point range in the last five games.
Freshman Remy Abell was huge off the bench at Purdue when he scored a career-high 13 points and added four rebounds. He made 5-of-6 field goal attempts and hit a dagger 3-pointer with just over a minute to go to clinch the game. Against Michigan, he came off the bench and had four points, two rebounds and an assist in 16 minutes of action. In the last five games, Abell is averaging 3.8 points and is shooting 50.0 percent from the field.
Senior walk-on guard Kory Barnett scored his first points in a Big Ten game on Sunday against Iowa on a layup in the final minute. He has scored seven points this season, a career high for a season for the Rochester, Ind., native, and now has 12 in his career.
Senior forward Tom Pritchard came off the bench and was a spark plug in the Hoosiers 103-89 win against Iowa, scoring seven points, grabbing four rebounds and taking a pair of charges in 14 minutes of action. He also had a steal that led to a fastbreak layup that he converted during the Hoosiers run late in the first half to extend to a 17-point halftime lead.