March 9, 2010
Complete Release in PDF Format
INDIANA (10-20, 4-14 BIG TEN) vs. NORTHWESTERN (19-12, 7-11 BIG TEN)
March 11, 2010 Approx. 5 p.m. ET
Indianapolis, Ind. Conseco Fieldhouse (18,345)
Series Record: Indiana leads 109-44
TV: ESPN2 (Dave O'Brien and Steve Lavin)
RADIO: IU Radio Network (Don Fischer and Joe Smith)
Sirius: 90 XM: 196
THE OPENING TIP
Indiana is in its 110th season of college basketball and faces Northwestern in the first round of the Big Tournament on Thursday. The teams have never met in the Big Ten Tournament. Northwestern is the seventh seed and Indiana is the 10th seed. The winner will meet second-seeded Purdue at 6:30 p.m. Friday on the Big Ten Network.
THE SEASON SERIES
Thursday is the third meeting between the two teams this year, with the Wildcats taking the first meeting, 78-61, in Evanston on February 7. The Hoosiers earned an 88-80 overtime victory on Senior Day in Bloomington on March 6.
Indiana named Tom Crean as its 28th men's basketball coach on April 2, 2008, and he is in his second year with the Hoosiers. He reached the 200-win plateau on Dec. 8 with a 74-64 win over Pitt in Madison Square Garden. In his 10-plus-season career, he has a 206-141 record. He came to Indiana from Marquette where he was 190-96 (66.4) in nine seasons and made five NCAA Tournament appearances, including the 2003 Final Four. His 2009 recruiting class was ranked among the top 10 in the country. Bill Carmody is in his 10th year at Northwestern, where he has a 139-161 record as the head coach. Prior to taking over at Northwestern, he spent four seasons at Princeton, compiling a 92-25 overall record.
BUILDING A FOUNDATION
In a league dominated by upperclassmen, Coach Tom Crean has seen three of his younger players emerge as some of the finest in their respective classes. Sophomore Verdell Jones III (14.8 ppg.) is the second-highest scorer among second-year performers and Freshman of the Year candidate Christian Watford (12.1 ppg) is the top-scoring rookie in the Big Ten. In addition, freshman Maurice Creek was averaging a then rookie-best 16.4 ppg, when he was lost for the season in the final non-conference tilt for IU. In fact, IU is the only league school that has a combination of three sophomores and freshmen averaging double figures in points scored.
HOOSIERS IMPROVING AT THE LINE
Over the last 13 games, Indiana has been one of the top free throw shooting teams in the Big Ten making 193-of-259 attempts (74.5 percent) and shooting over 70 percent in 10 of those contests. In the season finale against Northwestern, Indiana was 26-of-32 (81.3 percent) from the line. During those 13 games, Jones is shooting 83.9 percent from the line (73-of-87), junior Jeremiah Rivers is shooting 84.2 percent (16-of-19) and freshman Christian Watford is making 80.3 percent (49-of-61) from the charity stripe.
With his 22-point effort at Iowa, sophomore Verdell Jones III scored 20 points or more in Big Ten play eight times this season in 18 games. Including the final four games of the season last year, Jones III has scored 20 or more against a Big Ten foe in 11 of the last 22 games.
Live stream of Thursday's game is available for on ESPN360 at: http://espn.go.com/broadband/espn360/index?id=300700077