Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Hoosiers finally notch a win, BTT

The Hoosiers actually won a game, snapping a ten-game losing streak by beating Northwestern in OT at home. Sophomore Verdell Jones and four freshman (notably Jordan Hulls with 8 threes and Derek Elston with a double-double) carried the day. Again demonstrating an inability to finish, the Hoosiers turned it over four times and missed the front end of a one-and-one on their last possession, but NU was only able to force OT, where the Hoosiers rallied.

So, what's next for IU's young players? The Big Ten Tourney, and short of winning the whole thing, an offseason of weights and training. There's been some frustration felt by fans that Crean wasn't doing enough and youth wasn't an excuse, but I just looked at the KenPom page on IU and saw a category I hadn't noticed before: experience. Indiana, with an average experience level of 0.88 years, ranks 336 in the country in that category. There are 347 D-I teams total, and several of those are new to the division this year. Given that, and that the Hoosiers also lost their best freshman (heck, player) before the conference season, I think some patience is called for. I'd love to see the Hoosiers get one more banger inside for next year, but I'm optimistic about how the Hoosiers will improve next year, and the year after that.

As for the Big Ten tourney, I'm thinking NU's gonna be ready to get even with the Hoosiers on Thursday. Historically, NU is also 3-1 as a higher seed in the tourney.
Honestly, I think Northwestern is a pretty good sleeper team in the tourney, as they'll then face a Purdue tjavascript:void(0)eam sans Hummel, and possibly a Michigan State team that will be without Chris Allen, who should get by Minnesota just by virtue of their far superior rebounding. If Northwestern should happen to advance to the Big Ten Tourney final, that's as far as they go- I don't see anyone touching Ohio State unless Wisconsin gets lucky in the semifinals. But, I'll throw out my wild prediction for fun: OSU>NU for the tourney crown.


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