The Northwestern Wildcats (11-7, 2-3) and the Indiana Hoosiers (10-7, 3-2) will face one another this afternoon at Assembly Hall. Both teams have had their fair share of ups and downs, but are trying to stay afloat in the tough Big Ten conference.
Today’s meeting is a big game for both teams. For Northwestern, they have a chance to build on what was a dominating performance against Minnesota and move to 3-3 in Big Ten play. Indiana is hoping to extend its two-game winning streak and move to 4-2 in conference play.
In order for the Wildcats to secure a road victory in a tough environment, they will have to rely heavily on upperclassmen.
Senior guard Bryant McIntosh will be looked at to run the offense effectively without turning the ball over. Not only does he have to get others involved, but McIntosh has to look to score when the opportunity presents itself.
One of the main guys McIntosh will look to feed the ball to is senior guard Scottie Lindsey, who is the Wildcats leading scorer on the season. Lindsey is a lethal weapon because he can score in a variety of ways, such as the three-point ball, driving to the basket, or earning a trip to the free throw line.
Juniors Vic Law and Dererk Pardon make the most of their contributions on the defensive end. Law primarily guards the other team’s best player, and Pardon alters many shots in the paint and excels at securing defensive rebounds.
If the four players mentioned play well today, Northwestern has a very good chance to win. They have to start fast and not get rattled by the crowd noise if the contest is close towards the end of regulation.
For the Hoosiers, the key offensively is to get big man Juwan Morgan the ball early and put Pardon in foul trouble. If Pardon gets in early foul trouble, then Morgan could be in for a big day.
Other players besides Morgan have to step up as well, and head coach Archie Miller hopes one of those players is Robert Johnson. When Johnson is hitting shots from behind the arc early in the game, that usually bodes well for the Hoosiers. He can be a deadly three-point shooter at times and Northwestern must have their eyes on him constantly.
Despite Northwestern’s best efforts, I believe the game will come down to the wire and the energy of the home crowd will propel the Hoosiers to victory.