05 March 2010

Countdown to Northwestern at Indiana

Northwestern travels to The Hall to take on Indiana at 11:00AM Central on Saturday March 6. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network and radio coverage is on WGN 720-AM and wgnradio.com.

The game is yet again being built up as a potentially historic game for NU. In its last game, Northwestern (19-11, 7-10 Big Ten) won a record 19th game this season as it bombed lowly Chicago State into submission to the tune of 72-49. That hollow victory gives NU the opportunity to win its 20th game against Indiana.

There really isn't anything special about win #20 other than it is a round number. Does it really mean much that Northwestern racked up 12 wins against relatively poor non-conference opponents this year? No. What's more telling to us is that NU is gunning for its eighth conference win on Saturday. This is the same conference win total as last year, and a win tomorrow would mark the third time during Bill Carmody's tenure that NU won eight conference games during the regular season.

In fact the first time NU made it to eight wins during the 2003-04 season is arguably more impressive since there were only 16 conference games back then. The most telling part about how little the 20th victory plateau means this year is that, unlike last year, there is no hope of an at-large bid for the NCAAs on the eve of the last game of the regular season.

In any event Northwestern looks to win at Assembly Hall where it embarrassed the Hoosiers last year. In theory the Hoosiers are extra motivated by that game as well as the loss earlier this year in Evanston. In reality the Hoosiers are terrible and in about as a bad a tailspin as imaginable. Indiana (9-20, 3-14) have lost 11 straight games including the last eight by at least 14 points.

What to expect? Northwestern has no business losing this game. Then again the same thing could have been said for the game at Iowa City or to Penn State in Evanston. There is some buzz about the flu bug running rampant in Camp Willie and that Drew Crawford may be slowed by some injuries. The Hoosiers better hope that these things continue to plague Northwestern because their Senior Day will end up pretty depressing otherwise.