Indiana basketball is headed to Northwestern on Tuesday night, so you know what that means? Yes, it’s time to get ready for the Miller Kopp Invitational everybody! Back during college basketball talking season, we had an exclusive with Northwestern coach Chris Collins, and this was a topic that came up.
Collins admitted that it’s going to be “weird” to see Kopp on the floor, at Welsh-Ryan Arena, wearing colors other than purple and white. We agree. As Jim Morrison famously told us, people are strange, when you’re a stranger.” Let’s preview IUBB at NU, and potentially get weird, if we must.
Indiana Basketball at Northwestern Wildcats FYIs
ESPN Matchup Predictor has it at 51.3%-48.7% probability that Northwestern wins this thing. If you’re looking at the betting sites not on gamstop, then you’ll see that this game is a pick’em. Northwestern is favored -1, with a money line -110. The over/under is 136.
For my radio spot preview of this game, check out my segment on KOZN 1620 The Zone Omaha. Tip time is 8pm, on Tuesday, Feb 8. It will be televised on BTN.
In terms of bracket projections, Indiana is slotted in as a #7 seed, in the East Regional. For Northwestern, it is a 404 Error, File Not Found.
Indiana Basketball (16-6, 7-5) Preview
Kenpom 34 Net 33
Quality wins: Ohio State (KenPom 20), Purdue (KenPom 5)
Has Mike Woodson brought Indiana basketball back? Well, it’s very early, but he seems more promising than his predecessor, who truly embodied the “flavor of the month hire” concept. Wow! did Archie Miller flop, or what?
With two signature wins already, they look to be in a good place to nab a NCAA Tournament berth. All they really have to do is stay above water in the league.
This past Saturday’s 17-point loss at home to Illinois marked the Illini’s largest margin of victory ever at IU’s Assembly Hall, which opened a half-century ago. It was Illinois’ largest margin of victory at Indiana since the No. 8 Illini beat the No. 12 Hoosiers by 24 (96-72) on January 14, 1956.
The outing saw Trayce Jackson-Davis shoot 3-of-9 (33.3%), his worst of the season. TJD is still the Hoosiers’ big gun, alpha dog, and it’s starting to feel like he’s been there forever. However, this is only his third season in Bloomington.
Northwestern Wildcats (11-10, 4-8) Preview
Kenpom 63 Net 69 (nice!)
Quality wins: Michigan State (KenPom 22)
NU has a good, balanced team, with a lot of players that have multiple talents, and varied skill sets. However, they just haven’t been able to put it all together. Everyone agrees they have some great pieces, such as Boo Buie, Chase Audige and Pete Nance.
(Click where highlighted for more on each player)
es, they did eventually win it in overtime, but this marked the fifth time in six conference home games that they blew a second half lead. The “Cardiac Cats,” well maybe, but they’re certainly not the “Closing Cats” as it took this long to get a home league win.
Like they say in Glengarry Glen Ross, coffee is for closers only, so this team must be decaffeinated. It’s impossible to say what the specific problem with finishing is- do they not have a true alpha dog?
So they don’t have a “closer” with “ice water in his veins” who can be “cold-blooded” and “hit the big shot?”
Can I put any more shopworn cliches into the same sentence? Is it a mentality/performance anxiety thing? Whatever it is, had they closed out a couple of those, they’d be in a much better spot right now. At least from a potential NIT berth perspective.
In terms of making it back to the NCAAs, they will need to win this one, have a monster February, and probably do some work in the Big Ten tournament too.
Northwestern Wildcats 79, Indiana Basketball 76
I fully expect the Cats to build a big second half lead here, only to see it totally erode, but the plot twist here is…this time they finish the opposition off.
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Bank (TheSportsBank.Net) and author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” as well as “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”Follow paulmbanks