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Tuesday, April 16
The Indiana Daily Student

sports

Team seeks turnaround

Sophomore Tom Coverdale is a basketball junkie from Noblesville, Ind., but the former Mr. Basketball couldn't bring himself to watch one game after Saturday's loss to Minnesota. \nAnd junior guard Dane Fife, who had his most productive offensive game against the Golden Gophers, said he never felt worse after a basketball game.\nSaturday's loss hit the Hoosiers hard. \nInterim head coach Mike Davis said the players were destroyed. They blame themselves for letting a 13-point lead slip away in the final three minutes. They blame themselves for a 2-3 Big Ten record. \nBut Fife and Coverdale said after Monday's practice that there is no better time to show resilience than tonight's game against intra-state rival Purdue at 7 p.m. in Assembly Hall.\nTonight's game goes beyond the storied rivalry. \nDavis said this is a must-win situation for IU. Thoughts of the postseason have soaked into his head. He is consumed with qualifying for the NCAA tournament. And Fife and Coverdale spoke for the team Monday when they said the team wants Davis back, permanently.\nPressure?\nDavis laughed.\n"We need to win (tonight) regardless of who you're playing because you want to be at .500 (in the Big Ten) to make the tournament. There's no way you can be under .500 and make the tournament," Davis said. \n"I know they want me to be here (next season), because we have a chance to be a really good basketball team next year, I mean a really good basketball team. This year, we're just fighting for our lives, but we're doing it as a basketball team, and we're getting better game by game."\nTonight's game against Purdue is the Hoosiers' last in Assembly Hall until Feb. 11 against Michigan. Taking that into consideration, IU has lost the last 10 games it's played outside the state this season.\nComing up are Iowa, Ohio State and Penn State, all away games. \nDavis said the team needs this win "just in case things fall apart on the road."\nBut in a rivalry such as this, Coverdale summed it up: All the records go out the window. \nPurdue is coming off a win against Northwestern and is in third place in the conference. IU wants to prove something.\n"The players were pretty down about that loss and the way we gave it away," Coverdale said. "If we can't get up for this game, we've got problems. I think we're going to be ready."\nThe Boilermakers have a 104-73 all-time edge against IU, but the Hoosiers had the final word last season. A.J. Guyton scored 17 points in IU's 79-65 win, a victory that knocked the Boilers out of first place in the conference.\nMuch has changed for the Hoosiers since Feb. 29, when former coach Bob Knight still held the reigns. In a rivalry where fans often watched the coaches as much as the players for the last 20 years, Fife said something will be lacking.\n"For the past (20) years it's been the same two coaches, so there will definitely be something missing," Fife said. "But there's always a lot of energy in these games, so you won't see a lot of difference, especially in these two games, in the way these two coaches act."\nOne man many IU fans won't miss tonight is Purdue graduate Brian Cardinal, a 6-foot-8 forward who led the Boilers in scoring, defensive rebounds, steals and free throws made last season.\nNow the spotlight is on junior forward Rodney Smith, a guy who said he likes to sing and write poetry in his spare time, read the Bible before games, and then go out and average 16.2 points per game.\nSophomore guard Kenneth Lowe, who averages 11.9 points per game, has earned a starting role this season after improving from 1.8 points per game last year. Lowe scored two points in three minutes against IU last year before suffering a mild head injury.\n"He could be our best player," Purdue coach Gene Keady said. "He really didn't assert himself last year."\nGuard Carson Cunningham is the only senior on Purdue's roster. He is not a big scorer, but Cunningham knows how to distribute the ball and find his teammates, averaging 4.8 assists per game.\nDavis said Minnesota's full court press in the final minutes of Saturday's game wasn't the major cause of the team's breakdown. He said it was the atmosphere, the crowd and the pressure.\nThe Hoosiers will have the home crowd advantage tonight, but Fife said he doesn't care where it happens.\n"We need a pick-me-up, and beating Purdue anywhere is always a good feeling, especially in this state," Fife said. "We definitely need a victory (tonight). We know how important this game is, believe me, we do"

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