After four straight losses, the IU men's basketball team now stands at 12-6 and 3-4 in the Big Ten.
Tuesday night, the Hoosiers have another chance to right the ship against Northwestern in Evanston, Illinois.
The Wildcats enter the contest at 11-7 and 2-5 in conference play.
Here are three things to know for the matchup:
1. Hoosiers have to stop Dererk Pardon
In IU and Northwestern’s first meeting of the season Dec. 1, senior center Dererk Pardons dominated the Hoosiers to the tune of 24 points and 10 rebounds.
Pardons has continued his offensive tear, as he’s averaging 14 points and 7.7 rebounds per game.
As for IU, the Hoosiers still struggle defensively against opposing front court players. Since the November contest against the Wildcats, they have allowed 18 points and seven rebounds to Illinois freshman forward Giorgi Bezhanishvili and 25 points and 13 rebounds to Maryland sophomore forward Bruno Fernando.
“Chris (Collins) does a great job of how organized they are,” IU Coach Archie Miller said after the December win over the Wildcats. “And they have some really, really tough concepts to defend. And they do a great job of playing through Pardon, not only in the low post but obviously the high post as well.”
For the Hoosiers to get their first conference road win since Dec. 4 at Penn State, they’ll need to find a way to curb Pardons’ production.
2. Hoosiers need to bring the energy
Slow starts have been a consistent part of Miller’s squad this season. Over the course of IU’s four-game losing streak, the Hoosiers have been outscored 135-112 in the first half.
Further, over that same stretch IU has trailed by an average of 10.3 points after the first half outside of a 35-27 halftime lead against Maryland on Jan. 11.
“I think we've had spurts of it, but I think just digging ourselves in those holes, it's hard for any team to really fight back from,” senior forward Juwan Morgan said after the Michigan loss Jan. 6.
3. Romeo Langford in need of a bounce back
The raucous crowd and big game atmosphere Saturday afternoon at Purdue got to freshman guard Romeo Langford. His two undisciplined first half fouls and dreary-eyed responses were visible indicators of such.
This isn’t a criticism on Langford’s basketball ability or character, but the Hoosiers need more than the four points, three rebounds and one assist he gave them against the Boilermakers.
Despite Langford’s limited collegiate history, he has past production against the Wildcats. In his first game against Northwestern at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, the New Albany, Indiana native notched 20 points on 8 of 13 shooting, along with five assists.
Langford has shown he’s capable of taking over a game, and with a quick turnaround at 9 p.m. Tuesday night in Evanston at Welsh-Ryan Arena, the Hoosiers will need his much ballyhooed scoring prowess.
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