Northwestern hopes to ruin Indiana’s Big Ten opener

NCAA Basketball

Northwestern will look to build off its upset of Michigan State when it opposes Indiana on Wednesday in Bloomington, Ind.

The Wildcats (4-1, 1-0 Big Ten) beat the visiting Spartans, who were ranked No. 4 and have since dropped to No. 12, 79-65 on Sunday.

Northwestern forward Pete Nance said, “We just came together, and we’re trying to change the narrative on what everybody thinks about us, that we can’t finish, all this stuff. We’re just a really tight-knit group and we just love playing together and being out there with each other.”

Wildcats guard Boo Buie, who scored 30 points vs. Michigan State, earned Big Ten Player of the Week honors after averaging 22.5 points, four rebounds and four assists in two games.

The Wildcats have employed a Princeton-style offense with as many of four or five shooters on the floor at the same time. They lead the Big Ten in 3-pointers made, averaging 11.4 per game.

“It’s going to be a very difficult cover for our group,” Indiana coach Archie Miller said. “Something unique, you don’t see it a lot. For us, our offense may be as important as our defense in this game.”

Indiana (5-2) will play its Big Ten opener.

Miller said the two biggest concerns remain rebounding and taking care of the basketball. Indiana has committed 33 turnovers in its past two games and was outrebounded 35-30 during a 68-60 win over Butler on Saturday.

“We’ve had some sloppy turnovers,” Miller said. “As we move into conference play, we have to keep that number at around 10 game. It’s a magic number but if we’re able to play around 10 or 11 turnovers per game, we’re going to be much more successful.”

Miller wants Indiana to improve its rebounding rate from 69 percent off the defensive glass to around 72 percent.

“We have to rebound the ball by committee and we have to do a much better job it,” Miller said.

The Hoosiers’ offense has received a lift of late from Armaan Franklin, who is averaging 19.5 points over his past two games and is 10 of his last 14 from 3-point range. The sophomore scored a career-high 20 points in the Butler win and is emerging as a second offensive option behind Trayce Jackson-Davis, who is averaging 21 points per game.

“Armaan has given us an outside weapon here in the last few games clearly that’s opened up some things inside,” Miller said. “You’ve got to worry about him.”

–Field Level Media

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