4 storylines to Indiana’s game against Maryland #iubb

1. Hanner Mosquera-Perea’s availability. After he aggravated his right kneecap while falling over Northwestern’s Alex Olah on Thursday, Mosquera-Perea grabbed his black knee brace and let out a pained yell. The arena went silent while the Indiana junior breathed heavily on the floor, his hands clutching at the injured knee that cost him seven games early in conference season. If Mosquera-Perea can’t play tonight against Maryland, the Hoosiers can at least fall back on what they know. That means using sophomore forward Collin Hartman in the five-spot role he occupied during Mosquera-Perea’s previous absence. Hartman went scoreless and didn’t grab a single rebound against the Wildcats, but said he’d be ready if IU needed him to start tonight. “Definitely, definitely,” Hartman said. “I’ll do what I’m asked, step up and play the role. Coach always says ‘Play on demand.’ You just gotta be ready.”

2. The Hoosiers can’t rest on the Northwestern win. By earning win No. 20 on Thursday night, IU should be on the right side of NCAA Tournament bubble. But a win over the Terrapins — the tournament’s No. 2 seed and the No. 8 team in the nation — would leave no doubt. It would seem that if Indiana has done enough to get into the dance with 20 wins, further bolstering its resume with a win over Maryland and an ensuing run into the tournament semifinals could be enough to propel the Hoosiers out of the Dayton play-in games, where they’re likely headed with their current profile. “I don’t know,” IU coach Tom Crean said about IU’s tournament chances. “You know, I really don’t know, and no one knows. That’s the beauty of it all.”

3. Indiana matches well with the Terps. Perhaps it’s the pairing of personnel, or maybe one big win led to confidence in the next meeting between the two teams. Whatever it is, Indiana seems to matchup with Maryland as well as it does against any of it Big Ten brethren. The Hoosiers smoked the Terrapins with a 60 percent shooting effort on Jan. 22 at Assembly Hall before falling one final shot short of upsetting Maryland in College Park on Feb. 11. Despite a combined 5-for-27 shooting effort by James Blackmon Jr. and Robert Johnson in the latter, IU was there with a chance to earn a win at the end. “I just think both of those games we came out from the beginning and wanted to win bad,” Johnson said. “Both those games we played in, I think that showed on the court.”

4. Maryland enters as Big Ten’s hottest team. The Terps’ home victory over IU in February represented the start of the seven-game winning streak that they carry into tonight’s Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals. It’s the longest streak within the conference to end the regular season since Wisconsin won seven in a row in the 2007-08 season. Maryland’s run includes a win over the top-seeded Badgers, while its turnaround season has been bolstered by All-Big Ten first teamers Dez Wells (coaches) and Melo Trimble (media). “Both times have been close. We know they’re a great team,” Yogi Ferrell said. “They’ve got great guards with Dez Wells and Melo Trimble, great bigs inside, so it’s all about diving into that film, taking away some of the tendencies. It’s just going to be a fun game.”

One comment

  1. played well enough to win… missed a bunch of open 3’s, which was the main factor. Had some unforced TO’s, but those were negated by our hustle on the offensive glass. I really didn’t like the reffing tonight – felt that Wells and (especially) Trimble got to the line on ticky-tack crap while it took an act of congress for Yogi or Blackmon to see FT’s. That (terrible) line violation on Dez’s missed front end was the ultimate killer. Just an awful call, no matter what point in the game, but especially then… and then he hit’s both, which means we have to foul with 39 seconds to go instead of being tied… at that point you have to get lucky and we didn’t. Bottom line is sometimes the game is so even that 1 call can make a difference and tonight we got the crap-end of it.

    Oh well, pretty sure we are going to have a chance to upset a couple teams in the Tourney and keep me interested for the first couple rounds.

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