4 storylines for Indiana’s game at Rutgers #iubb

1. Road challenge. The Hoosiers have learned that every road game brings its own unique challenges. What will come at Rutgers, where IU has yet to play, remains to be seen. Indiana’s program hasn’t played a game in New Jersey since beating North Carolina at the Meadowlands in December 1999. More recently, IU is only 2-5 away from Assembly Hall during conference play this season. But the Hoosiers are set to embark on a two-game road swing that presents winnable games against conference bottom feeders Rutgers and Northwestern, making this an important time to capitalize on the schedule favor. “I feel like we’re ready for more road games,” Hanner Mosquera-Perea said. “I feel like we’re ready for those and we can win the rest of the games we have. Right now, we’re playing together and helping each other out there.”

2. IU needs a Collin Hartman bounce-back game. The spunky play that the Hoosiers have grown to rely on from Hartman has been missing over the last week. Hartman recorded only six points and zero rebounds over the last two games against Minnesota and Purdue, with Crean saying Saturday that the sophomore forward needs to return to the aggressive mindset that earned him plaudits and playing time early in the season. Crean has tried to make the most out of an unconventional approach to the post, and having Hartman and Hanner Mosquera-Perea playing closer to their capabilities at the same time is just what IU needs to reclaim the matchup problems that has allowed it to thrive at times this season.

3. What does Indiana’s lineup look like? Tom Crean was non-committal when asked about his starting lineup for Sunday’s game. The last time IU met Rutgers, it did so without the services of injured forward Hanner Mosquera-Perea. So Crean mixed up his lineup and started Stanford Robinson to battle with Scarlet Knights forward Kadeem Jack and brought Robert Johnson off the bench for a spark midway through the first half. Mosquera-Perea is coming off his first start since returning from his right knee injury and played eight of his best minutes this season early in the first half against Purdue. Whether he gets an opportunity for a repeat effort won’t be clear until closer to game time.

4. The Hoosiers need to keep a body in front of Myles Mack. The Rutgers point guard made the most of his trip to Indiana last month, going off for 24 points and eight assists in the Scarlet Knights’ eventual 72-64 loss at Assembly Hall. Although he has lacked consistency at times, Mack has been one of the few bright spots during Rutgers’ season in the cellar. The Hoosiers know their Sunday trip to the East Coast could be spoiled if they can’t put a lid on Mack’s ability to pop. “We just can’t let him get to his spots,” IU guard Robert Johnson said. “He’s got a couple spots and tendencies that he likes to do so we gotta try and keep those away from him, know when to help and when to stay with our man.”

2 comments

  1. This is a must win for the Hoosiers. They have to play defense today or they will have no chance. I don’t like their chances because they have a hard time matching intensity and they always let other teams make a run because of poor defense. I hope I’m wrong

  2. Jeff H- You’re right..It is a must win. May even be a must win for Tom Crean. Not making the NCAA tournament two consecutive years is not a direction many expected after the “floodgates” of positives that were supposed to happen subsequent to the “Zellerpalooza” (listen to Dustin words around the 1:30 mark of the clip) recruiting momentum. The claims of “We’re Back!” now appear prematurely asserted and printed upon the many a hopeful, short-lived, t-shirt purchase….Seems so long ago….Since those “Zellerpalooza” days, the GPA of our program has gone from national championship talk to a drop-off that is now measuring success as an average BIG team barely getting a passing grade for an invite to March Madness….Momentum is fading fast….Fans tire of excuses…All teams face adversity/transfers/early NBA departures.. Losing twice to Purdue adds another heap of excessive impatience and irritation…

    Michigan just defeated OSU….MSU has to play at Illinois tonight….Everything in the standings underneath Wisconsin is still totally up for grabs.. We’ve lost 5 of our last seven and the door will close if we don’t play our asses off… Never thought the game that likely determines a trip to the NCAA tournament would hinge @ Rutgers, but it appears this one is that important.

    I hope our shooting is in complete contrast to the deep freeze temps that are predicted to hit..High energy is also a must…If this team loves their coach, they better fully understand what missing on the tournament means in the immediacy his future…….

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