4 storylines to Indiana’s game at Northwestern #iubb

1. Collin Hartman’s status remains uncertain. Tom Crean couldn’t say whether or not Hartman will be able to play Wednesday at Northwestern, but the IU coach did clarify the nature of the injury. Crean said Hartman is dealing with a bone bruise in his left leg rather than a knee injury, so it could be much worse for the sophomore forward. Still, in a game against one of the Big Ten’s top perimeter shooting teams over the last two weeks, having Hartman — the leading 3-point percentage shooter in the conference — in any capacity would be a boost.

2. Northwestern hasn’t won four straight Big Ten games in 48 years. After winning their conference opener over Rutgers, the Wildcats lost 10 games in a row, including four by five points or less. There were moments to be seized, including in a one-point loss in the final second at then-No. 13 Maryland, but the Wildcats never had the luck or the wherewithal to get over the hump. On Wednesday they have the opportunity to do something they haven’t accomplished in almost half a century. “I hadn’t seen that stat,” Northwestern coach Chris Collins said. “It’s something you have a chance to do that hasn’t been done in a long, long time. That would be exciting. For us, the main thing is to continue to feel good about the way we’re playing.”

3. A home court advantage at Welsh-Ryan. Evanston has long been a place for Indiana fans in the Chicago area to show their school colors. That’s translated to the court, too, where the Hoosiers are 20-7 at Welsh-Ryan over the last 30 years. It’s also a bit of a homecoming for Indiana guard Nick Zeisloft, a native of La Grange, Ill. Zeisloft played outstanding in his previous trip to his home state, posting 10 points and hitting three 3-pointers to go along with three rebounds at Illinois on Jan. 18. “It’ll be familiar for me,” Zeisloft said. “Like these guys, I’ve played in there before. That’ll be a good thing.”

4. Indiana’s final road game. From here, the Hoosiers have two more games at Assembly Hall, a trip to the neutral setting of the Big Ten Tournament in Chicago and a likely appearance in the NCAA Tournament. With its final road trip, IU has an opportunity to win its fourth game away from home, which would tie for the fourth most in the Big Ten. Back-to-back road wins would put Indiana on course to finish well against Michigan State and Iowa at home, while boosting its seed possibilities in both the conference and NCAA Tournament. “To get this win, and especially get No. 20, will be great for our team,” IU point gaurd Yogi Ferrell said. “It’d be a great push for us heading into the last part of the season.”