WHAT LOOKED GOOD: This may be the shortest ‘What Looked Good' segment ever. So what DID look good? Indiana only committed nine turnovers and went a span of more than 20 minutes from midway through the first half to midway through the second without committing a turnover. Austin Etherington gave the Hoosiers a lift at the end of the first half with a couple of traditional 3-point plays, Jeff Howard did some good things on defense against Drew Crawford and Noah Vonleh was big on the boards with 12 rebounds, six on each end. Beyond that, let's move on to ‘What Needs to Improve'.
WHAT NEEDS TO IMPROVE:Well, there was IU's shooting. Indiana hit three of its first 25 shots (12 percent) and then closed the half shooting 3-of-6 to finish the first half at 6-for-31 (19 percent). So it had to get better in the second half, right? It did but barely. Indiana hit 31 percent in the second half and an even 25 percent for the game. IU's top four shooters (Yogi Ferrell, Noah Vonleh, Will Sheehey and Evan Gordon) combined to hit 11 of 48 shots. But it was more than just missing shots. It was also what the offensive ineptness did to the Hoosiers on defense. In the first half, IU did enough good things defensively to hang around. Having Northwestern only shoot 27.6 percent in the first half allowed for the Wildcats lead to only be three at the break. But in the second half both Crawford and Tre Demps just got too many good looks.
A BIG FIVE-POINT TURNAROUND:As bad as Indiana looked most of the day, the Hoosiers did rally to take a three point lead at 38-35. First, Evan Gordon hit a 3 from the right wing to put IU on top by one and then Hanner Mosquera-Perea made two free throws after Will Sheehey was injured on a drive to the basket and taken to the locker room. Northwestern got to pick a shooter from someone on the floor and chose Perea. But the big turnaround came next. First IU got the ball back and had a chance to increase its lead. But Yogi Ferrell missed a jump shot with 6:38 to play. Northwestern went the other way and Tre Demps knocked down a 3-pointer to even the score at 38.
INJURY UPDATE:Sheehey drove for a layup and was fouled by Demps with 7:15 to play. He stayed down for a long time before being helped off the court and taken to the locker room. He later returned and play at the end of the game. He said later it was an ankle sprain (his left ankle) and that he would be OK.
FOR STARTERS:Indiana utilized the same starting lineup as Tuesday's Wisconsin game: Will Sheehey, Evan Gordon, Noah Vonleh, Troy Williams and Yogi Ferrell. Against Northwestern, the starters scored 36 of Indiana's 47 points. The starters combined to hit 11-of-49 shots from the field, all of IU's 4-of-18 shots from 3-point range and were 9-of-13 on free throws. The Hoosier starters had 24 rebounds with Vonleh leading the way with 12.just 16 rebounds led by Sheehey with six.<
INDIVIDUAL OBSERVATIONS: Here's a look at my own thoughts on a few Indiana players from Saturday's loss to Northwestern:
1. YOGI FERRELL: It was another tough night at the office for Yogi who has now had three bad halves of basketball in the last two games. He came on strong in the second half against Wisconsin and scored 19 of his game-high 25 points in the final 20 minutes. Saturday, Yogi was 0-for-6 in the first half and 2-for-8 in the second. That means in the last two games, Ferrell has taken 38 shots and hit 12 of them. Unfortunately, Ferrell's troubles on the offensive line translated to defense, too. He struggled there including allowing Demps to drive right around him for a late layup as Northwestern was able to extend its late lead.
2. Stanford Robinson: His last three games coming in had been his best basketball of the season. He had averaged 11 points in those games in an average of 24 minutes on the floor. Saturday, not so much. Robinson was back playing 11 minutes off the bench where he scored two points on 1-of-4 shooting from the field. He did have five rebounds but was unable to use his quickness to get to the rim which was his trump card the last three games.
Troy WILLIAMS: Williams continues to start but his role continues to diminish, too. He had two points Saturday in 17 minutes. He had two turnovers, one on an ill-timed pass and the other on an offensive foul where he should have given up the ball earlier and not taken the chance. He only took one shot, a three and has now scored a total of two points the last two games. His only other game where he didn't score this season was Notre Dame.
NEXT UP: Indiana (12-6, 2-3 Big Ten) travels to East Lansing on Tuesday to face Michigan State in a 7:30 p.m. game at the Breslin Center. This will conclude the season series with the Spartans. Michigan State beat IU in Bloomington Jan. 4, 73-56.
Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch