What The Doctor Ordered?

Facing Northwestern might be what Indiana needs to avoid its first three-game losing streak in two seasons.

With freshman phenom Eric Gordon likely to be in the lineup despite a wrist injury, the 11th-ranked Hoosiers look to bounce back from their first Big Ten loss as they try to continue their home dominance over Northwestern on Sunday afternoon.

Oddsmakers from Bodog have made Indiana –18.5 point spread favorites (View College Basketball odds) for today’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 52% of bets for this game have been placed on Indiana –18.5 (View College Basketball bet percentages).

Indiana (17-3, 6-1) lost 62-49 at No. 13 Wisconsin on Thursday, five days after the Hoosiers' 29-game home winning streak was snapped in a 68-63 defeat to Connecticut.

"I thought we had a lot of good opportunities but just couldn't make the shots," said Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson, whose team shot a season-low 33.3 percent against Wisconsin. "I'm disappointed we lost, but not disappointed in our effort."

The Hoosiers, who remain in the mix with Wisconsin, Michigan State and Purdue in the chase for the conference title, haven't lost three in a row since dropping five straight from Feb. 4-19, 2006.

Despite its recent struggles and Gordon's ailing left wrist, Indiana shouldn't have much trouble improving to 32-0 at home versus Northwestern (7-11, 0-7), the conference's lone winless team.

Gordon, the Big Ten's top scorer at 21.4 points per game, had to work for his 16 points Thursday, and finished below his average for a third straight contest.

"It just hurts really bad,'' Gordon said of the wrist. "At times, I had to use my right hand. I just got it going and got used to it at the end of the game.''

Though Gordon was wearing a splint and also dealing with flu-like symptoms, more of a concern for Sampson was that he made only two trips to the free-throw line. An 84.9 percent shooter from the line, the star freshman attempted 127 free throws through his first 14 games, but just 19 in his last five.

"The thing he has to start getting better at - that he was really good at earlier in the year - is that he has to return to getting to the free throw line more, because he can," Sampson said.

While Gordon might be in a bit of a rut, senior D.J. White continues to play well. He had 22 points and 17 rebounds against the Badgers. White, who averages 17.1 points and 10.6 boards, had 14 points in Indiana's 69-65 win over Northwestern on Feb. 28 in the teams' only meeting last season.

Though the Wildcats stepped out of conference for a 68-59 home win over Texas-Pan American on Wednesday, Northwestern has lost 12 straight Big Ten games dating to a 53-51 home win over Penn State on Feb. 10.

Regardless, the Wildcats will try to build off their most recent victory where they shot 53.3 percent and almost doubled their point total after being routed 70-37 at Illinois last Sunday.

"It was a drubbing we had against Illinois, so you start to question yourself as players a little bit," said Wildcats coach Bill Carmody, whose team is 10th in the 11-team conference in scoring at 64.3 points per contest.

Leading scorer Kevin Coble had 29 points Wednesday, bouncing back after scoring a season-low three against Illinois. Coble, who averages 16.6 points, had 13 in last season's loss to Indiana.

Northwestern has lost its last 10 games versus ranked opponents since a 51-48 win over then-No. 18 Iowa on Feb. 8, 2006.

by: Staff Writers - Email Us

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