Jan. 8, 2011
Northwestern (9-4, 0-3 Big Ten) vs. Indiana (9-7, 0-3)
Sunday, Jan. 9, 2011
Welsh-Ryan Arena (8,117)
Evanston, Ill. 6 p.m.
TV: Big Ten Network (Brian Anderson and Shon Morris)
Audio: WIND 560 AM and wgnradio.com (Dave Eanet and Bob Hildebrand)
Satellite Radio: Sirius 113 and XM 196
In-game Twitter updates: @NU_SportsLIVE
Tickets: Available at NUsports.com
Northwestern Game Notes (PDF)
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Following a challenging start to the Big Ten season during which it played each of its first three conference games against ranked foes, Northwestern returns home Sunday to face Indiana.
A year ago, NU began conference play with 10 consecutive games against teams that appeared in the NCAA tournament the previous season.
The Wildcats are looking to bounce back from an 88-63 loss at 20th-ranked Illinois on Thursday. JerShon Cobb led Northwestern with a career-high 18 points, while Michael Thompson contributed 15. NU forced the Fighting Illini into 22 turnovers in the contest which it converted into 23 points.
Sunday's contest features two of the top shooting teams in the Big Ten. Indiana ranks third in the league with a .485 field goal percentage, while Northwestern's mark of .463 is the third best in the league.
Last season: Northwestern won two of its three meetings with Indiana a year ago. The Wildcats defeated the Hoosiers 78-61 in Evanston Feb. 7 before Indiana posted an 88-80 overtime victory in Bloomington March 6. NU then downed Indiana 73-58 five days later in the opening round of the 2010 Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis, Ind.
The Hoosiers (9-7, 0-3) were unable to hold a six-point halftime lead in falling 67-63 at Minnesota on Tuesday. Verdell Jones III and Victor Oladipo led Indiana with 13 points apiece.
Christian Watford paces the Hoosiers with average ofs 16.4 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Jones is second on the team with a norm of 12.3 points per contest.
Tom Crean has a 25-53 record in three seasons at Indiana and a career mark of 215-149 in 12 overall seasons as a head coach.
Shurna Selected to Wooden Award Midseason Top 30
John Shurna is one of 30 individuals named to the midseason top 30 list for the Wooden Award which is presented to the nation's top college basketball player. He is one of six Big Ten players on the list, joining Purdue's E'Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson, Illinois' Demetri McCamey, Wisconsin's Jon Leuer and Ohio State's Jared Sullinger. Shurna was also named to the preseason watch list for the Naismith Award which is a similar honor.
For the second consecutive season, Northwestern started its campaign with at least nine wins in its first 11 games. A year ago, NU opened 10-1 en route to earning a No. 25 national ranking. Prior to last season, the Wildcats last posted nine wins in their first 11 contests in the 1993-94 campaign. This year's team matched last year's squad which also notched a school-record five wins (5-1) in the month of November. The 2010-11 'Cats finished the program's first undefeated November when playing at least three games.
Northwestern has long been known for its accurate 3-point shooting. The Wildcats rank among the league leaders with a .387 3-point percentage this season. NU is also 14th in the nation with an average of 9.23 made 3-pointers per game. Individually, John Shurna is second nationally with a .563 3-point percentage. His 10-for-11 performance overall from the field in a win over Long Island Dec. 13 ranks as a tie for the second-best effort in program history.
Northwestern is well known for playing "team" offense and that's reflected in the statistics. The Wildcats are third in the Big Ten and rank 15th in the nation with an average of 17.5 assists per game. NU's assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.63 (228 assists, 140 turnovers) is the nation's fifth best mark.
Thompson Leads the Way
Entering his senior season, Michael Thompson already established himself as one of the top players in program history. Thompson is currently 11th in school history with 1,329 career points after starting the season in 21st place. He became the second player in NU history to post 400 career assists when he reached the milestone Nov. 30 in a win over Georgia Tech. Thompson is just 17 assists shy of surpassing the record of 452 held by Patrick Baldwin (1991-94). A starter at point guard each of his four seasons, Thompson was a consensus honorable mention All-Big Ten pick in 2009-10.
A year after shattering the school season record with 317 3-point makes, the Wildcats have picked up right where they left off. NU leads the Big Ten and is 14th nationally with an average of 9.23 3-point makes per game this season. John Shurna ranks fourth among all Big Ten players with an average of 2.77 triples per contest.
Northwestern returns to action Wednesday when it travels to Iowa. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.
Be the first to know what's going on with the 'Cats -- Follow @NU_Sports on Twitter, become a fan of Northwestern Athletics on Facebook! and subscribe to the NU Sports Express e-newsletter to receive the latest news, schedule updates and video and to interact with NU. For more information on following specific Northwestern teams online, visit our Social Media page!