Pete DiPrimio, sports columnist and college beat writer for The News-Sentinel of Fort Wayne, Ind., takes his best shots on the world of Hoosier basketball.

Monday, February 26

IU Faces Must-Wins This Week

So here's what we know heading into Wednesday's game at Northwestern. For starters, it's the Hoosiers' last Big Ten road game and given the way they've stumbled away from Assembly Hall, it's a good thing. Call it a relief, call it a challenge, but IU must find a way to win. If so, they will certainly cruise on Saturday against last-place Penn State and thus clinch third in the Big Ten.

Of course, they could blow it with another road loss, which is why the coaches called a rare Sunday meeting with the players. The gist of it was to emphasize that IU has to beat Northwestern, and if it's ugly or lucky, nobody will care. Just win baby.

It should be easier with senior point guard Earl Calloway back after a shoulder injury. He could have played Saturday at Michigan State, but he was apparently held out as a precaution. In fact, if you have a bad anything, the rugged Spartans are the last team you want to face. Look for Calloway to play Wednesday and, health permitting, the rest of the way. IU will need him if it is to make some March noise.

And, yes, despite the recent slide of four losses in six games, the Hoosiers can have a successful noise. But they need forward D.J. White playing like a guy with NBA potential and not a guy who succumbs to adversity and frustration. They need freshman guard Armon Bassett (pictured) to continue playing beyond his years.
We've seen plenty of March flameouts in recent years. We don't need to see anymore. Figure, we won't.


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