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No. 25 Indiana blows out Northwestern but how good are the Hoosiers?

Thomas Bryant, Collin Hartman, Joey van Zegeren

Indiana’s Thomas Bryant (31) celebrates after a dunk during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Northwestern, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in Bloomington, Ind. Northwestern’s Joey van Zegeren (1) is at left, and Indiana’s Collin Hartman is at right. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)


Indiana jumped out to a 10-0 start on Northwestern and never looked back in an 89-57 blowout home Big Ten win. The No. 25 Hoosiers have won 12 consecutive games and remain the Big Ten’s only unbeaten team besides Iowa. They completely outplayed a Northwestern team that has been tough on great competition, including taking Maryland to overtime in a loss last week.

Senior guard Yogi Ferrell paced Indiana with 17 points and six assists while senior big man Max Bielfeldt added 13 points. The Hoosiers shot 52 percent from the field (30-for-57) and 46 percent (13-for-28) from 3-point territory as seven different Indiana players made 3-pointers.

It’s Indiana’s first 7-0 start in the Big Ten since 1993, and even if they’re beating mediocre conference competition, there’s something to be said for beating every opponent in a season like this.

But how good is Indiana at this point in the season?

Sure, they’ve put together a nice, double-digit winning streak, but the best wins in that stretch came against Notre Dame, Wisconsin and Ohio State. Indiana has one of the softest schedules in the Big Ten this season and they don’t even play a ranked opponent in the conference until they get Iowa on Feb. 11. The Hoosiers only play Purdue, Maryland and Michigan State one time each in the regular season.

Indiana could be 11-0 in the Big Ten when they face Iowa with not many impressive wins to show for it. The Hoosiers might have played a soft schedule, but they do deserve credit for improving their dreadful early-season defense and also keeping their offense going when sophomore guard James Blackmon Jr. went down for the season.

It’s hard to argue that Indiana is among the nation’s elite this season with a schedule that has been so soft. Hell, it’s tough to argue that they’re among the Big Ten’s elite until we see them compete with the other top teams.

We just don’t know how good Indiana is at this point since they haven’t been tested by a major opponent since getting blown out by Duke on Dec. 3. But given the way so many ranked teams have lost to unranked teams on the road in conference season, I’m sure many schools would love to be in the position that Indiana is in.