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Eyeing IU


For starters

Indiana and Penn State meet for the second time in January.

The No. 7 Hoosiers won the first contest 74-51 on Jan. 7 at Bryce Jordan Center.

"I think they are starting to jell," IU assistant coach Kenny Johnson said of the Nittany Lions on Tuesday. "You look at their performances in their last two games. Earlier in the year, I think getting ready to start conference play, when you lose a player like (Tim) Frazier, you're still trying to identify roles and have guys step up into their new roles. And I think that as the season has gone along they have a better understanding of what they are trying to accomplish.

"Their main two guys scoring the ball for them, (Jermaine) Marshall and (D.J.) Newbill, have still been doing a good job of that and they started to do a couple of things differently defensively, and they've been tweaking their offense so they pose some different challenges. The game plan pretty much remains the same as far as understanding what their strengths and weaknesses are, but they're a little more cohesive than they've been, as most teams have been throughout the year."

Johnson said he's looking for consistency out of the Hoosiers.

"We've been very pleased with our toughness," Johnson said. "This is a very tough, resilient group. Just having that consistency on defense that we are looking for is a huge emphasis for us.

"I think it bears out in the numbers when you look at us and are nationally compared to other teams in the country and it's something that we are taking pride in. We understand defense is going to be necessary for us to win this championship, whether it be a Big Ten championship or a national championship, and we don't hide that those are our goals.

"As you go through the course of the season, you really dive into the scouting reports, you really dive into each individual matchup and the Big Ten is a great barometer for that because you're going to get a different style each and every night. So you really dive into the opponent and try and take away their strengths.

"Each night you go out there, it's like having a series of quizzes before you get ready for the test. In going through those quizzes, I think that we've been very pleased with how we've performed on the defensive end as we prepare."