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Tale of the Tape: Northwestern (Big Ten Tournament)

After knocking off the Ohio State Buckeyes, 3-1, in a first round Big Ten Tournament match, the Wildcats will turnaround one day later to face the #1-seeded Indiana Hoosiers.

IU is currently riding a six-game winning streak and is coming off an exciting 1-0 win over Evansville last Sunday.

The Big Ten regular season is now over after a record-breaking 8-0 mark for the Hoosiers. But payback will be on the Wildcats’ minds after a 2-1 win for the Hoosiers in the regular season.

Let’s dive in to this week’s edition of Tale of the Tape.

Wildcats looking for payback

Northwestern feels a bit hard-pressed to have come away with a loss during the first matchup between these two sides in Bloomington. With the score level at one, forward Jose Del Valle was called offside, negating what would have been the go-ahead goal. A few minutes later, the Hoosiers scored the match winner.

But after a win over Ohio State Saturday, the Wildcats finally got their first Big Ten win of the season. Now on short rest, the Wildcats have a little bit more on the line going up against an IU team they feel they should have at least gotten a point from in September.

“Why not us?”

That’s been the mantra coming into this Big Ten Tournament for the Wildcats for coach Tim Lenahan. Before Saturday, Northwestern had accumulated just three Big Ten points and were without a win. But that all changed after the 3-1 win. The Wildcats saw three different goal scorers and have now scored nine goals in the past two games.

Goalkeeper Miha Miskovic has also talked about playing with an underdog mentality. Sunday could be their last match of the season. And because they feel like they should have potentially knocked off the Hoosiers the first time around, they might have a bit of confidence on Sunday evening.

Key Matchup

Jeremiah Gutjahr vs. Camden Buescher — Indiana has done well in dominating the midfield recently, and the game might be won in that same position Sunday. Gutjahr has been as consistent as anyone so far this season. One midfielder who has thrived this year for the Wildcats has been Camden Buescher.

Buescher can make you pay in many different ways whether it is his passing, vision or shot. It’s also hard to stay under the radar when your last goal makes it on SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays. He has seven goals on the season to lead the Wildcats.

One to Watch

Jose Del Valle — It’s not everyday you see Real Madrid academy players in the college game, but that’s the case with Del Valle. He has two goals on the season to go along with three assists. Standing at 6’3, he is also a force in the air.

IU will have its hands full with Del Valle, but IU is a team that doesn’t make too many mistakes along the back line. Del Valle almost scored against IU the first time around and will definitely be looking for some revenge.

Overall Assessment

This has revenge game written all over it. The first match was a battle and now they meet with elimination on the line. The Wildcats want to get back at the Hoosiers while IU is looking to keep its stellar season going. It should be a battle on BTN at 4:00pm ET.

Josh Eastern

I am a senior from Seattle, Washington majoring in Media. I am formerly of the Indiana Daily Student where I covered Indiana men’s soccer team and women’s basketball. You still can find me broadcasting for WIUX Student Radio and on BTN Student U outside of The Hoosier Network. Former intern at 710 ESPN Seattle and broadcaster for the Falmouth Commodores. Email: jeastern@thehoosiernetwork.com. Follow me on Twitter: @JoshEastern.

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