This 2019 Big Ten doesn’t give you a chance to breathe.
Think you might have found something against Purdue? Great, go on the road and face a top 25 Iowa team that just beat you two weeks ago in Bloomington.
It’s just like that.
But at this late point in the season, either Indiana embraces the opportunity, or they start making their spring break plans.
After just playing in a very close contest with the Hawkeyes, Indiana knows that they can compete here. Knowing it and going out and executing down to the final buzzer have been two completely different matters for this IU team.
The Hoosiers still have three more opportunities for high quality quadrant one victories to close out the season. It starts at Iowa City on Friday night.
GAME DAY ESSENTIALS
Indiana (13-13, 4-11) at No. 21/19 Iowa (20-6, 9-6)
- Tip time: 9:00 p.m. Eastern
- Location: Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City, iowa
- Television: FS1 (Dave Revsine and Andy Katz)
- Series: Indiana leads 103-77 (Iowa won the last meeting 77-72 on Feb. 7)
- Point Spread: Iowa is a 7 point favorite.
- Tickets (Seat Geek affiliate link)
Fran McCaffery is in his 9th year with Iowa.
IOWA NAMES TO KNOW
Jordan Bohannon – A name that Hoosier fans would rather forget, Bohannon is the Hawkeyes’ leading assist man and is one of three Iowa players shooting better than 40% from long range. He holds the interesting distinction of shooting better from three-point range than two, but for IU fans he’s just a big shot nightmare from two weeks ago.
Tyler Cook – At times Cook seems like a man amongst boys. Averaging 15.9 points and 8 rebounds per contest, he leads Iowa in both categories. He does turn the ball over a fair amount with 3 per game, and he isn’t much of threat from beyond 15 feet. Juwan Morgan vs. Cook is a great college basketball matchup.
Luka Garza – The Hawkeye big man has been streaky this year, and he is currently working his way through a four game slump that started with Indiana. He has hit just 5 of his last 25 shots in those games, but still averages 13 points per contest and makes 51% of his shots for the season.
Joe Wieskamp – The freshman sharpshooter helped Iowa jump out to a lead two weeks ago in Bloomington. He hits nearly 44% of his three-point shots while averaging 11.4 points and 4.7 rebounds per game.
TALE OF THE TAPE
See how the Hoosiers and Hawkeyes stack up statistically:
KEYS TO VICTORY
Get out on shooters. Much like Purdue, Iowa excels at knocking down the deep ball. The Hawkeyes rank 41st nationally in three-point field goal percentage. The challenge is that Iowa is efficient both inside and out, which makes overplaying the perimeter a gamble. Indiana might have to pick its poison, and forcing a slumping Garza to beat them in the post along with Cook might be the better option than giving up a barrage of threes that the Hoosiers cannot match.
Solve the Iowa zone. You know it’s coming. Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery changed the game in Bloomington when he switched to a 2-3 zone in the first half two weeks ago. It kept IU away from the rim where they are at their best and Iowa is vulnerable.
The only question for Friday night will be whether Iowa starts the game with it. As effective as it was, you have to believe that they will. Of course that means that Indiana will need to knock down perimeter shots, but they should also be able to feed the high post and create opportunities for dives to the rim and high/low actions.
The Hawkeyes will also likely flash some press as well just to mix things up on Indiana.
Emphasize Morgan, Davis and Langford. You should expect Iowa to try to take away Romeo Langford. If they don’t of course, you give him every opportunity to take over. Iowa is struggling on defense with a conference worst defensive efficiency in league play according to KenPom. The Hawkeyes are particularly vulnerable with the two-point shot, with opponents shooting nearly 55%. That is also a league worst figure. Whether its pushing tempo, diving to the rim, pick and rolls, backcuts or whatever other way you can imagine — Indiana needs to find a way to get to the rim.
Unquestioned max effort. That was Archie Miller’s term for what he asked out of his team going into the Purdue game — and what he believes he saw against the Boilers. That is unquestionably going to be necessary in this game to come out on top. If you compare the lineups and go through the matchups, the Hoosiers have the personnel to win at Iowa. But nothing else will matter without 100 percent max effort from the opening tip to the final buzzer.
PREDICTION: Iowa 72 Indiana 63.
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