Indiana at Iowa: The Report Card

Indiana finally had a big day shooting 3-pointers — and it needed every one of them.  On a day when its resurgent defense was struggling to get stops and the Hoosiers were getting dominated on the glass, it was of all things Indiana’s perimeter shooting that saved the day.  IU keeps it rolling with its fourth win in a row as it keeps its postseason hopes alive.  It won’t get any easier as the Hoosiers stay on the road in the Plains, this time at 4th place Nebraska on Tuesday.  Indiana wins this one, 84-82.

Overall:  B  It was a game of big runs, as Iowa got off to fast start and a 13 point lead behind a 10 for 10 start shooting from the field.  In much the same manner, a red hot Indiana team cut into the Iowa lead before the half and then ran out to their own 13 point lead in the second half.  Of course they let that slip away and the game came down to the final possession and a couple misses by Iowa to close it out.  Indiana has been winning with defense and hustle plays.  Today, for one of the few times this year, it was 3-point shooting that was the difference.  The key there is that Indiana showed that it can beat you in more ways than one.  This team could be dangerous if they could consistently put it together on both ends.

Coaching:  B  In the past we’ve said you can’t blame Archie Miller for guys not hitting open shots.  So we guess, by the same token, how much credit can you give him for such a great shooting day?  At least you can say that he deserved it.  The bottom line here is that Indiana won its second straight road contest in the Big Ten — something that is never easy.  And they did it by making defensive adjustments after a strong start by Iowa, and having a good game plan to attack the Hawkeye zone.  It was disappointing to see Indiana blow a 72-59 second half lead, but it appeared to be more about IU just getting sloppy rather than anything to do with the scheme.

Offense:  A-   Indiana has been above 50% from the field for 3 straight games and it has scored 78 or more in each of those games.  Sure, it has been against the conference bottom feeders, but this is an offense that has struggled against much worse teams.  The Hoosiers had another fantastic day with 23 assists on only 10 turnovers.  That’s a great ratio, especially on the road.  IU shot an amazing 14-24 from 3-point range which is something that really didn’t seem possible with this team.  The two things that keep this from being an A are (i) a really bad stretch in 2nd half with turnovers to let Iowa back in the game, and (ii) the recognition that Iowa is not a good defensive team.

Defense:  B-    For all of the well deserved recent accolades the Hoosier defense has received, their start today was just ugly.  Sure, Iowa was unconscious, but the Hoosiers just seemed a step slow on everything.  To their credit, Iowa turnovers are what mainly kept IU in the game early, and some of those were forced by the Hoosiers.  Iowa ended up with 17 turnovers on the night.  After 70% shooting in the first half, IU held Iowa to 40% in the second half but Iowa was still 55% overall for the game.  Probably most concerning on the day were Iowa’s 10 offensive rebounds.  Iowa had a size advantage, but so did Michigan State.  It just seemed like the Hawkeyes wanted those rebounds more.

Players with meaningful minutes:

  • Al Durham, Jr.:  A-  After such a good game vs. Illinois it was a bit surprising that Durham didn’t get more playing time, but that was probably because Johnson and Green were just that good.  He did a nice job with his 12 minutes with 2 assists, a steal and no turnovers.
  • Josh Newkirk:  C+  He had a couple important baskets, but his 3 turnovers in only 14 minutes were the key on this day.
  • Justin Smith:  A-  This guy can score points in bunches.  He had a really nice put back dunk which was especially noteworthy because he had his shot blocked on the previous play.  It was a good answer.  He scored 15 points in only 20 minutes and struggled again with fouls.  He has a nose for the ball and he is improving finishing around the basket.
  • Robert Johnson:  A   We can’t give him an A+ because of a big late missed free throw, but wow, what a day for the senior guard.  He tied an Indiana record with nine 3-pointers and added 4 assists, 3 rebounds and a steal on only one turnover.  He also contained Iowa’s Jordan Bohannon for most of the game.  You can’t expect this much production every game, but Indiana is such a better team when he is knocking down shots.
  • Devonte Green:  A  Green didn’t tie any IU records, but he had a special game as well.  His early 8 points kept IU in game when Iowa was on fire.  He may have won the game with amazing late pass to McSwain for the go ahead bucket — and it was right after his bad pass to Morgan on the previous possession for his only turnover on the day.  That showed a lot of resolve, especially when considering his late turnover at Illinois.  18 points on 7 of 10 shooting, 6 assists, 4 rebounds a steal and only that one turnover.
  • Juwan Morgan:  C+  Everyone is going to have an off night.  Archie Miller called it one of his least productive nights of the year.  It seemed like Iowa’s length bothered him, and he struggled to contain Cook on boards.  Foul trouble seemed to make him play more passively than what we’ve grown accustomed to.  The real concern here was only 2 rebounds.  Still though, if 12 points on 5 of 9 shooting is the worst case then Indiana can deal with that.
  • Zach McRoberts:  B  That’s a few games in a row now where he hasn’t had the typical McRoberts stat line.  He’s doing more out there than what we can pick up on, but on this night he had no steals and only 2 rebounds in 24 minutes.
  • Freddie McSwain, Jr.:  B  He struggled early with post defense but was able to help on some late stops to seal the victory. Like everyone on the day, it was not a real productive rebounding effort.
  • Collin Hartman:  A  Probably one of the better games you’ll see from a guy that didn’t score a point.  And how could he score with a bandage on his shooting hand that was more heavily wrapped than the Illinois game.  He was key to breaking down the Iowa zone with his poise catching the ball in the middle and finding open shooters.  He finished with 5 assists in only 17 minutes and added 2 steals and a block.  Those defensive plays came in the heart of IU’s big second half run.

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Photo credit – Jim Slosiarek, The Gazette