The back half of the Big Ten slate begins on Sunday afternoon in Bloomington.
When Indiana defeated Iowa just over two weeks ago it looked like a season turning point. The direction of the Hoosiers’ 2020-21 campaign has indeed taken a turn, but things haven’t gone according to plan since that once promising road trip to Iowa City.
Things aren’t going much better for Iowa, who has lost three of four after a 12-2 start to the season.
A second win over Iowa could once again help Indiana get things going in the right direction, while a loss would almost seem to negate the earlier win and send the Hoosiers reeling into a road swing on a three-game losing streak.
GAME DAY ESSENTIALS
No. 8 Iowa (13-5, 7-4) at Indiana (9-8, 4-6)
- Tip time: Sunday, 12:00 p.m. ET
- Location: Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, Bloomington, Ind.
- Television: Fox (Gus Johnson and Bill Raftery)
- IU Radio Network (Don Fischer, Errek Suhr, Joe Smith)
- Series: Indiana leads 104-78 (Indiana won last meeting 81-69 on Jan. 21)
- Point Spread: Iowa is a 2.5-point favorite
- KenPom has No. 5 Iowa by 3 points over No. 27 Indiana
Iowa is led by Fran McCaffery who is in his 11th year and is 207-147.
Luka Garza tallied 38 points last year at Indiana (Feb. 13, 2020). The 38 points were two points shy of matching the Assembly Hall single-game record by an opponent. Garza is the first and only student-athlete in Big Ten history to accumulate 2,000 points, 800 rebounds, 125 blocked shots, and 100 3-pointers. He is the only player from a major conference with those numbers dating back to the 1992-93 season.
IU has seemed content to let Garza have big games while attempting to slow down everyone else. He had 28 points on 10-of-22 shooting in the first meeting. In his last outing, an Iowa loss, Garza had a season-low 16 points.
Indiana product Jack Nunge (Newburgh, Ind.) has increased his production over the last five games, averaging 10.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, and shooting 50 percent (7-of-14) from 3-point range and 83 percent (10-of-12) from the foul line during that span. Nunge equaled a career high with 18 points Thursday versus No. 7 Ohio State. He had five points and five rebounds in the first meeting against IU.
Three Hawkeyes have made four or more 3-pointers in two games this season. Three players made five triples in the win over No. 16 North Carolina and three Hawkeyes made four treys in Thursday’s loss to No. 7 Ohio State. Indiana held Iowa to just 5-of-23 (21.7 percent) from long range in Iowa City. Jordan Bohannon, who has made 38.3 percent of his 3-point attempts this season, was 0-for-9 against the Hoosiers.
Joe Wieskamp was the lone Hawkeye who was effective from behind-the-arc against Indiana a couple weeks ago. He made 3-of-5 from 3-point range but was limited to just one point after halftime. Wieskamp become the 50th Hawkeye to reach 1,000 career points on Jan. 10. Wieskamp has made three or more 3-pointers in four of the last six games. The junior has made 18 of his last 30 attempts (.600), dating back to Jan. 10.
Connor McCaffery (4.75) and Jordan Bohannon (3.46) rank first and second, respectively in the Big Ten in assist-to-turnover ratio. McCaffery is third nationally, while Bohannon is 13th. The pair combined for six assists and just one turnover against IU earlier in the season, but Iowa had 14 assists and 12 turnovers as a team.
Iowa, who has led the Big Ten in scoring each of the last two seasons, ranks second in the country, averaging 89.1 points per game. The Hawkeyes are the No. 1 team in adjusted offensive efficiency and turnover rate according to KenPom. Iowa’s 1.01 points per possession in the first meeting was a season low.
BOTH TEAMS IN A FUNK SINCE LAST MEETING
Iowa, ranked No. 8 in this week’s Associated Press Top 25, has lost three of its last four games and squandered an 11-point lead in the second half in an 89-85 loss to No. 7 Ohio State on Thursday. Nunge and Bohannon each scored 18 points with Wieskamp adding 17 and Garza 16 for the Hawkeyes, who made 14 of 32 shots from 3-point range. Iowa also lost to Illinois and Indiana, and defeated Michigan State in their last four contests.
Indiana has lost two straight games since the Jan. 21 victory over Iowa with both defeats coming by 4-point margins at home (Rutgers, Illinois). After posting 18 points against Iowa, starting guard Rob Phinisee has scored just seven points total in the two games since.
C.J. FREDRICK WATCH
All eyes will be on Iowa guard CJ Fredrick in pre-game warm-ups on Sunday in Bloomington.
Fredrick missed his second game of the season Thursday as Iowa lost to Ohio State in Iowa City 89-85. Iowa has lost both games that Fredrick has not played because of what the program has called a lower-leg injury. Fredrick has started two other games in that stretch, but has had to shut things down at halftime on both occasions, including against Indiana. His absence in the second half vs. the Hoosiers made Iowa easier to defend. He played 13 scoreless first half minutes.
Fredrick is the team’s starting shooting guard and its most accurate 3-point shooter. He is averaging 8.7 points per game while converting on 50% of his attempts from behind the arc. Fredrick did not go through pre-game warmups with the team on Thursday.
“CJ is legitimately still day-to-day,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said after Thursday’s game. “We pretty much knew (Wednesday) he wasn’t going to go (Thursday), but even left that open to see how he felt (Thursday), and he wasn’t ready to go.”
In Fredrick’s absence, freshman Keegan Murray has been starting for Iowa at forward, moving Connor McCaffery to the backcourt.
Indiana should have Trey Galloway once again on Sunday. He didn’t play in the first meeting with Iowa. The Hoosiers appear likely to continue to be without redshirt sophomore forward Jerome Hunter, who missed the Illinois game on Tuesday due to what was referred to by IU as a coach’s decision. Hunter had just two points and committed two turnovers in the first meeting in 21 minutes of action, but he was tied for the Hoosiers’ highest plus/minus at +16.
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