Bet you didn’t see this coming.
After ending the regular season losing seven of nine, IU is making an improbable run in Indianapolis.
Indiana is making its fifth Big Ten Tournament semifinal appearance, the first since 2013, and hope to advance to advance to the championship game for the first time since 2001. IU has also won two tournament games in a single year for the first time since 2003.
It is Indiana and Iowa Saturday with an appearance in the championship game on the line.
Big Ten Tournament Semifinals — Game Day Essentials
No. 9 Indiana (20-12, 9-11) vs. No. 5 Iowa (24-9, 14-6)
- Tip Time: Saturday, 1 p.m. Eastern
- Location: Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Ind.
- Television: CBS (Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, Tracy Wolfson)
- IU Radio Network: IU Radio Network
- Point Spread: Iowa is a 6-point favorite
- KenPom Projected Score: No. 13 Iowa 77 No. 40 Indiana 71
- Series: Indiana leads 106-79
- Last Meeting: Iowa won 83-74 on Jan. 13
- TICKETS (affiliate link)
IOWA SEASON STATS
ABBREVIATED ILLINOIS REPORT CARD
With the quick turnaround we’ll take an abbreviated approach to our normal Report Card feature.
Offense (B-) Illinois brought their tough, physical style, inside and out. Nothing came easy as Illinois tried to disrupt what had been working lately for IU — ball screens for Xavier Johnson. He wasn’t efficient at 5-of-15, but Johnson managed six assists and just one turnover and IU was better than 2-to-1 on that ratio. The Hoosiers scored .99 points per possession, a meaningful jump over their .87 in the first meeting against the Illini.
Defense (A) The Hoosiers held Illinois to 35.7 percent shooting for the day, and the Illini did not make a field goal in the final five minutes while committing four turnovers during that closing span. The Hoosier defense also held the Illini without a field goal for over nine minutes of action in the first half. Illinois went 0-for-11 from the floor during that drought. IU held Illinois to .961 points per possession, a substantial improvement over the 1.13 they allowed in the first meeting. The key was Indiana’s defense on the perimeter, as the Johnson, Trey Galloway and Rob Phinisee trio continues to elevate IU’s aggressiveness.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Trayce Jackson-Davis (A-) The Indiana big man had struggled against Illinois big man Kofi Cockburn throughout his career, but he seemed to seek contact rather than avoid it on Friday and it paid off. For the second straight game he played all 20 minutes of the second half, and he delivered 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting after the break. He also made two critical free throws with 26 seconds left to give IU a 1-point lead. In total Jackson-Davis had nine points in the final 4:41.
Note: Jackson-Davis joined Alan Henderson as the only Hoosiers in program history to score 1,500 career points, grab 750 career rebounds and block 150 career shots.
THREE KEYS FROM INDIANA’S PREVIOUS LOSS TO IOWA
The redemption tour continues as Indiana attempts to avenge an 83-74 road loss at Iowa on Jan. 13.
Here were our three keys to the game:
1. The turnovers return. Indiana’s run of several games in a row with low turnover totals came to an abrupt end on the road against an Iowa defense that wasn’t particularly aggressive. The Hoosiers had 23 miscues, including 14 in the second half. Race Thompson had a team high five turnovers, and four players had three or more.
2. Iowa dominates offensive glass. The Hawkeyes had 16 offensive rebounds including 11 in the second half. They led to 16 second chance points. It was all about the Murrays as Keegan Murray had six offensive rebounds and Kris had five. Because of the offensive rebounds and turnovers, Iowa got up 12 more field goal attempts in the second half than Indiana and outscored the Hoosiers 42-26 after the break.
3. Point guards not up to the task. Point guards can make or break you on the road, and Indiana’s Xavier Johnson and Rob Phinisee combined to go 3-of-12 from the field with eight turnovers against seven assists. They were also 0-for-5 from behind the three-point line. The pair never seemed able to make Iowa pay for its pressure defense.
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