I was out of town this weekend and so I apologize for the lack of any substantive wrap-up of Indiana’s home loss to Iowa Saturday afternoon. Frankly, I’m not sure that any substantive wrap-up or detailed review of statistics is worthwhile. As I have been mentioning over the last couple of weeks, I’ve generally been happy with IU’s performance at home, and I have viewed making Assembly Hall a tough homecourt is an important step for this program. Before the Iowa game, I had been reasonably satisfied with the progress on that front. We didn’t have any major scares in the non-conference (unless you count the overtime win over Ferris State in the exhibition game), and were 3-2 in Big Ten home games with wins over Michigan, Illinois, and Minnesota. The loss to Penn State was the only true disappointment (and looks less horrendous given the Lions’ subsequent play), and the other loss was to #1 Ohio State. In other words, before the Iowa game, IU’s home record really was only one game worse than the best case scenario.
Obviously, the loss to Iowa changes that. The Iowa loss would have been easier to stomach if it simply hadn’t been the Hoosiers’ day. The opposite was true. IU had the game in control for most of the way and led by 10 with eight minutes remaining, and simply couldn’t take care of the ball or buy a basket or a rebound. In the final 8 minutes, IU shot 2-7 from the field and turned the ball over three times. Iowa shot 6-9 with one turnover during the same span. IU was 1-3 from the line. Iowa was 4-5 from the line, and, of course, the one missed free throw was one of the crucial moments of the game. After Bryce Cartwright was fouled while making a layup, he missed the free throw, but Iowa got the offensive rebound and two more free throws led to a four point possession that reduced IU’s lead from 6 to 2.
The Hoosiers wasted a career-high 24 point, 4-9 three point shooting performance from Jordan Hulls and a strong showing from freshman Will Sheehey, who scored 12 points on 4-9 shooting and 4-4 from the line. After being a liability from the line earlier in the season, Victor Oladipo shot 7-9 from the line and also finished with 12 points. I'm seeing some progress, but we knew there wouldn't be linear progress. Let's hope that we can compensate by stealing one from a better team down the road.