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Beyond Sink or Swim: Hoosiers Host Iowa

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

A season beyond saving is something that is a bit of rarity with Indiana basketball. Sure we've had poor seasons in the recent past, but they came with those expectations. Only 3 times by my count in the last 15 years or so have the Hoosiers really had season that didn't come close to touching pre-season expectations. This year is obviously the most recent. The Hoosiers are past the sink or swim point for the season, but the question is how to they respond? The ship is sinking. Do the Hoosiers go down with the ship or at least try and swim to shore?

Tonight the Hoosiers have to opportunity to show that they at least will not go quietly into the deep. If they're willing to fight and claw to survive this evening is the time to show it. Iowa comes into this game having won two straight, including a small comeback win at Penn State. Iowa is probably the squad that is clicking the best in the conference at the moment and their 4th ranked offense nationally supports that. Probably the most intimidating fact with Iowa is that anyone on this squad can go for 15 points if you aren't paying attention and a couple can go for 30. They remind me a ton of last year's Hoosiers squad.

Of course Roy Devyn Marble is their ring leader and top offensive threat. The senior is likely a second round draft pick this year and with his 6-6 frame he could cause a ton of problems for our Hoosier guards. He shares the ball well, takes care of the rock and can still score with consistency. A well rounded player, he's certainly a guy you wish you could avoid when he shows up on your schedule annually.

Add to Marble the sharpshooting Aaron White and you have yourself a pretty lethal inside-out combination. White can go down into the post and bang with the big dogs and also step out onto the perimeter and kill you with the three. He's had a much quieter year than last, but if you asked me he's still quite easily an All- Big Ten player. He's what you wish Jeremy Hollowell could be and a bit of what Christian Watford was.

Combine those two with about 9 other consistent minutes receivers for Iowa and you have yourself a very deep, very lethal offensive force, that happens to play some pretty good defense as well. They don't force a ton of turnovers, but they do a lot of other things well. They remind me a lot of Wisconsin defenses of the past. They're less likely to force the pace and more likely to establish their defense early and force you to grind out your possessions and take questionable shots. That's where their defensive success comes into play.

Indiana is just really going to have to reach for more Assembly Hall magic and put on their give a crap shorts today if they want to stand a chance. Vegas opened with the Hoosiers as 3 point underdogs and with the way they've been playing that feels generous. However we've seen that Indiana at home against a quality opponent is much different than the recent games they've played. It should be interesting to see how these things hash out, but I wouldn't hold my breath.