Game Info/How to Watch:
Who? Indiana Hoosiers (17-14 (7-11), #46 KenPom) vs. Iowa Hawkeyes (18-13 (10-8), #67 KenPom)
When? Thursday, March 9, 6:30 PM, ESPN2
Where? Verizon Center, Washington DC (barf)
Pomeroy? Indiana by 2, 58% chance of victory
The Hoosiers are playing for their basketball lives at this point. If they lose to Iowa, they won’t play another meaningful game this year. Indiana has stumbled into the Big Ten Tournament, losing six of their last eight, with the only two wins coming at home to Northwestern and Ohio State, where they blew a 14-point halftime lead before managing to win by four.
Iowa, on the other hand, finished their regular season on a roll, winning their last four games, including road wins at Maryland and Wisconsin. Iowa’s offense is hitting on all cylinders and they have topped 80 points in three of their last four. It seems that Iowa has figured things out since they played the Hoosiers, and are primed to make a postseason run.
HERE WOULD YOU LIKE SOME FACTORS?
|INDIANA (#30 adj. offense)||55.3 (22)||21.4 (322)||37.1 (11)||34.8 (194)|
|IOWA (#101 adj. defense)||50.3 (162)||19.4 (127)||32.6 (306)||27.0 (22)|
|IOWA (#46 adj. offense)||51.7 (121)||18.5 (165)||31.9 (81)||36.1 (156)|
|INDIANA (#111 adj. defense)||48.2 (69)||15.9 (320)||28.5 (143)||38.0 (229)|
Basically, these two teams match up almost the same as they did three weeks ago, and the same players who were problems for the Hoosiers are gonna be problems again. Guys like Peter Jok, Tyler Cook, and Big Ten sixth man of the year Nicholas Baer will be the main offensive threats for the Hawkeyes, with Jok doing most of the damage. He’s been one of the best scorers in the country this year and is a finalist for the Jerry West award, which goes to the best shooting guard in the nation.
On the bright side for the Hoosiers, they are ranked in the top 25 in eFG% (22) and offensive rebound % (11), which would point towards a very good offensive performance for Indiana. The bummer for IU, as it has been for the whole season, is that they still have that pathetic 21.4% turnover rate (322). If the Hoosiers can overcome their turnover, which they did against Ohio State to some extent, then Indiana has a real shot to win this game. Iowa’s defense is bang-average this year and IU put up 75 in their overtime loss in Iowa City, so the Hoosiers will have their points, but it’s a question of keeping Iowa off the scoreboard that will decide this game.
On defense, the most important thing for Indiana is to have an eye on Peter Jok and maybe try staying in front of him or something. In their game earlier this year, especially late, Jok seemed to drive to the rim and draw a foul on almost every possession. Indiana does a passable job on defense in general, holding opponents to an eFG of 48.2%, good for 69th in the country (nice). The only real problem is that Indiana only forces turnovers on 15.9% of possessions, which is ranked 320th nationally. This is pretty much IU’s only glaring statistical weakness on the defensive end, and is only a real problem if the Hoosiers have one of those games where they’re bound and determined to turn the ball over on 50% of their possessions.
STUFF TO WATCH FOR
- Maybe Robert Johnson stays hot: Weirder things have happened. Robert Johnson was the best player on the floor in the game against Ohio State, and IU needs him to be the potent scorer he was supposed to be this year. Johnson was very impressive against the Buckeyes, shooting 10-17 from the field and 5-8 from three, which was his best and most efficient shooting performance of the year. He was pretty solid against Iowa a few weeks ago, shooting 50% from the field and scoring 19 points, but if he can take his game to another level, then Indiana will have a real shot to beat Iowa and maybe even make a run in the Big Ten tourney.
- If IU stays out of foul trouble: If Indiana can stay out of foul trouble and keep their best players on the floor, they’ll be in a lot better shape than they were in Iowa City. In that game, as I’m sure you’ll remember, the Hoosiers lost four players to foul trouble as Josh Newkirk, James Blackmon, Robert Johnson, and Juwan Morgan all fouled out, leaving Indiana in a lot of trouble late in regulation and in overtime. Even with all those problems, the Hoosiers only lost that game by four, so it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that Indiana wins this game just because they can keep their team on the floor.
- If Peter Jok lights it up again: There is no hope. Abandon ship. All is lost. If Peter Jok begins to fire nuclear missiles from long range or decides to give Indiana death by free throw, then Indiana has little to no chance at winning this game. Peter Jok is the kind of elite scorer that can break a game open all by himself. He dropped 35 against Indiana last time out (sorry to remind you of that) and the Hawkeyes needed every one of those to squeak by in overtime. So with that in mind, if Peter Jok is contained, then it’s entirely possible that Indiana wins this game, even by double digits. However, Iowa isn’t completely inept if Jok doesn’t score particularly well, since they have have a very capable point guard in Jordan Bohannon, who averages 4.5 assists per game, and Tyler Cook, who has put up a double-double in two of his last three games.
Hold on to your loved ones and tourney hopes, folks, this one could be going down to the wire.