When? Saturday, February 17 at 2 p.m. EST – ESPN
Where? Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City, Iowa
Pomeroy? Iowa 77-76, 47% chance of Indiana victory
Hello, it me, that Iowa boy.
Indiana is coming off of their second win streak in the Big Ten this season. The Hoosiers have the opportunity to extend it to four games against Iowa, which would make for the longest win streak IU has had all season.
And there is a very real chance of this happening.
Iowa is currently on a four-game losing streak albeit against some tough opponents that include @ Penn State, vs Michigan State, @ Ohio State, and @ Michigan. Regardless of these being tough teams, Iowa has struggled to find an identity all season.
The Hawkeyes are in a three-way tie for second to last in the Big Ten with only three conference wins on the season. They also only have one win against a KenPom top 100 team (Wisconsin, #88).
How can the Hoosiers pull off the win against an upset-minded Hawkeyes?
|-||eFG%||TO%||Off. Reb %||FT Rate|
|-||eFG%||TO%||Off. Reb %||FT Rate|
|INDIANA (#97 adj. offense)||50.9 (168th)||18.1 (135th)||32.2 (77th)||37.3 (74th)|
|IOWA (#239 adj. defense)||52.5 (248th)||15.8 (318th)||28.7 (170th)||27.5 (42nd)|
|IOWA (#29 adj. offense||54.2 (54th)||18.5 (162nd)||33.1 (51st)||34.3 (158th)|
|INDIANA (#51 adj. defense)||50.2 (143th)||19.6 (113th)||28.5 (161st)||32.5 (157th)|
Overall, it’s very clear that this Iowa team relies heavily on their shooting as it sits at the bottom of the Big Ten for defensive efficiency.
Another issue Iowa has had this season is being able to play solid defense. This issue shows up in how well the Hawks defend their opponents shot (#248 for defensive eFG%).
The Hawkeyes also have is an inability to force turnovers. Iowa ranks #318 for defensive turnover percentage. These weaknesses can be overlooked if Iowa can shoot the ball well, which they often do.
Iowa sits in the top 70 in the nation for not only three-point percentage, but two-point percentage. They also excel at getting second-chance points as they lead the Big Ten in offensive rebounding percentage.
As for individuals, it’s difficult to know who excels the most on this team after Peter Jok was the absolute core for the team last season.
The player that stands out the most from this well-balanced group is sophomore point guard Jordan Bohannon. Bohannon is currently hitting 43.9% from three-point land and almost 90% from the free throw line.
Another notable player is Newburgh, Indiana native Jack Nunge. The 6’11” freshman hasn’t put up any spectacular numbers but it is an Indiana kid playing Indiana, so perhaps he chooses to elevate his game Saturday.
Finally, the eldest member of this Iowa squad is junior Nick Baer. Baer currently leads the Hawks in steal percentage and is one of five Iowa players nationally ranked on KenPom for offensive rebound percentage.
Overall, Fran McCaffery is starting to feel like a poor man’s Tom Crean. The team is wildly inconsistent year to year and misses out on NCAA tournaments more often than it should. I’ll give him the pass this year because he has such a young team, but if he produces another season like this, he should be gone.
Think about this for a second, the only coaches that have longer tenures than McCaffery at this point in the Big Ten are Izzo at Michigan State, Painter at Purdue, and Beilein at Michigan. It’s remarkable to think that the closest Iowa has had to succeeding during his time was when Iowa blew it against Indiana in 2016 AT HOME.
Alright, the Iowa boy will officially step off of his soapbox. Let’s talk about three things IU can do to get the season sweep.
Three Things To Watch For:
- Triple Trouble: Despite becoming KenPom’s number one Big Ten defensive team, Indiana is still struggling to defend the perimeter. The Hoosiers rank outside of KenPom’s top 250 for defensive three-point percentage. With the likes of Bohannon running the point, Indiana needs to be weary of this high caliber offense.
- Transition Task: Iowa plays with the quickest tempo of any team in the Big Ten, which doesn’t bode well for IU’s long defensive stands. Archie might have to redistribute minutes in order to keep the air in his players lungs. This game will be a true test of how well new strength and conditioning coach Clif Marshall has done these past months.
- Turn the Tide: Indiana did a phenomenal job scoring in transition against Illinois on Wednesday and more of the same should be expected on Saturday. Iowa lacks in defensive turnovers (#318 KenPom) meaning that point guard Devonte Green can find a better rhythm to facilitate than he did Wednesday and hopefully turn the high tempo back on Iowa.