When Mike Woodson sat down in the press room following Indiana’s 90-68 loss to Iowa on Tuesday night, he was immediately asked about his message for his team following the game.
Woodson, arms crossed on the table in front of him and eyes staring straight ahead, paused for a moment.
“Not real happy.”
The Hoosiers took the court to their usual fanfare of the fight song, surrounded by fans who just witnessed the first sweep over the rival Purdue Boilermakers in a decade, and ceded control to the Hawkeyes almost immediately.
“We left our game in West Lafayette, it’s just unacceptable the way we played tonight,” Woodson said. “I apologize to our fans. I’m the coach, I’ve gotta get ‘em ready to play and that was a bullshit performance tonight.”
Iowa was firmly and confidently in charge of the game within minutes and Indiana didn’t seem all that interested in doing much about it between allowing open looks on the perimeter and no willingness to stop the Hawkeyes from attacking the paint.
Kris Murray has been lauded for his NBA ceiling and absolutely looked the part as he took a blowtorch to the Hoosiers’ defense for 26 points on 5-8 shooting from the perimeter.
Offense is Iowa’s identity under Fran McCaffery, they may do it differently year to year as new pieces come through his system but the Hawkeyes usually lead the Big Ten in points per game.
But it’s a double edged sword. The Hawkeyes’ defense usually ranks among the worst in the Big Ten, a stat made to look worse by teams attempting to keep up with them.
Not only was Iowa allowed to do what they were best at at an astounding level, Indiana also wasn’t able to figure out a normally lackluster defense nearly enough to claw within a reasonable margin throughout the night. Everyone in the arena or watching on TV knew the Hawkeyes were going to fire from the perimeter and they still did it.
With 3-pointers raining on their heads and Hawkeyes blazing past them to the rim, the Hoosiers just looked like a team that didn’t feel as though they have anything to play for, which isn’t remotely close to true.
Selection Sunday is still a ways away with the Hoosiers’ seeding still very much being a subject of debate for the committee. Not only that, Indiana could lose out on a favorable seed in the Big Ten Tournament and find itself needing help to retain one.
An additional worry? High powered offenses like Iowa, Kansas and Arizona have routinely torn Indiana to shreds on the season, with athletic shooting threats from the wing proving especially effective. Those aren’t the types of teams you’ll usually find in the Big Ten, but they are the type that usually spell doom for the conference as a whole in March.
McCaffery now moves to a dominant 4-0 against Woodson, with the Hawkeyes never scoring less than 80 against the latter’s Hoosiers.
This game happened, nothing is going to change that. What matters is how Indiana responds down the stretch, with one last home game on Sunday against Michigan to send the Hoosiers and a storied group of seniors off to the postseason.