Who: #21 Iowa Hawkeyes (17-7, 8-5) at Indiana Hoosiers (15-8, 5-7)
When: 7:00 pm CT
Where: Assembly Hall – Bloomington, IN
Indiana enters Thursday nights game on a four-game losing streak, dipping from two games over .500 in Big Ten play to two games under .500. The Hoosiers looked poised to turn everything around with a 7-point lead over Maryland with less than 2 minutes left at Assembly Hall. But then, as is so often done with the Hoosiers over the last few years, it all came crashing down rather quickly. The Hoosiers 15-8 record looks good but a closer examination shows not enough quad one wins and they are running out of time to get them.
If the Hoosiers want to bust a March Madness drought they need this game. Iowa, on the other hand, is led by big man Luke Garza and they look assured of a tournament bid. With that being said, this is a big game for the Hawkeyes, but the Hoosiers are desperate.
Keys to the Game
The Hoosiers lack it and Iowa has it in spades. The Hoosiers have been playing soft and it is from a lack of senior leadership. Quite frankly, the coaching has been lacking, big time. Hopefully desperation forces Archie Miller to play this game a little differently but I would not hold my breath.
Contain Luke Garza
About the only way I see this happening will be if the Hoosiers can attack him from the opening tip and possibly get him into foul trouble.
Penetrating against Iowa’s defense
This is Iowa’s weakness. Unfortunately, especially in the Hoosiers loss to Purdue, fast-break points were non-existent. The Hoosiers will have to be much better in transition to have a chance in this game. Remember Iowa did give up 104 points on the road just a week ago at Purdue, so winning this game is not impossible for the Hoosiers and they have shown the ability to beat good teams at home.
Get to the free throw line and convert
This was one of Indiana’s strong points up until the current 4-game losing streak where suddenly they aren’t getting to the line. Rob Phinisee has to attack the basket more and the Hoosiers big men must play strong.
I would love to pick the home team in this game but after what I have seen as of late I just can’t. I am afraid that when looking back at this season the highlight will be a halftime ceremony. Welcome to “Hoosier Hysteria.”
Iowa 78, Indiana 70