When Iowa it visits No. 15 Indiana on Tuesday night, they will be fighting for their NCAA Tournament lives. The Hawkeyes overcame a huge deficit against Michigan State to win in overtime. Indiana rebounded from a loss against the Spartans with a win over Purdue for the second time this season.
Iowa has just escaped with one of the most unlikely wins in college basketball. With 1:34 remaining, the Hawkeyes were behind by 13 points. However, they rallied to force overtime and win. Six 3-pointers were made in the final 90 seconds of regulation, and they won 112-106. Kris Murray scored 26 points, Tony Perkins added 24 and Payton Sandfort had 22 to complete Iowa’s balanced scoring attack. Overall, the Hawkeyes are now 18-11 (10-8 Big Ten), which puts them on the right side of the NCAA Tournament bubble. Most projections have a bit of a margin for error.
A win Tuesday night would be a huge help as they could almost guarantee a place in the Big Dance. Iowa will finish its regular season on Sunday against Nebraska. The Hawkeyes are reliant on an offense that ranks eighth in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency ratings, and fifth in turnover rate. Their weak spot has been in the 3-point range (33.9), but on Saturday, they were 17 of 36 from beyond the perimeter. The Indiana defense is their biggest challenge. They are facing an Indiana defense that is No. 281 in turnover rate. Murray, a junior forward leads Iowa with 20.2 points per game and 8.0 rebounds.
Indiana has just won a huge game, defeating No. 5 Purdue, for the second time season. They shot 43% from the floor, were down four points at the half, but shot 58% from behind the arc in the second half. Jalen Hood Schifino, a star freshman, scored 35 points to lead Indiana. This was a record-breaking performance that surpasses the 33-point effort against Northwestern. Although the Hoosiers are certain to reach the NCAA Tournament, they can potentially improve their seeding.
They are now looking to retaliate for the 21-point loss they suffered in Iowa last month. Trayce Jackson Davis, the leading scorer, scored 30 points and grabbed nine rebounds. He also blocked three shots. This season, Indiana was ranked No. 21 in adjusted efficiency. The Hoosiers shoot nearly 40% from the 3-point range and 53.3% from within the field. Their only weakness is a poor free-throw percentage (71.3). They are facing an Iowa defense that is No. 298 in field goal percentage.
Iowa overcame a huge first-half deficit to defeat the Hoosiers the last time these two teams faced each other. Indiana has played much better since then. The Hawkeyes have been an inconsistent mess most of this season, the Hawkeyes will be dangerous in this game if they shot the ball from beyond the arc well.
The Hoosiers are the more talented team and have the better coach. Look for Trayce Jackson Davis to have a huge game and if Jalen Hood=Schifino has a solid game this will be a blowout. The Hoosiers are coming off a huge win and a letdown could be human nature, but I think that’s out the window because of the Hoosiers losing in embarrassing fashion to Iowa earlier in the season.
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