Not much time to write about this game (holidays, traveling), but a few thoughts on Iowa's close loss to Indiana:
- It was a damn shame the Hawks couldn't shoot even moderately well, because they played an outstanding defensive game. Holding a high-powered offense like Indiana's to .92 points per possession and an effective field goal percentage of 43% is mighty impressive. Adam Woodbury did a very solid job on Cody Zeller, Jordan Hulls was held in check (0-10 shooting), and Iowa managed to force 15 turnovers and 11 steals. Fran McCaffery couldn't have asked for more from his defense.
- Zeller was the MVP for Indiana, clearly, but Will Sheehey deserves kudos for providing just enough of an offensive boost to keep Iowa at bay down the stretch. The guy is annoying, devious, and surprisingly skilled.
- Victor Oladipo was almost as valuable as Zeller for the Hoosiers. Not only did he hold Devyn Marble to 1-14 shooting, he contributed an efficient 14 points and 10 rebounds of his own and looked like the most athletic player on the court.
- The crowd at Carver made itself a factor in the game. I was there, and can testify that it got loud. The atmosphere was almost too frenetic -- Iowa played very, very tight.
- Mike Gesell played like Iowa's most veteran player, driving past Indiana's pressing perimeter defense and patiently creating room for shots from mid-range.
- Aaron White punished Indiana for playing small line-ups of Yogi Ferrell, Hulls, Oladipo and Watford, finishing with his unique array of awkward scoop shots. Indiana is a talented team, but they are very, very small (Zeller excepted). Watford plays like a two guard and tends to drift on the perimeter, leaving Oladipo and Zeller to crash the boards. They may face some trouble against bigger teams like Michigan State and Minnesota.
- It was a shame that Melsahn Basabe went out with an injury midway through the game. He was providing some valuable relief for Adam Woodbury and is a more savvy one-on-one defender than Gabe Olaseni at this point.
- Iowa's downfall in this game was three-point shooting, and it's far enough in the season to say that this is a serious concern. The Hawks currently rank 259th in three-point shooting percentage and 274th in the percentage of their shots taken from three. Take away the UNI game, and almost the entire line-up is shooting sub-30% from three. They are getting decent looks, so hopefully it will turn around as the offense coheres and Adam Woodbury learns how to pass out of double teams more readily.