So, it’s been a tough week of Iowa Hawkeyes basketball. Fear not! They’re facing a team who’s also had a rough go of it lately in the Indiana Hoosiers. Archie Miller’s squad is coming off back-to-back losses against Duke and Michigan. They join Iowa in the .500 club at 4-4.
So, it’s a good opportunity for Iowa to flip the script on the season so far, but Indiana will be looking to do the same. They mirror a lot of Iowa opponents by regularly throwing out three guard lineups. Thankfully, none of their guards have demonstrated the same aptitude for passing or shooting the basketball as some of Iowa’s other opponents (not that it will stop any of them from going off for a career night later today).
Josh Newkirk, Robert Johnson, and Aljami Durham are the likely starters at guard and only Johnson averages double digit points at 13 per game. He’s much more likely to take it to the basket than shoot it from behind the arc, though he has some ability (36.4%). Last year, he went off for 19 points against Iowa at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on 7/14 shooting (5/6 from 2-point range).
Newkirk is the starting point guard and has averaged about 8 points and 3 assists per game. Overall, the Hoosiers struggle to pass teammates open and have assists on only 51.4% of their baskets. (Iowa is at 63.8%, FWIW) Their turnover percentage is wholly mediocre at 17.9% of their possessions, with over half of those going as steals.
The main guy for Iowa to defend will be Juwan Morgan, who has amassed three KenPom game MVPs this season. He’s averaging 13.6 points per game and grabbing 5.9 rebounds. He’s also the main defender down low and leads the team with 1.5 blocks per game. Perhaps most impressive is his ability to sink foul shots. He’s at 78.3% but has games of 10/10 and 9/10 shooting from the charity stripe.
Overall, Indiana has looked to slow games down which might actually be to Iowa’s benefit, provided they can attack inside with Tyler Cook. He’s been a force down low, drawing an average of 7.8 fouls per 40 minutes and shooting nearly 60% from the floor. If Fran McCaffery can find the right lineup around him - mainly in the front court because we know Isaiah Moss and Jordan Bohannon are the go-to guards at the moment - he should have space to operate, as well as players who can take the scoring and defensive load off of him.
One lineup I would love to see get extended minutes is Bohannon-Moss-Nicholas Baer-Jack Nunge-Cook. It offers length/athleticism on defense and shooters around Cook on offense. Indiana has not been able to contain the three point shot, so hopefully something to this effect can jumpstart the stagnant offense.
Overall, if Iowa can avoid silly mistakes like the ones which plagued them against Penn State, they should win. However, a conference road game is a different animal which could pose an added challenge for the Hawkeyes.