It was never pretty, but it was always raw and full of energy as Iowa hung on to beat Indiana, finally pulling away in overtime. Down 17-4 at one point very early on, it looked like the Hawkeyes were bound to repeat their own history, dropping insurmountable deficits and fighting and clawing to dig themselves out of the hole for the rest of the game. And were it not for Peter Jok breaking the Iowa single-game record for most free throws made, that might have been the case. But from the moment that Nicholas Baer threw down that gutty put-back dunk, the Hawks looked invigorated and energetic. That alone felt great to see, as they had looked lethargic down the stretch.
I dunno about you, but I think this season may mark the end of the Crean era at Indiana.
So, uh, Melo Trimble is coming to town again on Saturday. He’s been a nightmare for Iowa teams for (literally) years. And he might have one more season up his sleeve. I think that pretty much sums up game. Oh, I forgot, there’s this other guy named Michal Cekovsky who is doing unreal things off the bench with only 17 minutes per game. That combination on the floor at the same time can spell disaster for most any team, and the Hawkeyes will have to take on that challenge. So what’s changed since the last time Iowa and Maryland met?
The short answer: not much. Both teams live and die by the three, just as they have all season. But Maryland seems to live a lot more than it dies in this regard while Iowa has been alternatively hot and cold over the last ten or so games. Whatever the reason for that up and down performance, Iowa’s shooters will need to establish their shot early in the game to keep this one respectable. I don’t see a way to really steal this one away from Maryland that doesn’t involve simply out-performing them and beating them at their own game. I personally liked Christian Williams’ defensive performance against Indiana, but he is still not quite the well-rounded guard we can rely on for long stretches. And while I’d love to see more of this:
TRUE FRESHMAN TYLER COOK IS A MAN pic.twitter.com/ce9jecOuyM— Heavens! (@HeavensHawkeye) February 22, 2017
I don’t really see Cook being able to compete inside against Maryland in this game. But I hope I’m wrong. And if I am, Tyler, please feel free to let me know. I can understand non-verbal communication quite well and I hear you have communicative eyes.
The computer is very optimistic. Shockingly so. But after keeping things reasonably close in Iowa’s first meeting with Maryland, there may be something to this. The model is predicting a Maryland win, but with a score of only 80-78. Hold onto your hats, folks, there might be some road magic on Saturday night, if the A.I. is to be believed.