The Iowa Hawkeyes (8-6, 0-3) are coming into this game with a three game losing streak and stretch where they’ve lost four out of five as the teeth of the Big Ten schedule begin to bare themselves. It’s a tough task, with the #15 Indiana Hoosiers (10-3, 1-1) as the opponent Iowa looks to flip the script on the season.
The Hoosiers have done well to avoid the unexpected loss, with all three coming to teams more highly-regarded according to KenPom - Rutgers, Arizona, and Kansas. Add to it, the losses to Rutgers & KU were on the road, so wins against Xavier & North Carolina hold down a solid resume at this juncture.
Worth noting, in each of their three losses, they lost the first “quarter,” including wide margins against the Wildcats and Jayhawks. Iowa getting off to a fast start is important for a host of different reasons, but putting some distance between them and IU early could be just what the doctor ordered.
The Hoosiers face some “rust vs. rest” questions as they last played 12 days ago and star Trayce Jackson-Davis hasn’t played since that December 17th loss in Lawrence as he’s nursed a back injury. He came into the season with a thumb injury as well but he has performed admirable with 16.4 PPG, 8.2 RPG, and a career-high 2.8 APG.
IU has championship aspirations and certainly a roster deserving of those goals. A win at Iowa is the type of W someone trying to win the Big Ten comes away with while a win against a top 25 opponent at home is the type of tonic needed for an Iowa team hoping to make the NCAA tournament after a rough stretch which puts those goals on hold.
How does Iowa fill the void of Patrick McCaffery?
First, I share in the sentiments Matt wrote on Tuesday in wishing the best for Patrick and his family. I also have to commend Patrick for his transparency in what he is facing because mental health is so unseen and bringing details like how it’s affected “his sleep, appetite, & stamina” helps destigmatize anxiety in a way those who do not suffer from it can empathize. Chad Leistikow’s write-up after yesterday’s availability went even deeper into what he’s faced with quotes from his mother - “feels like he’s already run a marathon” before getting to the game - and noted how friend and former teammate Tyrell Terry’s retirement from a professional career affected him. (Terry was also very forthright in detailing his decision and should be commended as well)
As important as all of this is in the grand scheme of life, there are still details to be addressed on the basketball court. First and foremost, brother Connor will be filling in for Patrick in the starting lineup. He’s averaging a career high 7.3 points/game to ease the loss of Patrick’s 12 PPG and will fill some of the minutes void, as he averaged nearly 32 minutes/game in the 2019-20 season.
But Iowa needs to get more from others without Patrick and Iowa’s guards are another sore spot at the moment. Tony Perkins has been particularly volatile the last five games, going from 17 points to 3 to 15 to 3 to 17 on 21/51 shooting (41%). Fellow starter Ahron Ulis has scored in double-digits just once this season (a loss to TCU) and only 13 total points over the same stretch and is 1/15 from deep. Yuck.
How much longer can Iowa go with this starting backcourt before going to Dasonte Bowen full time?
The biggest opportunity from a minutes perspective is for Payton Sandfort. He’s been sideways all season and played just 17 minutes in the last two games. Can he pull out of a tailspin? Or will Fran move to develop Josh Dix with more minutes? Dix has played well lately in my estimation despite shots not dropping but is coming off a sprained ankle against Nebraska.
About the Hoosiers
Season averages: Team / Opponent
PPG: 80.1 / 65.3
RPG: 37.2 / 32.4
APG: 17.3 / 11.6
TOPG: 12.5 / 14.4
FG%: 50.7% / 39.7%
3P%: 36.5% / 32.5%
Mike Woodson: 2nd year at Indiana, 2nd in college, 9 NBA seasons
Record: 31-17 (.646) at Indiana, .463 in NBA
PPG: Trayce Jackson-Davis 16.4, Jalen Hood-Schifino 10.7
RPG: Jackson-Davis 8.2 (2.9 ORPG), Race Thompson 6.4 (1.5 ORPG)
APG: Xavier Johnson 4.9, Hood-Schifino 4.3
FG%: Jackson-Davis 63.4%, Trey Galloway 46.4%
3P%: Galloway 50.0%, Miller Kopp 44.6%
Presumed Xavier Johnson went out in the Kansas game with a foot injury. He’s had surgery with no timetable to return so Galloway gets the nod here. Also...keep an eye on Malik Reneau (7.4 PPG, 3.9 RPG) as a replacement for Jackson-Davis if he cannot go.
G - #1 Jalen Hood-Schifino, Fr, 6’6”, 213 lbs: 10.7 PPG, 4.3 APG, 4.5 RPG, 41.1% FG, 37.9% 3P, 29.0 MPG
G - #32 Trey Galloway, Jr, 6’4”, 203 lbs: 6.2 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 56.4% FG, 50% 3P, 23.6 MPG
F - #12 Miller Kopp, Sr+, 6’7”, 215 lbs: 9.6 PPG, 49.4% FG, 44.6% 3P, 26.3 MPG
F - #25 Race Thompson, R-Sr+, 6’8”, 235 lbs: 8.4 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 1.4 BPG, 56.3% 2P, 23.8 MPG
F - #23 Trayce Jackson-Davis, Sr, 6’9”, 245 lbs: 16.4 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 2.9 ORPG, 2.8 APG, 2.7 BPG, 63.4% FG, 28.7 MPG
Last 5 games:
W - v Kennesaw State, 69-55 (12/23)
W - v Elon, 79-75 (12/20)
L - at Kansas, 84-62 (12/17)
L - v Arizona (N), 89-75 (12/10)
W- v Nebraska, 81-65 (12/7)
2023 KenPom: ($)
AdjEfficiency: +19.45 (19)
AdjOffense: 110.9 (33)
AdjDefense: 91.5 (22)
AdjTempo: 69.6 (110)
AdjEfficiency: +14.04 (48)
AdjOffense: 107.0 (95)
AdjDefense: 92.9 (24)
AdjTempo: 67.2 (175)
Bart Torvik: 27
Evan Miyakawa: 16