The Iowa Hawkeyes (18-11, 10-8) will look to continue the momentum off their come-from-behind-victory against Michigan State against the #15 Indiana Hoosiers (20-9, 11-7). The win would position the Hawks very well ahead of the Big Ten Tournament, as they would have winning records against three of the four teams currently sitting at 11-7 in conference play.
The Hoosiers have played well of late, largely on the back of their ability to finish close games down the stretch. Six of their last seven games have finished in single digits, with multiple games featuring second-half deficits they had to overcome. Most impressive was their season sweep of Purdue but in surfing their game logs...holding Michigan scoreless the final five minutes of a 62-61 game in Ann Arbor is absolutely wild.
A ton has changed since these two last squared off. IU let Iowa beat them thrice and they rallied for five straight wins and 10 of the last 13 games. Since that low point, they’ve improved on both sides of the court, with their adjusted defense jumping from 64th to 41st. It’s happened as the Hoosiers’ pace has cooled off (top 30 decrease) in conference play. Not one game has exceeded 70 possessions since January 8th.
Trayce Jackson-Davis - a conference player of the year in any other season - remains excellent down low. He’s scored 25 points or more in six of the last 12 games and averages a double-double at 20.1 points & 11.0 rebounds. Only Jalen Pickett has played a higher percentage of minutes in conference play than TJD (91.8%).
Jalen Hood-Schifino is coming of his best game in the crimson & cream with 35 points against Purdue and is a shoo-in for the all-freshman team behind 13.6 points and 3.9 assists a game.
Can the Hawkeyes keep it close enough from behind the arc?
The four best three-point shooting offense in the Big Ten play are IU (39.1%), Penn State (39.2%), and whomever is playing Minnesota or Iowa (39.7% & 39.8%, respectively). So tonight will be the gnarly combination of an unstoppable force meeting a moveable object.
What does separate IU, though, is how little they shoot from deep, with a conference-low 24.7% of their shots coming from deep. Such is live with TJD and the capable midrange game of Hood-Schifino and others.
I expect the Hawks to roll out a similar gameplan as they did in Iowa City: live with the one-on-one matchup down low (will Josh Ogundele get some run?) to limit the sheer number of attempts IU takes from deep. They only shot 15 threes against Iowa, which was not nearly enough considering they made 8 of them for 53%.
Iowa, on the other hand, has those dreaded home/away-from-home splits from behind the arc but it is worth noting Iowa’s lost just one game (at Ohio State) where they shot better than 30% from deep. Of course, just four of those 18 games have come away from home so the low bar feels darn near unachievable.
If the right guys can hit the right shots early (Payton Sandfort and one of Tony Perkins/Ahron Ulis/Connor McCaffery) it can do just enough to loosen the stout Indiana defense to keep the game from getting off the rails.
Can Iowa take advantage of the Hoosiers’ weaknesses?
The Hawkeyes scored 29 points off of 15 offensive rebounds against Michigan State on Saturday, a statistic I missed in the immediate aftermath. It’s the most glaring of sore spots on IU’s defensive resume.
The Hoosiers’ preferred lineup will also feature two traditional bigs in Jackson-Davis and Race Thompson. Teams, of late, have had success putting guards on Kris Murray to limit dribble drives and scouted him well when trying to post up. Whether Murray do enough against Thompson in space will likely provide a guide as to how well the Hawkeye offense will perform.
Finally, the Hoosiers yield the second-most steals on defense (10.5%), as their sometime static offense with post ups can make them easy to defend. Does Iowa take advantage there? And, if the Hawkeyes make enough shots, can they generate similar success with the press?
About the Hoosiers
Season averages: Team / Opponent
PPG: 75.5 / 67.6
RPG: 36.2 / 32.9
APG: 15.5 / 11.4
TOPG: 12.1 / 11.4
FG%: 49.2% / 40.8%
3P%: 38.2% / 32.1%
Mike Woodson: 2nd year at Indiana, 2nd in college, 9 NBA seasons
Record: 41-23 (.641) at Indiana, .463 in NBA
PPG: Trayce Jackson-Davis 20.1, Jalen Hood-Schifino 13.6
RPG: Jackson-Davis 11.0 (3.1 ORPG), Race Thompson 5.0 (1.5 ORPG)
APG: Hood-Schifino 3.9, Jackson Davis 3.8
FG%: Jackson-Davis 57.2%, Malik Reneau 56.2%
3P%: Trey Galloway 51.9%, Miller Kopp 46.6%
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: 13.6 PPG, 3.9 APG, 4.1 RPG, 42.6% FG, 36.4% 3P, 32.3 MPG
G - #32 Trey Galloway, Jr, 6’4”, 203 lbs: 7.3 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 50.7% FG, 51.9% 3P, 27.5 MPG
F - #12 Miller Kopp, Sr+, 6’7”, 215 lbs: 8.1 PPG, 50.0% FG, 46.6% 3P, 29.4 MPG
F - #25 Race Thompson, R-Sr+, 6’8”, 235 lbs: 7.8 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 1.0 BPG, 54.5% 2P, 22.5 MPG
F - #23 Trayce Jackson-Davis, Sr, 6’9”, 245 lbs: 20.1 PPG, 11.0 RPG, 3.1 ORPG, 3.8 APG, 2.8 BPG, 57.2% FG, 33.8 MPG
Last 5 games:
W - at Purdue, 79-71 (2/25)
L - at Michigan State, 80-65 (2/21)
W - v Illinois, 71-68 (2/18)
L - at Northwestern, 64-62 (2/15)
W - at Michigan, 62-61 (2/11)
2023 KenPom: ($)
AdjEfficiency: +18.68 (21)
AdjOffense: 116.2 (21)
AdjDefense: 97.5 (41)
AdjTempo: 68.5 (136)
AdjEfficiency: +14.04 (48)
AdjOffense: 107.0 (95)
AdjDefense: 92.9 (24)
AdjTempo: 67.2 (175)
Bart Torvik: 24
Evan Miyakawa: 16