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Iowa MBB vs. Indiana Preview/Prediction

February 28, 2010

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Hawkeye Nation

Justin VanLaere’s preview and prediction of the Iowa-Indiana men’s basketball game.

Game Info

Indiana (9-18, 3-12) at Iowa (9-19, 3-12)
RPI – Indiana 218, Iowa 193
Pomeroy – Indiana 169, Iowa 146
Feb. 28, 2010 • 5:06 p.m. (CST)
Iowa City, IA • Carver-Hawkeye Arena
TV: BTN (HD) • Live Stats: hawkeyesports.com • Satellite Radio: XM 196
Series Record: Indiana leads, 94-70 (Last Meeting, IOWA, 58-43, Jan. 24, 2010)

Probable Starting Lineups

Iowa
G 3 Cully Payne 6-1 190 Fr. 8.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 3.8 apg, .364 FG%, .585 FT%
G 5 Matt Gatens 6-5 215 So. 12.3 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.4 apg, .367 FG%, .841 FT%
F 25 Eric May 6-5 225 Fr. 9.1 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 1.1 spg, .401 FG%, .667 FT%
F 24 Aaron Fuller 6-6 230 So. 9.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 0.7 apg, .461 FG%, .705 FT%
C 50 Jarryd Cole 6-7 250 Jr. 8.2 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 0.5 apg, .582 FG%, .652 FT%

Indiana
Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Yr. Statistical Summary
G 5 Jeremiah Rivers 6-5 214 Jr.-RS 6.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.9 apg, .393 FG%, .560 FT%
G 1 Jordan Hulls 6-0 172 Fr. 5.9 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 1.5 apg, .388 FG%, .786 FT%
G 12 Verdell Jones III 6-5 183 So. 14.4 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 3.3 apg, .391 FG%, .738 FT%
F 2 Christian Watford 6-9 220 Fr. 12.1 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 0.6 bpg, .384 FG%, .800 FT%
F 23 Bobby Capobianco 6-9 238 Fr. 2.1 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 0.3 apg, .418 FG%, .353 FT%

VanLaere Notes

No VLOG for this game.
Live Chat for this game can be found HERE.

The Tom Crean and Todd Lickliter experiments have not exactly turned out like their A.D.s envisioned when they hired them away from their previously successful programs.  Lickliter is staring down at an overall record at Iowa of 37-55 (by %, the worst in Iowa Basketball history).  While that’s bad, think about this… in order for Tom Crean to reach that same win total in three years, he will need next year’s Hoosier team to win 22 or more games.  This is coming from a program like Indiana that lives and breathes basketball.  Ouch.

Both teams have taken their lumps during the season.  Indiana lost their leading scorer and candidate for Big Ten Freshman of the Year in Maurice Creek.  They also lost their sharp shooter in Matt Roth just two games into the season.  Iowa, on the other hand, lost one of their leading scorers in Anthony Tucker, who left the team after his second alcohol-related incident in less than two years with the program.  The Hawkeyes also have had to battle nagging injuries to Aaron Fuller, Cully Payne, Matt Gatens, and Brennan Cougill – each dealing with different degrees of injury.

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Looking at this game from the outside, it really doesn’t look like either of these teams have much to play for.  Sure, pride is on the line, but really there isn’t much left on the docket for either of these teams.  The one thing that will certainly be affected by this game is the seedings for the Big Ten Tournament.  Realistically either of these team could finish as high as 9th or as low as 11th.  Personally, I don’t care where Iowa finishes just as long as it isn’t in the cellar and it doesn’t pair them up with Michigan for the third straight year in the Big Ten Tournament.

Indiana has been struggling mightily as of late.  After being pummelled at home by Iowa back in January, they put up back to back good fights in losses to Purdue and Illinois.  Since those two games, though, the Hoosiers haven’t been competitive in any of their last six games.   They are currently riding a nine game losing streak (one that started with the aforementioned loss to Iowa).   In that same nine game span, Iowa has just two wins.  One coming against Indiana, the other at home against Northwestern.  Unlike Indiana, Iowa has been competitive in a several of their games with the exception of a few awful performances (namely their games on the road against Northwestern, Purdue, and Michigan).   The last time out vs. Northwestern was one of the worst games I have witness by an Iowa basketball team in a long time.  It was certainly the worst played game this year by the Hawkeyes, and it’s one that I think will resonate with this team.   They were flat out embarrassed inside Welch-Ryan Arena, and I think that will give Iowa some extra motivation going into this game.  The Hawkeyes need some sort of redemption.

PLAYERS TO WATCH FOR:

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Jones. Really this is the only guy that Indiana has been getting consistent production from.  Verdell can create his own shot and has been getting to the FT line quite a bit.  Iowa needs to force him to take shots from outside the arc, where he isn’t as effective.

Watford.   For a guy his size, he shoots at a horrible clip from the field.  That right there is a reason why Wotford has struggled to be the inside presence Crean was hoping for him to be.  He’s had some difficulties the past few games, and Iowa played him relatively well last time out.  If he can find a way to get his shots to fall, he’ll give Iowa troubles.

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Elston.  This probably seems like an odd guy to pick out as a difference maker in the game.  I think with Derek’s height, he has a chance to be a disruptive force of the bench.  It’s not like Pritchard or Capobianco are tearing it up right now, I can see Crean giving him more PT if he’s productive down low vs. Iowa.

KEYS TO THE GAME:

  • NO MORE FOULS.  When Cole and Fuller get into foul trouble, bad things happen.  Bad, bad, bad things.  Aaron has been plagued with foul trouble as of late (especially early in the contests) and it has handcuffed Iowa.  The Hawkeyes rely on his offensive rebounding (Fuller ranks in the Top 20 in the nation in that department).
  • PHYSICAL, LOCK DOWN DEFENSE.   The defensive effort put forth by the Hawkeyes last game vs. Northwestern was pitiful at best.  Iowa needs to take it personally when they play poor defense.  The Hawkeyes need to come out and play some hard-nosed defense.
  • IF YOU’RE TAKING TIME TO SET A SCREEN, MIGHT AS WELL SET A GOOD ONE.   Too often we are seeing the Iowa screeners set lackadaisical, half-hearted picks on the wings and at the top of the key.  To make matters worse, we have our ball-handlers not rubbing off the screens either.  Basically, it looks like both the screener and man with the ball are just going through the motions because it’s part of the offense.  Hey, if you’re going to go through the movements, you might as well make a basketball move and make it worth your time.
  • HOME COURT ADVANTAGE.   When the lights are turned out after this game, the Hawkeyes will have played their last game in Carver-Hawkeye Arena for this season.  It hasn’t been a season to remember, but those Iowa fans who have stuck with your Hawkeyes throughout the year, do your best to send these guys out with a bang.  Do what you can to give Devan Bawinkel a nice farewell, too.

PREDICTION: Indiana is playing bad basketball; yes, worse basketball than Iowa.  The Hoosiers are looking like they are the bottom of the barrel in the Big Ten for a second year in a row.  The Hawkeyes will have a chance to help make it so.  Iowa gets their first sweep of the year…    Iowa 62,  Indiana 53

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