MBB: Iowa vs. Indiana Preview/Prediction
By Justin VanLaere
The Iowa Hawkeyes, in their most winnable conference game of the year, host the Indiana Hoosiers in a Sunday afternoon battle inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Indiana Hooisers (10-9, 1-5) at Iowa Hawkeyes (7-11, 0-6)
POMEROY RATINGS: Iowa – 84, IND – 64
RPI: Iowa – 151, IND – 155
Tip Off: Sunday, January 23rd, 2010; 2:06 PM CST
Iowa City, Iowa – Carver-Hawkeye Arena (15,500)
TV: BTN (HD) • RADIO: AM-600, AM-800, AM-1040 SAT: Sirius 121, XM 141
Iowa trails in the series 71-94.
NO LIVE CHAT FOR THIS GAME
PG – Bryce Cartwright, 6’1”, 180 lb, JR
G – Matt Gatens, 6’5”, 215 lb, JR
G – Eric May, 6’5”, 225 lb, SO
F – Melsahn Basabe, 6’7”, 225 lb, FR
C – Jarryd Cole, 6’7”, 250 lb, SR
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G – Jeremiah Rivers, 6’5”, 210 lb, SR
G – Jordan Hulls, 6’0”, 175 lb, SO
G – Verdell Jones III, 6’5”, 185 lb, JR
F – Christian Watford, 6’9”, 230 lb, SO
F – Tom Pritchard, 6’9”, 250 lb, JR
While this game won’t grab any national headlines, especially with the NFC Championship game being played at the same time (I trust everyone will be cheering on Chicago this afternoon), it’s an incredibly important game for the two teams involved. Big Ten wins will be few and far between for both the Hawkeyes and the Hoosiers in the 2010-11 season, so this is a big game for the programs and their fans.
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The Hoosiers are 0-7 on the road and have lost 7 of their 8 games. The Hawkeyes have lost 6 in a row, yet a win for Iowa would give the program its 700th in Big Ten history.
Bryce Cartwright is quietly having himself a very good season in his first year at Iowa. He already has 10 games of 5 assists or more (all have come in the last 12 games) and ranks in the nation’s Top 50 in ARate. He is also the team’s second leading scorer and is becoming Iowa’s best perimeter defender. He has had a positive A/TO ratio for every single Big Ten game, sans the Purdue contest (3:4). He has also scored in double-digits of every Big Ten game except the Purdue road game. If Bryce is able find an open Matt Gatens in this game, he could come away with a career assist night (Matt tore up the Hoosiers last year, going for 25 points on 7-10 from 3PT).
Let’s take a look at what these two teams have done so far this season in regards to common opponents…
UNI: Iowa beat the Panthers by 12 points at home, holding UNI to just 39 points. Indiana lost to UNI on a neutral site by 6 points. ADVANTAGE – IOWA.
SIU-Edwardsville: I will preface with this – SIU-E is just not a good D1 ball team, so it’s really difficult to take much from this game. Iowa beat SIU-E by 61 points at home and eclipsed the 100 point mark for the first time in a long time (111-50). Indiana beat SIU-E by 34 points at home 88-54. ADVANTAGE – IOWA?
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Minnesota: Both teams have played the Gophers on the road. Iowa lost to the Gophers by 10 points after leading Minnesota in the second half. Indiana lost to Minnesota 67-63 and had a chance to win or take the game to overtime late. ADVANTAGE: INDIANA.
Ohio State: Both teams have played the Buckeyes on their home court. Iowa lost to Ohio State by 5 points (73-68) after leading the Buckeyes by 6 points at the half. Indiana trailed by 13 to Ohio State at half and lost by 18 points as the Buckeyes coasted to the win. ADVANTAGE: IOWA.
Northwestern: Although not a like for like comparison, Indiana played Northwestern better on the road than Iowa did inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. ADVANTAGE: INDIANA.
KEYS TO GAME FOR IOWA:
– Defend Indiana’s Guards. This is a small change up from games past where I’ve focused on guarding the perimeter. Christian Watford will be key down low for the Hoosiers, but the real key, in my opinion, is if Iowa’s backcourt can contain Jones and Hulls. With Maurice Creek officially done for the season with a knee injury, a greater load will be on the other member’s of Indiana’s backcourt to perform. Jones is great at getting into the lane and Hulls is deadly from behind the arc. In fact, Jordan Hulls has the #1 eFG of any player in the entire nation at 73.6% (that’s an insane number)… so yeah, Iowa had better get a hand in his face.
– Get Iowa’s Bigs Involved Early. When things start off well for Basabe, his energy stays high and he feeds off of that. This goes for both ends of the court. It seems as if some of Melsahn’s best offensive games have occurred and been jumpstarted by some great defensive possessions. Jarryd Cole has not been very productive in Big Ten play so far this year. If he can’t stay out of foul trouble, it will be up to Andrew Brommer to pick up the slack. Either way, I expect Andrew to see more playing time today regardless.
– Production from the Bench. I’m looking at you, Andrew Brommer. You stepped up on the road against one of the best post players in the nation. Now it’s time to keep that going. Brommer has the ability to do so many things well, but at the same time do so many things so poorly. Iowa needs to keep him at an even keel and get productive minutes out of him. The Pritchard/Brommer matchup could be fun on so many levels, good/bad/you-name-it. McCabe will need to give Iowa some quality minutes, as well. He needs to play aggressive defensive, grab some boards, and hit some treys. Devyn Marble will be called on to give Cartwright a breather, and will also see time at the 2 if need be. The play of these three will go a long way in determining how close this game is.
– Hit the Open Threes. As bad as Iowa’s outside defense is, Indiana is just as bad. In conference, Iowa is allowing teams to shoot 42.7% from behind the arc, while the Hoosiers are worse at 43.6%. Only Michigan is worse in the Big Ten in allowing a better 3P% against them. If May, Gatens, and McCabe can knock down the three pointers, Iowa could see a sizable lead at some point.
PREDICTION: Indiana is going to look to ride Watford in this game and use the three-point shot to open things up. Iowa’s interior defense has improved significantly as the year has progressed, while their perimeter defense has left something to be desired. Both of these bottom-tier Big Ten teams see this as a must-win in a league where few conference wins will come for either of them. FINAL SCORE: Iowa 73, Indiana 70