What to Expect: Iowa

123012aFor the first time in sixteen days, the No. 5 Hoosiers will face a challenging opponent as they go on the road to face the Iowa Hawkeyes. Fran McCaffery’s team finished up the non-conference schedule 11-2 and is coming off a win over Coppin State on Dec. 22.

The game will be broadcast on ESPN2 with Jim Barbar and Dan Dakich on the call.

After what felt like countless drubbings with a few formidable opponents mixed in, Indiana has finally arrived at the Big Ten portion of its schedule. And the Hoosiers, winners of three straight following a loss to Butler at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Dec. 15, will be entering what should be a raucous environment in a soldout Carver Hawkeye Arena.

Iowa City hasn’t been kind to IU in recent seasons as the Hoosiers have dropped four straight on the road to the Hawkeyes. That said, it’s a different season and this is a different IU team with great expectations. Those expectations include contention for a league title, which makes tomorrow’s game the most important one on the schedule so far.

PERSONNEL

In the aftermath of the failed Todd Lickliter era, McCaffery has done a solid job of assembling the talent necessary to challenge for a spot in the NCAA Tournament. A solid nucleus (Roy Devyn Marble, Aaron White, Melsahn Basabe, Eric May, Zach McCabe, Josh Oglesby) returns and reinforcements have arrived in the form of a strong freshman class that includes guards Mike Gesell and Anthony Clemmons along with big man Adam Woodbury.

Marble is off to a solid start to his junior season and is the only Hawkeye averaging more than 30 minutes per game. He’s averaging 15.7 points per game with a solid effective field goal percentage (52.0). He’s taking nearly four 3-pointers a game compared to just 1.6 a season ago and is shooting close to 40 percent. But as he’s shifted to more of a scoring role following the departure of Matt Gatens, Marble’s assists are down and his turnovers are up. It would be a shock to see anyone other than Victor Oladipo draw the Marble assignment.

White has built on a surprising freshman season with a sophomore campaign that has been highlighted by a parade to the free throw line. In 13 games, White has taken 87 free throws, which gives him the highest free throw rate in the Big Ten, and his field goal percentage on 2’s is close to 57 percent. White has also continued to hit the offensive glass hard which is evident by his offensive rebounding percentage (10.1).

Woodbury, a consensus top 50 recruit, has modest offensive numbers at 6.6 points per game, but is making an impact on the glass and defensively by altering and blocking shots. That means Basabe, who is coming off an ankle injury in the win over Coppin State, will continue to come off the bench as a source of energy.

In the backcourt, Gesell has slid right into the starting lineup and is Iowa’s third leading scorer (9.4). While he was recruited as a point guard, Clemmons has actually taken over those duties and is the Hawkeyes leading assist man at 3.8 per game. That means Iowa is starting two 6-1 players, so both teams will have similar size in the backcourt.

POMEROY PREVIEW

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Just as many have questioned the improvement of Indiana’s defense against a light non-conference schedule, it’s fair to do the same with Iowa given the fact that they’ve played an even lighter slate this far. The Hawkeyes gave up nearly 1.09 points per possession in league games a season ago and their defense will be tested against the nation’s most efficient offense.

For Indiana, limiting second chance points is going to be pivotal when you consider just how average of a shooting team Iowa has been against a very suspect schedule. The Hawkeyes are shooting below 32 percent on 3-pointers, which is down from 37.3 percent last season. On the flip side, Iowa has been allowing opponents to rebound 30 percent of their misses and IU has been fantastic on the offensive glass (41.5 OR%) thus far.

WHAT IT COMES DOWN TO

The numbers favor Indiana almost across the board, but there are reasons for optimism on both sides. For the Hoosiers, there’s finally returning talent that has experienced winning on the road in the Big Ten. IU did finish just 3-6 in the league road games last season, but the performances seemed to improve as the season moved along.

As for Iowa, this is a chance to get a signature win at home, which the Hawkeyes won’t get against Michigan or Ohio State, who they only play on the road. They’ll also have the advantage of playing at home in front of their first sellout crowd of the season against a team who has yet to be tested in a true road environment.

Pomeroy likes the Hoosiers by nine. For Indiana to win that comfortably, it must avoid the slow starts that have been a problem at times away from Assembly Hall.

TIM BUCKLEY ON IOWA

“Iowa is a another team that plays 94 feet of basketball. We not only have to put an emphasis on scoring the ball but also getting stops and not letting them get out in their transition game. Aaron White is one of those under the radar guys who has improved in so many areas, as a ballhandler, as a rebounder, as a shooter. He is very athletic and long. [Roy] Devyn Marble is kind of the same way and he has come in a developed into one of the better players in the Big Ten. He is a matchup problem for every team he faces because he is so versatile and can play three positions. Now they have added some good, tough, competitive freshman who have talent and skill and I think that has improved their program.”

MCCAFFERY ON IU

“What’s important is that we play well and that we play the way we are supposed to play against a really good team. Obviously we really want to win, and obviously if you can make a big impact, you can win. But we recognize who we are playing and we recognize that we are going to have to play better than we’ve played up until now. With all due respect, the opponents that we’ve beaten and some of the great games that we’ve had, we are going to have to play mistake free basketball, shoot it better.

“They are a phenomenal rebounding team and for a team to average 13 offensive rebounds a game and if they are shooting 52 percent, that’s an incredibly impressive number. It’s not that many misses and they are going back and getting them and keeping you on defense. We are going to be challenged on the glass, at full court, at halfcourt. They are changing defenses a little bit more. They are going to make our young guys think.”

(Photo credit: Times-Republican)

  • Kevin Tolliver

    IF we don’t come out totally cold and or with that blank stare in our eyes….then I agree with Pomeroy Hoosiers win by at least 9

  • hoosierstateofmind

    I hate to say it but my gut tells me we don’t win this game. Our guys haven’t played a true road game since last season and the 3-6 mark a year ago tells a lot more about our team than the numbers we have put up primarily at Assembly Hall year to date. The three times we have left Bloomington, the Hoosiers have looked like a team that is missing something. I hope I’m wrong, but I was at the Iowa game last year and watched us get absolutely smoked. I can’t make the 3 hour drive from the western burbs of Chicago this year, but lets hope I’m wrong. (point of information, I’ve seen IU on the road 7 times and we have lost every game, so if IU wins this game I’m starting to think I’m a road game jinx)

  • IUJeff

    It is time to start winning these winnable road games. Recipe for success is to feed the Z, fight through the screens, and force their dribble drivers to their weak side.

  • And_One

    Throw out those numbers. This will be a close game in front of a totally geeked New Year’s Eve crowd. Our guys will have to keep their heads. And they will: double-digit win for the Hoosiers.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jaime.gongora.520 Jaime Gongora

    I’m so ready for this game. Win or lose, I think a lot of questions will be answered to get ready for the rest of the big ten season and da tournament.

  • http://www.facebook.com/aaronaders Aaron Aders

    Going over the top of the screens and guarding the 3ball will really boost our ability to win games. Let Oladipo and Big Handsome protect the hoop!

  • SCHoosier

    As far as the “numbers” are concerned (the stats)..this IU team will have two different seasons….cupcake time and the B-10. If IU can throw up those kinds of numbers is the conference just go ahead and award them the title.

  • marcusgresham

    I know a lot of people continue to harp on the fact that the two smaller IU guards will struggle to match up with bigger guys, so I’d suspect that we’ll see more zone in conference games than we did in the earlier ones.
    One spot for optimism in spite of recent struggles at Iowa: a lot of the trouble has been that Iowa has pressured Indiana into sloppy turnovers. If they try that now they’re pressing the best ballhandler Indiana has had since (at least) Chris Reynolds. No one has managed to try to run with IU yet with any success. I know the “road games” are what has been pointed to in regards to difficulties but it’s been the dictation of tempo in the those three games more than the venue.

  • marcusgresham

    I know a lot of people continue to harp on the fact that the two smaller IU guards will struggle to match up with bigger guys, so I’d suspect that we’ll see more zone in conference games than we did in the earlier ones.
    One spot for optimism in spite of recent struggles at Iowa: a lot of the trouble has been that Iowa has pressured Indiana into sloppy turnovers. If they try that now they’re pressing the best ballhandler Indiana has had since (at least) Chris Reynolds. No one has managed to try to run with IU yet with any success. I know the “road games” are what has been pointed to in regards to difficulties but it’s been the dictation of tempo in the those three games more than the venue.

  • Kenneth234

    I have concerns only about how the freshman will handle the adversity of a tough crowd and a team that has true big ten talent. Not that I expect Iowa to compete for the Big Ten title, but I do expect them to be a blemish upon the record of one to three of the conferences top 5 this season. I am hoping that we are not one of those 1 to 3, and do not expect to be with guys like Hulls, Oladipo, Sheehey, Watford, Elston, Zeller, and Abel pulling the bulk of the minutes.

    Bottom line, traveling to Iowa for the first conference game is much better than traveling to last year’s Michigan St., so I would pick Indiana to win by double figures.

  • Kenneth234

    Can someone explain to me what the objective is that the “PICK TO CLICK” is. Is it based solely on scoring or are other factors at play?

  • Kenneth234

    Can someone explain to me what the objective is that the “PICK TO CLICK” is. Is it based solely on scoring or are other factors at play?

  • The Big Handsome
  • Luke72

    Starting he year with a road win would be huge! No more cupcakes, this is the Big Ten!

  • Luke72

    Starting he year with a road win would be huge! No more cupcakes, this is the Big Ten!

  • Pritch24

    So, which category do the Purdue games fit in?

  • And_One

    Good question. Maybe a pair of mid-season exhibition games, ala Athletes In Action?

  • SCHoosier

    Ouch..I consider everybody a threat until they are neutralized (military influence I guess)

  • SCHoosier

    Our match-ups are pretty good for this one..guards take guards..VO on Marble..Wat on White and Cody takes their freshman 7 footer. Basabe off the bench could be a problem?

  • And_One

    You are right, of course. My hubris was showing–how embarrassing. I imagine all the teams on the schedule will manage to get up for IU.

  • marcusgresham

    I think I’m happy to see Zeller matching up against another big guy. He’s struggled against a lot of these smaller guys; maybe he’s got a better shot at not having to deal with as much help defense. He also will certainly be able to beat this kid up and down the floor.
    Basabe is damn good to be a bench guy. That dude’s a beast.

  • IUJeff

    I’ll take a W in any fashion. Gonna have to hit the boards hard, fight over the screens, and someone will have to step up when Z is in foul trouble.

  • IUJeff

    I’ll take a W in any fashion. Gonna have to hit the boards hard, fight over the screens, and someone will have to step up when Z is in foul trouble.

  • IUMIKE1

    Especially when it comes to a rivalry game. Throw out the records most of the time.

  • BrierBrax

    I am so pumped to watch this one

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    Let’s see… Have you been going to IU road games for the last 15 years?

    If not, the answer probably lies elsewhere. But Just in case, I hope you enjoy a W tonight form the comforts of your man cave.

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    Yeah, the pomeroy numbers are not that meaningful this time of year.

    However, that cuts both ways. Check out Iowa’s schedule. Not exactly Duke/UK/Kansas. Losses to Va Tech (their only road game) and Witchita state, both by double digits. I guess their best win would be Iowa State (no idea if they’re any good this year. I apologize if all this is in the writeup- haven;t read it yet.

    If we play well, we should win. I’m not confident we will play well, though. I’m hoping Christian Watford makes an appearance and Zeller is a presence inside.

    Rebound and play d and we win. I’m not that worried about our offense.

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    Yeah, the pomeroy numbers are not that meaningful this time of year.

    However, that cuts both ways. Check out Iowa’s schedule. Not exactly Duke/UK/Kansas. Losses to Va Tech (their only road game) and Witchita state, both by double digits. I guess their best win would be Iowa State (no idea if they’re any good this year. I apologize if all this is in the writeup- haven;t read it yet.

    If we play well, we should win. I’m not confident we will play well, though. I’m hoping Christian Watford makes an appearance and Zeller is a presence inside.

    Rebound and play d and we win. I’m not that worried about our offense.

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    Your boiservation about tempo is totally on-point. That’s been the most frustrating thing in the games where we’ve struggled (particularly Butler)- they took us totally out of our game.

    The key to running is boards- If we don’t rebound the opponent’s misses, we can’t run. And if we’re sending CZ down the court on every miss, we need two other bigs to stay and board. Maybe HMP and Wat.

    Yogi scares me a bit here as well. He’s been really great at times this year, but he’s occasionally been a turnover machine.

    Edited to add: meant to write “observation” but “boiservation” is now my new word for a boisterous observation. I guess it really should be “Boistervation”

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    Watching in suburban CLE with my Iowa grad buddy. Hoosiers, please allow me to gloat at the end of this one.

  • Benhyoung14

    Our Junior’s, Senior’s, and Zeller know what its like to play on the road in the B1G. CTC has talked about how good he thinks Iowa is. IU will be ready to play.

  • SCHoosier

    Please stay home:)

  • Benhyoung14

    We match up really well with this team. At times Zeller should have an advantage. I hope CTC has preached aggressiveness in the last week to him. As long as we can rebound well, and push the ball then we should be fine. I expect Hulls to have a big game. I could see them putting Marble on Hulls.

  • HannerTime Hoosier

    I suggest you include Hanner be included in the rotation for his rebounding/both OR & DR prowess. Gonna need it throughout BIG10 season.

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    Bored at work, so here’s some analysis of our road BT sked for you all to ignore:

    Only have to play Wiscy at our place (remember how those troglodytes mugged us up there last year? Worst officiated game I can remember, and I don’t complain about refs much). OTOH, we don’t get Ill at home, and they appear to be for real. Also, we won’t have to lose at Neb 2 years in a row, cuz we don’t play there. OSU, MSU, and Mich we get home and home. Last game of the season is@UM. That could be a huge one.

    Generally, the recipe for winning the conf is something like hold court at home and win half of your road games, right? Assuming we have one brain fart at home (hello, Minny last year), let’s say we need to go one game over 500 on the road. We’ve got 9 roadies, so let’s say we have to win 5. Here’s my take on how we might get there:

    Iowa-W (shaky)

    PSU-W (solid)

    NW-W (shaky)

    Pur- W (solid, they are terrible)

    ILL- L

    OSU-L

    MSU-L

    Minn-W (shaky)

    Mich-L

    As you can see, whoever wins this thing will earn it. I think going to Minny and winning will be really tough (Mbakwe is a beast, they only have 1 loss with a tougher sked than we have, and Tubby can coach). Playing NU often seems like a bear for us and I think they are pretty decent this year.

    Ultimately, we’re not going to win every road game we “should” so we’re likely going to have to win one or two we “shouldn’t” (OSU, Ill, MSU,UM). I think Minny is hard to classify at this point. Holy moley, the BT is tough.

    After that, I think tonight’s game is even more important.

  • ChefDan

    Any Hoosier fans in Louisville heading to BWW on Shelbyville Rd to watch the game today? If so I will be there and I would like to meet you. I’m interested in the possibility of a joining a Louisville IU Fan club if it gets going as mentioned in the tread about the Butler game.

  • hoosierstateofmind

    Well, I was stressed out but I enjoyed the end result. I’m glad I stayed home for this one b/c it was too close for my bad luck to hurt the team!

  • hoosierstateofmind

    Well, I was stressed out but I enjoyed the end result. I’m glad I stayed home for this one b/c it was too close for my bad luck to hurt the team!

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