After a disappointing 68-63 loss at Penn State, Indiana returns home on Thursday night for a meeting with Big Ten leader Iowa. The Hawkeyes, ranked No. 4 in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll, are 19-4 and 10-1 in the Big Ten.
The game will be broadcast at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN with Rece Davis, Dick Vitale and Kaylee Hartung on the call:
Thursday’s meeting in Bloomington between Indiana and Iowa was supposed to be for first place in the Big Ten. But after Indiana’s disappointing performance at the Bryce Jordan Center on Saturday, the Hoosiers can only play for a tie with Fran McCaffery and the Hawkeyes.
Iowa is the surprise story in not only the conference this season, but also nationally. Picked by most to finish no better than sixth or seventh in the league, the experienced Hawkeyes have one of the nation’s most well rounded teams.
And McCaffery, who has never lost fewer than 12 games in a season as Iowa’s coach, is right there at the front of the discussion for both Big Ten and national coach of the year. We’ve written since late December about the Big Ten schedule being backloaded with words of curiosity as to how Indiana will respond to the highest level of competition. Based on resume and results to-date, it’s not going to get much tougher than the challenges Iowa will present in primetime on Thursday under the bright lights of Assembly Hall.
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@connor_galyen writes: What’s IU’s identity? Are we the team that beat Michigan or the one that struggled against Minnesota and Penn State?
Is somewhere in the middle an option? I’m of the opinion that you should probably throw out these outlier type of performances when evaluating a team. Indiana probably isn’t as good as it played at Michigan and it certainly isn’t as bad as it played on Saturday on Penn State. The Minnesota game probably doesn’t even belong in the conversation because IU won that one and the Gophers have played some other Big Ten opponents close.
The problem, of course, is that a team that doesn’t perform consistently is going to have a tough time stringing together a long NCAA tournament run. Success for the Hoosiers is highly dependent on good shooting and taking care of the ball. Can the Hoosiers perform at a high level in both facets over the series of several games? It remains to be seen.
We’re back for our third installment of “Tourney Watch” as Indiana continues the back half of its Big Ten schedule.
In our weekly feature that will continue up until Selection Sunday on March 13, we take a look at IU’s current nitty gritty profile, updated bracket projections and much more.
Tom Crean returned to his live radio show Monday night in Bloomington following Indiana’s split in road games last week. Here are the highlights.
On the 28-0 run against Michigan
“Even though you would never expect to have a run like that, the way we came out inside of the game, gave us a lot of confidence,” Crean said. “We have to play better at the beginning of games, there’s no doubt about that, and we’ve got to execute better, but at the same time we were aggressive.
“The defense was keyed by the fact that we were adjusting quickly to the mistakes that we were making. We never got done mindset wise because we weren’t making shots at the beginning and that’s got so much to do with how you play.”
We know Indiana’s offense struggled in its loss to Penn State in Happy Valley.
But over the final 10 minutes of action, the Hoosiers also made a number of miscues on defense and the Nittany Lions capitalized to emerge victorious. It was IU’s second worst performance on D in terms of points per possession (1.05) in conference play.
We’ll take a look at the defensive missteps down the stretch in the latest edition of Film Session:
Brandon Taylor inbounds the ball to Julian Moore in the left corner:
The Inside the Hall Big Ten Power Rankings are back following the sixth week of conference play and there are more shakeups in the league’s pecking order. Here’s a look at where each team stands after the sixth week of Big Ten play (Note: Points per possession numbers in parenthesis are for conference games only):
14. Rutgers (6-18, 0-11, .91 points per possession, 1.24 points per possession allowed) … Rutgers went to triple overtime against Illinois which is almost a win!
13. Minnesota (6-17, 0-11, .94 points per possession, 1.1 points per possession allowed) … The Golden Gophers followed a string of close losses by getting their doors blown off at Northwestern. There simply aren’t many positives for this team right now, other than the fact they don’t have the label of the worst team in the conference thanks to Rutgers.
Indiana suffered its most disappointing loss of the season so far on Saturday night as the Hoosiers fell 68-63 to Penn State at the Bryce Jordan Center. It was just the third Big Ten win this season for Penn State and dropped IU to 19-5 overall and 9-2 in the Big Ten.
Here’s a look at five takeaways from the loss to the Nittany Lions:
· Indiana’s best player struggled, so the Hoosiers struggled: Indiana has one great player on its roster: Yogi Ferrell. There are other good players, guys who are potential pros and other role players who can make an impact on a given night.
But Ferrell is the engine that makes Indiana go. And when he struggles, as he did against Penn State in shooting 3-of-12 and committing five turnovers, Indiana is very beatable. As the chart below shows, Ferrell is scoring 2.1 points less per game in losses and his shooting percentages as well as assists take a dip. This isn’t a revelation, nor is it surprising, but it’s reality for a team that is highly dependent on its best player to perform in order to win.