What to Expect: Iowa

  • 03/02/2015 2:09 pm in

Indiana returns to Assembly Hall on Tuesday evening following a split of a two-game roadtrip that included a win at Rutgers and a loss at Northwestern. The Hoosiers will host Iowa, which is 19-10 overall and 10-6 in Big Ten play.

The game will be broadcast on ESPN at 7 p.m. with Mike Tirico and Dan Dakich on the call:

Wednesday’s loss at Northwestern was costly for Indiana. It was the sixth for the Hoosiers in their last 10 contests and also the first damaging loss in terms of the RPI. The Wildcats are outside of the top 100 in those ratings, which are used by the NCAA tournament selection committee.

But all is not lost for Indiana even as it slides closer to the tournament bubble. There’s a chance to right the ship this week as Iowa and Michigan State come to Assembly Hall. A win on Tuesday will go a long way in solidifying Indiana’s footing for the tournament as the Hawkeyes are in the RPI top 50 and it would also be IU’s tenth league win and 20th win overall.

Indiana isn’t unblemished at home this season, but the Hoosiers have been tough to beat on Branch McCracken Court with a 15-2 mark and the losses coming by a combined six points. The final week of the regular season is here, Selection Sunday is less than two weeks away and the spotlight is shining bright on Assembly Hall.

MEET THE HAWKEYES (All stats are for conference games only)

Iowa is one of the toughest teams in the Big Ten to figure out. The Hawkeyes own a road win over North Carolina and swept their season series with Ohio State. But this is also a team that has some head-scratching losses. Before its current four-game winning streak, Iowa lost to Minnesota at home and at Northwestern. It also lost a non-conference games to Texas and Syracuse early and got crushed at home by Iowa State. This is one of the Big Ten’s most talented rosters, but for whatever reason, the consistency has never emerged completely.

McCaffery is playing a nine-man rotation in Big Ten play with four guards, three wings and two post players. The backcourt is anchored by point guard Mike Gesell, who is fourth in league games in assist rate, but has struggled from the foul line (57.1 percent) and from behind the 3-point arc (22.7 percent). Gesell is very good at pushing the ball and helping Iowa excel in transition, although he is a bit more turnover prone (22.5 percent) than a primary ball handler should be. His backup, senior Anthony Clemmons, is more physical but not as good of a distributor (22.5 percent assist rate).

Sophomore Peter Jok is the starter at the 2, but is playing similar minutes to junior Josh Oglesby. Jok is hitting 38.5 percent of his 3s in Big Ten play, but just 42.9 percent of his 2s. Oglesby has been a low usage player in conference play, but is capable of knocking in the occasional 3. He’s 13 of 33 from distance in 16 league games.

Iowa’s size and versatility on the wing could give Indiana some problems. The Hawkeyes have 6-foot-9 senior Aaron White, a strong candidate for All-Big Ten first team honors, as well as 6-foot-9 junior Jarrod Uthoff.

White is using 22.5 percent of Iowa’s possessions in Big Ten play with a 127.6 offensive rating. He’s making 54.3 percent of his 2s and 34.6 percent of his 3s. He’s also setting the league pace in free throw rate at a ridiculous 80.3 percent clip with 6.1 fouls drawn per 40 minutes. White is also ranked in the top 10 in the league in defensive rebounding and top 20 in offensive rebounding. Keeping White off the free throw line is a major key for Indiana. Here’s a look at his Big Ten shot chart, per Shot Analytics:


Uthoff, meanwhile, is not as efficient on 2s (46 percent), but has a team-high 29 3s in conference play. He’s hitting 40.3 percent from distance, which leads the team. Uthoff is making 42 percent of his 3s from the left wing and 60 percent of his 3s from the right corner. He’s also very efficient in the midrange game from both the left and right elbow areas:


Dom Uhl, a 6-foot-8 freshman, is also playing a limited role, but has really struggled offensively. He’s making just 34.8 percent of his 2s and 27.3 percent of his 3s in Big Ten games.

Iowa’s frontcourt is anchored by the 7-foot-1 junior Adam Woodbury and 6-foot-10 senior Gabriel Olaseni. Woodbury has been discussed frequently this season for his on the court antics, which include holding the opposition’s arm during jump balls and also multiple eye poking incidents. The arm grab has happened in at least six Iowa games this season, according to research done by Luke Winn of Sports Illustrated. Example below from Iowa-Ohio State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena:


When he’s not grabbing arms or poking eyes, Woodbury is the Big Ten’s sixth best offensive rebounder and is making 49.3 percent of his 2s.

Olaseni is more athletic, but like Woodbury, is very foul prone (5.6 per 40 minutes). He’s the best offensive rebounder in the conference from a percentage standpoint, is drawing 6.7 fouls per 40 minutes and is 11th in block percentage. He’s got the highest usage of any Iowa player in league play and could be very tough for IU’s undersized frontline to contain.



Two areas loom large for Indiana in this one: hitting the defensive glass and keeping Iowa off the free throw line. The Hawkeyes are second in the conference in both offensive rebounding percentage and free throw rate.

In Indiana’s home loss to Purdue, the Hoosiers allowed the Boilermakers to rebound 50 percent of their misses and post a free throw rate (FTA/FGA) of 40.4. If Iowa posts similar numbers, it’ll be incredibly difficult for Indiana to win.

The Hoosiers, of course, need to put up more resistance defensively, but pushing the pace and scoring in transition before Iowa sets its defense will be a major key to finding success offensively. Iowa is a below average defensive team in league play, but Indiana will need a well rounded offensive performance that includes offensive rebounding, perimeter shooting and getting to the foul line to prevail.


The Pomeroy projection is Indiana by one, with a 55 percent chance of a Hoosier victory. Sagarin isn’t much different as his model favors Indiana by 1.5 when adjusted for home court advantage. The Vegas line opened with Indiana as one-point favorite and quickly moved to two.

With both teams fighting for NCAA tournament bids and position for next week’s Big Ten tournament in Chicago, the stakes couldn’t be much higher. This is a contest that holds importance for both teams as neither is a lock for the tournament and the team who emerges victorious will exit with a much clearer path to locking up a bid.

Indiana has won four of its last five over Iowa dating back to the 2011-2012 season, including a 93-86 win last season at Assembly Hall. The Hawkeyes, however, hold a decided advantage on the interior and Indiana must find a way to not let the game get out of hand in the paint. Getting a lively crowd packed into the building and getting it involved and engaged with strong play, something that didn’t happen in the Purdue game, is something else Indiana must look to do. March is here and if Indiana is to claim a return trip to the Madness, a win Tuesday is an important step.

(Photo credit: Lance King/Getty Images North America)

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  • Hoosier Hall

    “When he’s not grabbing arms or poking eyes…” LMAO! Outstanding journalism. I hope we have several fans with safety glasses on for the game. I say we put Jordan Fuchs in to rough him up a bit.

  • dwdkc

    IU is due for another strong performance based on the recent pattern (Minnesota good, Purdue bad, Rutgers good, NW bad) and also the fact that Iowa doesn’t defend much suggests that IU will get hot and get the crowd roaring. I expect a lot of scoring like last year and a similar final result.

  • Kyl470

    It doesn’t matter if you are a Crean supporter or a Crean hater because I think we can all agree that CTC is coaching for his job this March. If the team comes together and can win this game and the MSU game then they will probably easily make the tournament. If they lose both then they are going to be on the outside looking in.

  • I won’t be watching this game. I need to be productive over the next few days and win or lose this game is going to drain my energy. I can tell. Hold on tight because both of these teams need this win.

  • Guyton25

    Iowa doesn’t have much of a weak point and does the intangibles better than most. They’re a good FT shooting team, they don’t turn the ball over much, they get offense boards, they play good D, they don’t have much trouble scoring, and they have size. The only way we beat a team like this is if we do what we do well. We need our shots to fall and we need to focus on battling for boards.

  • Gregory Spera

    Unfortunately, as you noted, just two games left and we still have no idea “What to Expect: Indiana.”

  • Hoosier Hall

    I think they are in if they win either of these 2 games. They drop both and they’re definitely out barring a big run in the conference tourney. If we win both, we should play back into a 7 seed instead of 8,9 or 10. Personally, I like the 10 seed better than the 8 or 9.

  • John D Murphy

    I dvr, check the score after the game, and then watch at my leisure.

  • Ole Man

    What crowd? As noted, it seems the students can’t be bothered.

  • eville87

    I wish I felt better about this one. If the same team shows up for this one that was at Northwestern . I think we’re outside looking in. Crean drives me crazy with the subs no press and changing defense mid play… it takes alot of alcohol to watch this crap. Iowa is actually pretty good and I expect us to get killed down low and we will be out coached with Stan and yogi on White and Uthoff. Smh…

  • eville87

    Did anybody hear Trey Demps is getting drafted in the lottery this year?

  • calbert40

    What to Expect: Iowa
    Who knows? Iowa is similar to IU. They can beat anyone in the league on any given night, but they can lay an egg and lose to NW. Iowa is actually a very scary team for me due to this. I think IU will find a way to win this game, but Iowa could blister us for 95 points…but we could score 96 against them. I expect a track meet.

  • calbert40

    I agree. I think IU needs just one win to get in. Their resume is
    strong, but they are limping in currently. Our next two opponents will
    look good on our resume, if we win.

    So far as seeding goes, there is a potential to be a big mess for the #4 seed. If IU wins their last two, Iowa loses to IU and beats NW, MSU beat PU and loses to IU, and OSU wins at PSU and loses to UW…all of those teams would finish 11-7 and tied for 4th.

    I believe I read that the TB for multiple teams is record against the #1 seed, #2 seed and so on. If that is true, all of those teams lost to UW, but Iowa and OSU both beat MD in the only game they played them (at home for each) whereas we split. If that scenario happens, I *believe* that we would earn the #6 or #7 seed despite tying for 4th.

    However, I could be completely wrong about that.

  • BT

    Losing to NW couldn’t have come at a worse spot in the schedule with our weekend “bye” so to speak. The added time off between games seems to have created all sorts of nervousness within the fan base, and hopefully didn’t let any seeds of doubt grow within the locker room. We’ll see what kind of leadership this team has tomorrow night in what has to be a must-win situation.

  • INUnivHoosier

    The NW loss added to pre-existing apprehension, IMO. I don’t believe it created anything.

  • disqus_Y0IHORLcBP

    Seems to me that this is the must win game. I think Izzo has solved this IU team and will pick us a part. We might get hot and shoot our way through them, but I sure don’t want to rely on that to make the tournament. I think we are playing for the season tomorrow and Crean is coaching for his job. I’m rooting for us, but I won’t be sad if losing this means we get a new coach next year.

  • SCHoosier

    Iowa if they are on can score at will against our guys..so a score in the 90’s is possible..but the Hoosiers have to shoot 50% plus from 3 for the game to get the “W”.

  • SCHoosier

    I do the same thing. Our guys play bad and I can at least get to sleep that night):..

  • Bill

    Hey. mr obvious is on vacation. His secretary called, said we need to win tomorrow or we will be in the first 4 out. 10 th seed as of today. Eeek!

  • hoosier93

    Does he not know how to do the jump ball? You’d think the NCAA or B1G would say something after 6 times.

  • dssnyder1

    CTC is signed thru 2020, it would cost the university MILLIONS to get rid of him anytime in the near future. You can do what you want with that info

  • disqus_Y0IHORLcBP

    I was under the impression that the money was on the table last year but Glass wouldn’t pull the trigger. I would have to figure the money is doable if the motivation is strong enough.

  • INUnivHoosier

    Well, it is cold outside and everything…

  • Zach

    Crimson Guard is passing out pirate eye patches so it should be a good time 😀

  • Dunbar

    Yet they somehow have the same record we do. They’re not exactly world-beaters.

  • Dunbar

    12. Million. Dollar. Buyout.

    You have no idea what you’re talking about.

  • KmanCRK

    What to expect? I’d say Fran doing a lot of crying and screaming.

  • KmanCRK

    just win baby. winning takes care of everything.

  • KmanCRK

    I agree, they are tough. I really thought early in the year they were a lock to be a top 4 team in the league. They’ve definitely stumbled at times, but I do think this matchup presents problems for us. I hope we are on fire.

  • KmanCRK

    Lot of big money donors hate nothing more than to watch their team struggle. if you think $12M is insurmountable, check the alumni records.

    I doubt it happens, but I wouldn’t be so quick to believe there is NO Chance if we miss the tourney.

  • SeeingRed

    Hoosiers’ best chance is to get all over the Hawkeyes early by hitting 3’s, demoralize them, inspire the home crowd, ride the wave. If bad Iowa shows up and they get down, they have shown a propensity to roll over. If good Iowa decides to actually appear, they present some serious matchup problems that IU has no answers for. Unfortunately, I expect the Hawkeyes to play like they care tomorrow night.

  • eville87

    I’ve said this before… no Cuban no Mellencamp just each indiana fan donating 25 dollars.

  • TomJameson

    Hahahaha … I do that too! I do it for my health, my marriage, and because I don’t want to kill my 62″ flat screen. LOL

  • TomJameson

    Absolutely a track meet! Echoing a couple of other posts … Both teams are probably going to play like they REALLY NEED this game! I think the urgency is going to be high for both teams.

  • Hoosierkamp

    great point. no chance. I think next year is a great team… not getting ahead of things. but he gets next year as well, and after that, they need to cut ties if he doesnt make elite 8

  • OhioHoosier

    Today, the school sent out reminders to all ticket holders (students) that they had tickets. We will see if it helps!

  • Sherronhasaheadache

    We control our own destiny and we are about to find out what that is!!live long and prosper!!

  • Hoosier gal in Iowa

    For more than one reason (see username), I really want this win tonight. I would be super sad to have to call in sick to work tomorrow. 🙂

  • dwdkc

    If IU gets it going, they will get going. When they get into an ugly wrestling match, like Purdue, then you are right they don’t provide the lift they should. But I don’t think Iowa will take them out of the game in the same way.

  • AbdunNabee

    Woodbury is a coming with all barrels a loaded. Give him your best shot fella, because you will need more than one to over power him. Jordan needs to be a little bigger or he just might be sucking on a straw for the next few weeks.

  • AbdunNabee

    Weak individuals always call for others to do their dirty work.

  • Alan

    Colin Hartman looks to be more valuable than previously thought. He can knock down 3’s and we are able to stretch the floor better on offense when he is out there rather than HMP because defenses must respect his abilities to shoot the 3 ball.