College Basketball Pick
And just like that, Indiana has a two-Game lead in the Big Ten standings. The Hoosiers weren’t projected to win the Conference this year, much less be leading every team by two Games this last in the year. But the season is far from over, as they still have to travel to Iowa and host Maryland this week. Fortunately for Indiana, both of those teams have fallen apart, Iowa losing three straight and Maryland falling in three of its last Four.
However, all Big Ten Schedules aren’t created equal and that’s why Indiana isn’t regarded as a top team. The Hoosiers have played one of the easier Schedules in the Conference and when faced with a winning team on the road, they have faltered. All three of their Conference losses have come on the road, Wisconsin, Penn State and Michigan State. Their best and only road win against a team with a winning Conference record was at Michigan.
Sure, Iowa is struggling, but Indiana plays a different brand of basketball on the road. A much lesser brand. The Hawkeyes haven’t looked like their early season selves in a while, either losing on the road, or barely scraping by Minnesota at home (75-71 win). Something hasn’t been right with this team for a few weeks and they’ll need to figure it out for this Game. When star players struggle, Iowa doesn’t have enough to get by the weaker teams and that’s been seen as of late.
The first time these teams met, Indiana took the lead with about eight minutes to go and never looked back. The Hoosiers won 85-78 via a balanced attack with five different players reaching double figures. The Hawkeyes also reached that feat, but they also got zero production off the bench, which ended up being the ultimate decider. Indiana won the bench scoring battle 28-0, a significant stat.
Surprisingly, Yogi Ferrell went 2-of-12 from the field in that Game, yet Indiana still won. That may change this time around, but Iowa’s Anthony Clemmons is a great defender and his effectiveness on Ferrell’s poor shooting can’t be overlooked.
Indiana’s offense tends to be at a lower level on the road and that may be what Iowa is hoping for. Otherwise, the Hawkeyes simply haven’t been playing well enough to top an offense like Indiana’s. The Hoosiers average almost 83 points per Game, while Iowa has failed to surpass 75 points since that loss at Indiana (Four Games). Jarrod Uthoff and Peter Jok are great offensive players and both need to be on their Game to overcome what Indiana does. Those two went for 36 points combined in the first Game and it wasn’t enough.
The Hawkeyes are in major need of a win and it doesn’t help that they’ll be on short rest for this Game, having lost at Ohio State on Sunday. If anything, they’ll need to ride their home crowd more than ever to take down an Indiana team hoping to lock up the Big Ten regular season for themselves. And as a reminder, this will be the final home Game for Four of Iowa’s starters, so that has to be taken into consideration when betting this one.
Predicted Score- Iowa 84 Indiana 77