College Basketball Pick
This was set to be a battle for first place in the Big Ten, but Indiana looked ahead a bit on Saturday, losing at Penn State. Nevertheless, the Hoosiers are still looking for a win over a top team, and this would be it. Iowa has mostly cruised through Conference play, with its only loss coming on the road against Maryland, which isn’t all too bad.
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Having already swept Michigan State and Purdue, the Hawkeyes have the inside track to the regular season Big Ten title and if they can win at Assembly Hall, not many other Games will stop them. It’s a different story for the Hoosiers as they have lost two of their last three Games on the road, to Wisconsin and Penn State. However, they also travel to Michigan State next and then still host Purdue and Maryland later in the year. The season is far from over for the Hoosiers.
The main thing in this Game is that Indiana hasn’t lost at home yet in Conference play and that could end up being the difference. Then again, these are the teams they have beaten in Bloomington: Wisconsin, Ohio State, Illinois, Northwestern, Minnesota. Two of those Games (Wisconsin, NW) were closer than they should have been. Iowa is at a much higher level than any of those teams and already have the experience of winning at Michigan State and Purdue, in addition to taking Maryland to the brink. They won’t be fazed at all by the atmosphere.
The talk before this Game will be about Yogi Ferrell and Jarrod Uthoff, but it’s about much more for these teams. The Hoosiers lost at Penn State over the weekend because they didn’t get enough production from guys outside of Ferrell. The bench did well, scoring 23 points, but the starters finished just 3-of-15 from long range. Thomas Bryant and Troy Williams were mostly ineffective and only played a combined 44 minutes. Obviously, that can’t happen against a team like Iowa.
The issue is that Indiana just had a problem guarding Brandon Taylor, a similar play to Uthoff. Both are bigger guys that have a wide skill range and the Hoosiers had no answer for Taylor last Game. That’s been the case all season for Uthoff as he’s averaging 18.4 points per Game, but also 3.0 blocks. He does it all while also being a lethal shooter from the outside.
Uthoff will likely be matched up with Williams, while the Hawkeyes also have the bigs to deal with Bryant down low. The question will be what Iowa can do against Yogi Ferrell. It’s likely they’ll stick Anthony Clemmons on him, which should be a fun matchup. The problem for Indiana is that they also have to defend Mike Gesell and Peter Jok. The Hoosiers have played better defense in the Big Ten, but this is probably the most complete team they’ve seen in a while.
Indiana can be lethal on the offensive end, but it’s hard to argue that they have a better offense than Iowa’s. The Hawkeyes have more ways to score, while the Hoosiers rely slightly more on outside shooting.
Assembly Hall will be rocking and Indiana will need to ride that because with the way Iowa is playing, there aren’t many areas that the Hoosiers have the edge in.
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