Indiana vs. Iowa Gameday

HoosierNation.com previews the match-up pitting No. 24/21 Indiana (13-7/5-4) and No. 18/19 Iowa (18-6/7-3), which tips off Saturday at 12 p.m. EST at Assembly Hall in Bloomington.

Game Particulars: Indiana vs. Iowa
No. 24/21 (AP/Coaches) Indiana (13-7/5-4) welcomes Big Ten leader No. 18/19 Iowa (18-6/7-3) Saturday at 12 p.m. in another matchup of Big Ten title hopefuls. Indiana is trying to bring an end to a two-week slide that has seen the Hoosiers drop four out of five, including three out of four in the Big Ten. Iowa, meanwhile, is coming off a three-point loss at Northwestern Wednesday in a game that saw the Wildcats overcome a 10-point deficit to stun the Hawkeyes.

IU is coached by Mike Davis, who is in his sixth year as Indiana's head coach and owns a 109-74 career mark, including a 4-6 mark against Iowa. Indiana has been to the postseason in four of Davis' five seasons (three NCAA invitations). Iowa, meanwhile, is coached by former IU All-American Steve Alford, who is in his seventh year as Iowa's head coach and 15th season overall. He's compiled a 128-89 record in Iowa City and a 284-166 mark overall, which includes stints at Manchester (78-48 – 1996-99) and Southwest Missouri State (78-29 – 1992-95). He's been to the NCAA Tournament three times (1999, 2001, 2005) and to the NIT three times (2002, 2003, 2004).

The game will be televised by ESPN, with Dave O'Brien (play-by-play), Rick Majerus (color commentary) and Stacey Dales-Schuman (sideline reporter) calling the match-up.

Indiana 2005-06 Schedule

Iowa 2005-06 Schedule

PROBABLE STARTERS
#24/21 Indiana (13-7/5-4)
PG- Earl Calloway (6-3, 162, Jr.) – 3.9 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 2.0 apg, 1.0 spg, 25% 3 pt. shooting
SG- Marshall Strickland (6-2, 195, Sr.) – 11.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 2.4 apg, 48.7% 3 pt. shooting
WG – Rod Wilmont (6-4, 200, Jr.) 9.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 0.6 apg, 38.4% 3 pt. shooting
PF – Robert Vaden (6-5, 225, So.) – 14.2 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 4.0 apg, 1.4 spg, 45.5% 3 pt. shooting
C - Marco Killingsworth (6-8, 270, Sr.) – 18.2 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 1.9 apg, 0.9 bpg, 57% FG shooting

#18/19Iowa (18-6/7-3)
PG- Jeff Horner (6-3, 185, Sr.) – 12.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 6.3 apg, 33.3% 3 pt. shooting
SG- Mike Henderson (6-2, 190, Jr.) – 7.7 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 2.0 apg, 46.6% FG shooting
SF – Adam Haluska (6-5, 210, Jr.) – 15.0 ppg ,4.8 rpg, 2.5 apg, 36.8% 3 pt. shooting
PF- Greg Brunner (6-7, 245, Sr.) – 13.9 ppg, 10.2 rpg, 1.8 apg, 43.6% FG shooting
C – Erek Hansen (6-11, 210, Sr.) – 6.7 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 2.8 bpg, 57.9% FG shooting

Indiana 2005-06 Statistics

Iowa 2005-06 Statistics

WHAT TO WATCH FOR
What kind of lift will the crowd give the Hoosiers?– It's hard to determine who has been down in the dumps more in recent days – Indiana's players and coaches or the vocal IU fan base. Indiana's recent struggles have the team scratching their heads trying to figure out why they can't manage to win on the road, while the Hoosier fans have grown fidgety about the prospects for a season that once had so much promise. With all of that in mind, Indiana remains very much alive in the Big Ten title hunt when one looks at the standings. Despite its current seventh-place position, IU remains only one game behind the league leaders in the loss column, and is a winning streak away from re-emerging as a contender – as improbable as that might seem.

For all of IU's struggles on the road, Indiana has played extremely well at home, and it has to have a win over the Hawkeyes to remain in the Big Ten title hunt. To do that, IU's players will need a lift from the Assembly Hall crowd. It's no secret that some of IU's players have become more and more disenchanted with the most vocal of the team's hometown critics, and it will be important for the crowd to show the players they're still behind them.

What sort of impact – if any – will Mike Davis' Wisconsin post-game comments have? - One of the themes of Mike Davis' post-Wisconsin game press conference was the fact that Marco Killingsworth isn't getting the benefit of the doubt on the offensive end, and that officials have been quick with their whistle on the defensive end. Davis went as far as to sarcastically suggest that Killingsworth might need to run away from the play whenever the ball gets in his vicinity to avoid getting into foul trouble.

Rest assured that league officials have heard Davis' complaints, and it will be interesting to see what sort of impact they have Saturday. Will Killingsworth be given a few more trips to the free-throw line and a little bit more latitude on the defensive end? Or will Davis' comments backfire and draw even more attention to Killingsworth on the interior? Expect to find out early. Indiana figures to go to Killingsworth early and often against Erek Hansen and Greg Brunner. Killingsworth also likely feels like he has something to prove after getting benched for the majority of the second half of the game in Iowa City due to some defensive lapses.

What sort of start will Robert Vaden get off to? - In the last three games, Robert Vaden is averaging a very impressive 11.3 points in the second half. The problem, though, is Vaden has gone scoreless in the first halves of those contests against Northwestern, Connecticut and Wisconsin. He's a combined 0-for-12 in the first halves of those games, and Indiana can't afford to have him get off to another slow start Saturday. It's imperative that IU get off to a quick start against an Iowa team that desperately wants to avoid getting swept on its two-game road trip this week.

Vaden pumped in 26 points in the first encounter between these two teams, including a school-record eight 3-pointers. With that in mind, Vaden might be able to lure Iowa defenders to the perimeter and then beat them off the dribble for short pull up jumpers or some trips to the free-throw line. One way or another, Indiana has to get Vaden going early if it wants to avoid a season sweep against Steve Alford and the Hawkeyes.

QUOTABLES
"I think me being on the court will open it up a lot. Against Wisconsin, they really packed it in and zoned things up. I'll be able to knock down some shots to stretch things out." – Marshall Strickland, who missed the first meeting with the Hawkeyes.

"It's very important. They just lost to Northwestern, which puts them at 7-3. That gives us a chance to give them another loss on their record and maybe we can be tied for first or second place in the Big Ten. That could be big for us because we are trying to win a Big Ten Championship." – Robert Vaden.

"Greg Brunner is a good player and has been playing well all season. He is averaging a double-double which is great numbers. Adam Haluska has always played well against us and can hit open shots. Jeff Horner is a very good player. The have an experienced team so playing on the road will not bother them. They beat us here last time we played, so they will have the confidence coming in here knowing they could win at Assembly Hall." – IU Coach Mike Davis.

"Marshall is playing his best basketball the last two games. He has been really good for us and hit for double figures in both games. He will help from an offensive standpoint and it will be good to have him on the floor because of his leadership." – IU Coach Mike Davis.

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