Upon Further Review - Iowa

HoosierNation.com takes a look back at Indiana's 81-75 loss at Iowa. We name the Hoosiers' MVP of the game; look at what the implications are of this loss; what were some of the most concerning and surprising things to come out of the game; and hear what the players and coaches had to say afterwards...

Hoosier MVP - Rod Wilmont. Wilmont connected on four 3-pointers in the first 8:05 of the game to give Indiana a 19-12 lead, and then scored 12 points in the game's final 14 minutes to keep IU within striking distance right down to the game's final minute. Since the first of the year, Wilmont has been at his best on the road, averaging 16.4 points/game in those five contests, including three 20-plus point efforts. His 24-point effort on Saturday, meanwhile, came while also being saddled with a very difficult defensive assignment against 6-7, 210-pound Iowa forward Tyler Smith. Wilmont did take a contested 3-pointer with 10 seconds left when IU could have potentially gone for a quick two and then tried for a steal of commit a foul, but Wilmont hit a plethora of big shots Saturday that kept Indiana in the game, despite the beating they took on the boards.

Biggest Surprise… D.J. White was completely neutralized. The Hoosiers' big man scored 23 and had 12 rebounds in the first encounter, but was limited to six points, four shots and three rebounds in 26 minutes before fouling out Saturday. Iowa made life difficult for him by constantly bringing double teams when he touched the ball, but this isn't the first time White has seen that thrown at him. White wasn't quick to make a move on the offensive end when he got the ball, which gave the double team plenty of time to arrive. He dribbled into the corner on a couple of occasions which compounded his problems and led to turnovers and fastbreak opportunities for the Hawkeyes. When White struggles the Hoosiers become completely perimeter-oriented, and that's not a recipe for success, particularly on the road.

What I Found Most Impressive… One of the most enigmatic players in recent Hoosier history is finally developing some consistency. A.J. Ratliff has appeared on the brink of doing special things in an IU uniform for the last couple of years, but his first 2 ½ seasons were more about inconsistency than anything else. That appears to have changed. Ratliff scored 15 points Saturday, and he's averaging 10.8 points/game since returning to the court from his wrist injury eight games ago. He's tops in the Big Ten in conference games with a 57 percent accuracy rate from behind the 3-point arc, and he's blending his unquestioned athleticism with the sort of confidence and passion that wasn't nearly as obvious in past seasons. He gives Sampson a known commodity off the bench, someone who can be counted on for 20-25 minutes and double-digit points just about every time out.

What I Found Most Concerning… Afterwards, it was clear what Kelvin Sampson thought the difference was in the game – rebounding. Iowa out-rebounded Indiana 42-25, including a 15-6 edge on the offensive glass. To the Hoosier coach, the 33 points by Haluska and the inability of D.J. White to be a factor offensively due to Iowa's double teams were just sidebars to his team's inability or unwillingness to compete on the offensive and defensive backboards. But Indiana's struggles in that were apparent early, and IU had no remedies – whether through personnel changes or by approach – throughout. Iowa was out-rebounding IU 8-4 by the second media timeout. By the third media timeout the edge was 14-6 and by halftime it was 23-10. It was the most obvious and glaring problem for Indiana throughout, and the Hoosiers could do nothing to change the tide.

Turning Point: IU's biggest problems Saturday were containing Adam Haluska and competing on the boards, and each were apparent during a critical stretch. With Iowa leading 56-54, Haluska hit a 3 to extend the lead to five with 7:00 remaining. After an Armon Bassett turnover Iowa's Mike Henderson missed on the other end, but Haluska came up with one of Iowa's 15 offensive rebounds and fed Cyrus Tate, who scored and was fouled by Mike White. Tate missed the free throw, but the spurt had Iowa up seven and the Hoosiers were fighting an uphill battle the rest of the way.

Game Implications: For all intents and purposes, the Hoosiers are out of the Big Ten regular season title chase. Indiana had taken a giant step forward in that quest with Wednesday's win over Wisconsin, but the loss at Iowa dropped IU two games behind both Wisconsin and Ohio State. When one considers the fact Ohio State has already won at Illinois and Michigan State this season and Wisconsin has won at Illinois and Iowa, it's a stretch to think either team is going to come back to the Hoosiers or the rest of the Big Ten pack.

Quotable: "The first half we didn't shoo the ball very well, they did, and the rebounding kept us in it." – Adam Haluska

"I think we just wanted it more. We do a lot of rebounding drills in practice, and if we don't get the rebound, we have to run. We don't like doing that." – Tyler Smith.

"We had to go trap him when he got the ball, the nearest guy to him. We did a pretty good job of that." – Tyler Smith

"They just doubled him, trapped him. I just didn't think we were very aggressive in our double teams. That's not the first time we've been double teamed this year. We were in that double team about like we were on the boards- just kind of non-aggressive." – Kelvin Sampson

"All these sidebars, it comes down to competing on the boards. Iowa beat us on the boards. That story was more important than any other thought you may have. The team that's more aggressive in that area usually wins the game. It's not about the double-team on D.J>. It's not about what they did. It's about being aggressive on the boards." – IU Coach Kelvin Sampson.

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