Indiana vs. Iowa Gameday

It promises to be a bumpy ride for the Hoosiers during Big Ten play, which opens at 4:30 p.m. today at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City. Indiana will be playing against an Iowa team that ranks among the nation's leaders in 3-pointers made this season, but it's also a team that has been missing its leading scorer for most of the last five games…

Game Particulars: Indiana (5-7/0-0) vs. Iowa (10-4/0-1)
The tests are about to get even tougher for Tom Crean's basketball team, which gets its Big Ten slate underway at 4:30 p.m. today at Carver Hawkeye Arena against the Hawkeyes. While both teams were tabbed to finish in the bottom third of the league, Iowa enjoyed a solid 10-3 non-conference mark, including wins over Kansas State and Iowa State. It dropped its Big Ten opener earlier this week at Ohio State, falling by three, 68-65. Indiana won both of the contests a year ago, but Iowa has won five out of eight overall in the series.

IU is coached by Tom Crean, who is in his first year as Indiana's head coach and 10th year overall. Crean owns a 195-103 career mark and led Marquette to the NCAA Tournament five times. Iowa, meanwhile, is coached by former Butler Todd Lickliter, who is in his 2nd year with the Hawkeyes and eighth year overall. Lickliter owns a 23-23 mark at Iowa and a 154-84 mark overall.

The game will be televised by the Big Ten Network with Mark Neely (play-by-play) and Trent Tucker (color commentary) calling the match-up.

Indiana 2008-09 Schedule

Iowa 2008-09 Schedule

PROBABLE STARTERS
Indiana (5-7/0-0)
PG- Verdell Jones (6-5, 176, Fr.) – 7.8 ppg, 1.7 rpg, 2.2 apg, 43.9% FG shooting
SG- Devan Dumes (6-2, 188, Jr.) – 13.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.7 apg, 30.8% 3 pt. shooting
WG - Nick Williams (6-4, 211, Fr.) – 7.9 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.0 spg, 17.4% 3 pt. shooting
F – Kyle Taber (6-8, 220, Sr.) – 4.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 1.0 spg, 51.2% FG shooting
PF – Tom Pritchard (6-9, 242, Fr.) – 12.9 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 1.1 bpg, 57% FG shooting

Iowa (10-4/0-1 Big Ten)
PG- Jeff Peterson (6-0, 192, So.) – 9.6 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 3.9 apg, 43.5% 3 pt. shooting
SG – Matt Gatens (6-5, 215, Fr.) – 11.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.7 apg, 53.2% 3 pt. shooting
WG – Jake Kelly (6-6, 185, So.) – 9.6 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 1.3 spg, 34.8% 3 pt. shooting
SF – Jermain Davis (6-4, 200, Jr.) – 5.9 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 2.0 apg, 30.3% 3 pt. shooting
C – Cyrus Tate (6-8, 255, Sr.) – 6.7 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 64.3% FG shooting

Indiana 2008-09 Statistics

Iowa 2008-09 Statistics

WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Will Anthony Tucker start, and how much will he play? – The Hawkeyes' leading scorer at 11.8 points/game, 6'4" freshman guard Anthony Tucker has been sparingly in the last several games. Lickliter suspended Tucker for two games due to an alcohol-related incident in December, but he's played sparingly in the three games since that suspension concluded. In the first game following the benching Tucker scored 12 points in 19 minutes against Drake, but he then sat out the Western Illinois game and played only one minute against Ohio State. Lickliter has shed very little light on Tucker's situation, which makes it unclear whether he'll play 30 minutes today or none at all. When he's on the floor Tucker is an excellent 3-point shooter, making 35-of-80 on the season. He's made at least four 3-pointers in six of the 11 games he's played in, including seven against the Citadel.

How will Crean divvy up the minutes among his point guards? - It came as a surprise to many when Verdell Jones started the second half of the Northeastern game after a tough first half, and then was given the starting nod again over Daniel Moore against Lipscomb. Jones did respond with 13 points in the loss to Lipscomb, but he's committed 11 turnovers in the last three games compared to only five assists. After playing 33.3 minutes/game during Jones' three-game absence due to injury, Moore's time has dipped to 25.0 minutes/game in the last three, including only 18 against Lipscomb. But Moore has a solid 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio (14-7) during that three-game run. IU's offense has generally appeared to run more smoothly with Moore at the point, but Jones is good in transition and gives the Hoosiers some much needed length on the perimeter. That length will be important against an Iowa team that has a slew of capable 3-point shooters.

Which IU players will continue to progress through the Big Ten season, and who will regress? - As Indiana embarks on what promises to be a pretty painful journey through the Big Ten slate, the Hoosier players are playing as much for next year as they are this season. Indiana is bringing in (at least) six players in the '09 class, most of whom figure to be contributors from day one. Crean will also have transfer Jeremiah Rivers available as well, meaning many of the players who are playing significant minutes this season will find playing time much less plentiful next season. With that in mind, it will interesting to watch how things unfold over the next 2 ½ months to see who puts themselves in a position to be a key to next season's success as well. Tom Pritchard is a safe bet to still be a primary contributor, but players such as Verdell Jones, Malik Story, Matt Roth and even Nick Williams need to make strides throughout the upcoming months. The Hoosiers don't figure to have much hope for a great deal of success in terms of wins and losses in conference play, but there's still plenty on the line as far as future playing time for many of the young players.

QUOTABLES
"Iowa does so many things differently than they did last year when it comes to their execution, when it comes to the way they play. I thought they got a lot out of their team last year, but now it's almost like a completely different look. Their drive and kick game is outstanding." – Tom Crean

"It happened at the beginning of the season – they said we weren't going to be anything. It's something you have to take and build on it. The only thing we're thinking about right now is Iowa. Whatever happened in the past is over – good, bad or indifferent. We're just working on our first Big Ten game and trying to be big, strong and physical." – Tom Pritchard

"As a coach you want every game to be the biggest game of the year, but when you get into league play there is something a little different." – Crean

"We're all new to it, but Jeremiah (Rivers) is helping us out with (the intensity of conference games) everyday by him playing in the Big East for two years and seeing that level of competition every day. Coach has been banging it into our heads and how tough it's going to play in the Big Ten." – Nick Williams

"It's tough when you lose a game, it's tough when you lose at home. As bad as that is, nothing is going to compare to what it was like to get here in April and May and June and deal with this. When you get hired on April 1, you know there are some issues at Indiana. I'll never forget watching Dan Dakich's press conference after the Arkansas game and you're sitting there thinking, ‘what is he really saying?' If you're on the outside you have no idea. You get on the inside it doesn't take long to figure it out. I read that loud and clear. He didn't spell it out, but he laid it out there for people. You get inside of this, you understand what he's talking about. Those were the hard days." – Crean

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