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Iowa Basketball: Previewing Iowa's Big Ten Tournament First Round Matchup Against Indiana

Iowa plays Indiana for the second time in 17 days on Thursday in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament. Dylan Burn previews the matchup here.

Indiana (17-14, 7-11) at Iowa (18-13, 10-8)

Date & Time: March 9th, 5:30 p.m. CT

Location: Verizon Center (Washington DC)

TV: ESPN2

Quick Notes

- Iowa has been one and done in the Big Ten Tournament in each of the last 3 seasons.

- The Hawkeyes beat the Hoosiers 96-90 in OT in Iowa City back on February 21st.

- Iowa has won four straight games, Indiana has lost 6 of their last 8.

- Iowa's Peter Jok has scored 30+ points five separate times this season which ties Washington's Markelle Fultz for the most among Power 5 players.

- Iowa has posted a 15-17 record in the Big Ten Tournament.

- Iowa won the Big Ten Tournament back in 2001 and 2006.

- When Iowa won the Big Ten Tournament back in 2001 as the 6 seed they became the lowest seeded team to ever win the tournament. 

- Iowa is 2-0 all-time in the Big Ten Tournament vs Indiana.

- The game will feature two of the top 3-point shooters in the conference in Justin Blackmon and Peter Jok.

- Iowa is 3-2 all-time as the 7th seed in the Big Ten Tournament.

- During their four game winning streak Iowa has 4 guys averaging 14 points or more per game.

- Indiana ranks first in the Big Ten and 9th in the nation in rebounding margin. (+7.5)

Iowa Starters 

Jordan Bohannon (FR): Bohannon won Big Ten Freshman of the Week and was named to the All-Big Ten Freshman team on Monday afternoon for the Hawkeyes. He's been about as consistent as they come ever since being inserted into the starting lineup back in late November.

Isaiah Moss (RSFR): Moss continues to be up and down for Iowa. He hasn't played more than 18 minutes in a game since the loss to Minnesota and has lost some minutes to Nicholas Baer and Brady Ellingson. As usual, Moss is a candidate to explode, but he needs time on the court to do so. And he is not getting it right now.

Peter Jok (SR): Pete was named to the All-Big Ten First Team on Monday afternoon after leading the conference in scoring by a full point. He garners a lot of the attention for Iowa on offense, but has let his teammates help him out a ton in the last four games, which is a big reason why Iowa is 4-0 in those games. When Jok is getting help it makes Iowa really dangerous considering how fast Jok can fill it up. He had 11 points in the first 3 minutes of the second half against Penn State on Sunday.

Ahmad Wagner (SO): He's usually good for a garbage bucket or two and a lot of hustle plays on the glass for Iowa. His offensive game isn't flashy, which is why he loses minutes late in games to guys like Cordell Pemsl, but Ahmad is a key piece to this Iowa team.

Tyler Cook (FR): He has found "it" in the last four games. He's notched two double double's in the last four after not recording one all season prior to the Maryland game in College Park. He's more active on defense and the glass and Iowa is benefiting from it. Once Tyler develops a consistent jump shot he'll be and All-Big Ten player. He was already named to the All-Freshman team on Monday afternoon much like Bohannon.

Iowa Bench

Nicholas Baer (RSSO): Baer has arguably been Iowa's second best player this season, especially as of late. He is nailing over 60% of his three pointers and totaled a career high 20 points in the win over Penn State on 7-of-10 shooting. He also hauled in 10 rebounds. If Baer continues his great play it makes the Hawkeyes even more dangerous.

Cordell Pemsl (FR): Cordell has been in double figures in the last two games and managed 14 points and 6 rebounds in the win over Penn State. Iowa really forced it too him on a couple occasions and Pemsl did not disappoint. He's been a really nice piece off of Iowa's bench.

Brady Ellingson (RSSO): Three points and three assists in about 26 minutes for Brady on Sunday as he chipped in nicely. He was superb on the defensive side of the ball per the usual. He's been getting a lot of Moss' minutes lately. 

Dom Uhl (JR): Dom hasn't scored since the loss at Michigan State and hasn't played much either. He's played double digit minutes in just one of the last four games.

Christian Williams (SO): He had a couple points and 6 assists in 14 minutes on Sunday. The 6 assists were a career high for Christian, who has played well over the last month or so. His best game of the season came against Indiana in the first meeting.

Ryan Kriener (FR): He hasn't scored in the last three games and has played only 3 minutes per contest. The other Iowa forwards are playing so well that Ryan hasn't really been needed as the 4th or 5th big.

Indiana Starters

Josh Newkirk (RSJR): Newkirk is an explosive guard that gave the Hawekeyes issues early on in the meeting in Iowa City. He averages 9 points and 3 assists per game this season and had 11 and 4 in Iowa City in February. The IU offense went cold after a scorching hot start and Newkirk was a big reason for that. He had 18 points and 5 assists in IU's season finale.

James Blackmon Jr (JR): He led the Big Ten in 3-point makes this season even while battling an injury for a few weeks. He was another big reason the Hoosiers got off to a hot start against the Hawkeyes in Iowa City, but he went ice cold for a while as the Hawks made their comeback. He had 22 points and 8 rebounds in IU's win over Ohio State on Saturday.

Robert Johnson (JR): Johnson played really well against the Hawkeyes in their first and only meeting. He had 19 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assists and is part of a guard combo for IU that has a lot of talent. Johnson scored 26 against Ohio State over the weekend, so he is coming off a big game. They need all three of their guards to be clicking.

Juwan Morgan (SO): Morgan played just 20 minutes against the Hawkeyes due to foul trouble, but was able to tally 8 points and 3 rebounds before fouling out. He's a long athlete that can create problems for the opposition. He had 11 points over the weekend in IU's win over Ohio State.

Thomas Bryant (SO): Bryant is one of the better bigs in the conference. He averaged 13 points and 7 rebounds this year and had 12 points and 11 rebounds in the loss to Iowa. He can play inside and out, but seems prone to too many mistakes for how talented he is. Hawkeyes need to hold TB in check on Thursday night and maybe try to get him into some early foul trouble. 

Iowa Keys to Victory

Win the Glass

You read above that the Hoosiers are atop the Big Ten in rebounding margin and they also rank in the top 10 in that category in the entire country. Athletic guards and active big men have allowed them to do so. Bryant paces them averaging just under 7 per game, but he is the only one that resides in the top 20 in the Big Ten conference. They do a good job of limiting you to one possession, but on the other end they really come after you on the offensive glass. For the season, the Hawkeyes are giving up around 39 rebounds per game, which is good for 13th out of 14 Big Ten teams. The Hawkeyes have a negative rebounding margin and are going to need to box out and limit the Hoosiers to just one shot. Losing Anunoby hurt the Hoosiers on the glass, but they still have very capable guys on their team. Morgan, Johnson, and Blackmon are the three leading rebounders behind Bryant.

Scoring Early & Often

This game features two of the most potent scoring offenses in the Big Ten and two of the worst scoring defenses as well. A lot of that has to do with the pace both of the teams play at. They like to really get the ball up and down the court and they'll take the first good shot that comes their way, usually. Iowa got off to a slow start in the only meeting between the teams this year, but was able to overcome that. If that were to happen again I don't know how Iowa would react being at a neutral site. Fran McCaffery was able to wake everybody up by yanking all five of his starters and playing 12 guys before the first media timeout, but would that method work again if he was faced with the same situation? The Hawkeyes undoubtedly have the offensive fire power to keep up with Indiana and they need to get it going early while also keeping their foot on the gas pedal. I expect a high scoring affair on Thursday night. 

Defend, Defend, Defend

Defense was a big problem for them in the first matchup, at least it was early on. It seemed like the IU guards were getting into the lane and scoring at will over the first 6 or 7 minutes and Iowa didn't have an answer for them. Christian Williams played a vital role in defending the lightning quick guards and we could see the same thing on Thursday. The offensive prowess is there for Indiana and it isn't leaving them anytime soon. When Blackmon is on he is a top five scorer in this league, so the Hawkeyes need to bring energy on the defensive end early on in the ball game. Don't be surprised if we see a heavy dose of Williams like we did in the first meeting between these two teams (21 minutes).

Predictions

Indiana really jumped out quickly on the Hawkeyes in Iowa City. Their guards really worry me if I'm Iowa because they have three that are really talented, guys that can hit the three, and get to the rim as well. For Iowa, you've got the depth advantage on your side. There were upwards of 50 fouls called in the game in Iowa City and it seemed like nearly every Indiana player was in some sort of foul trouble for a good portion of the second half. I sure hope for the sake of everyone's enjoyment that there aren't that many fouls called again, which would in turn allow Indiana to play a little looser. I think it's close throughout, but Iowa's depth wins out again in this one for me.

Iowa 86 Indiana 81


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