Preview: Iowa at Indiana - Crean Looks to Save Season

Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Can Iowa keep pace with Michigan and MSU?

By The Numbers:
Iowa Team Indiana
19-6 Record 14-11
#15 Ranking NR
28 RPI 101
8 BPI 69
8 Kenpom 75
8 Sagarin 68

February 18, 2014 - Assembly Hall, Bloomington, IN

9:00PM ET ESPN

Skinny:

This is the one and only matchup between Iowa and Indiana this season. The Hawkeyes are just 1.5 games out of 1st place in the Big Ten while the Hoosiers are just 1.5 games out of last place. Both seasons started with a lot of hope, but while Iowa has flourished, the Hoosiers have struggled.

For Indiana, this is the chance to add a bright note on an otherwise bad season and add a big win that can help sure up an NIT bid after the season. Iowa needs this win not only to help keep it in the championship hunt, but also to help the team's seeding in March for both the Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments.

Projected Starting Lineups:
Iowa
Pos. Indiana
Roy Devyn Marble G Yogi Ferrell
Mike Gesell G Stanford Robinson
Aaron White G Will Sheehey
Melsahn Basabe F Troy Williams
Adam Woodbury C

Noah Vonleh


Iowa Players to Watch:
Roy Devyn Marble - Marble has been one of the hottest players in the Big Ten this season and is coming off a 15 point performance against Penn State. He had a monster game against Michigan before that.

Melsahn Basabe - One of the most improved players on Iowa's roster is Basabe, who has been putting up some massive numbers this year. He now leads Iowa with 6.6 rebounds per game.

Indiana Players to Watch:

Yogi Ferrell: One of the players that looks like he can make a push for 1st team All-Big Ten has been Ferrell. Indiana may be struggling, but Ferrell is still playing great. He is easily Indiana's best player right now and also the team's best outside shooter.

Noah Vonleh: Vonleh still appears to be leading the Big Ten Freshman of the Year race at this point and is Indiana's best rebounder and playmaker upfront. He already has 10 double-doubles this season.

What This Game Means for the Hawkeyes by Chris Kay:

Iowa comes into this game realizing they have a shot at the B1G championship. This extra boost of motivation should help when playing at a tough place like Indiana. To win, Iowa will need to remain consistent with their performances and keep Yogi Ferrell from beating them. Stopping Noah Vonleh will be tough, but they have the big men to slow him down. Vonleh will be matched up with Woodbury, Basabe, or Olaseni all night. The length those three possess should slow him down especially since Fran keeps them (too) fresh. Ferrell will be the quickest player on the court against Iowa, but I'm not sure that Mike Gessell won't be able to stop him. He's done a solid job on guards like Derrick Walton Jr. and Keith Appling. Offensively, the Hawkeyes should just stick to what they do best. If they continue to run and keep the tempo up then it'll be the game they want to play and not Indiana. Against Penn State, the first two baskets were scored within eight seconds of grabbing the tip and rebound. This kind of quick passing and running is going to fare well for them against almost anyone they play and it all starts with Mike Gessell. His decision making has been great in the last two games with 15 assists and just three turnovers.

What This Game Means for the Hoosiers by Thomas Beindit:

This is a difficult game to gauge from the IU perspective. For the last few weeks, it has seemed like every Indiana game has been labeled as the team's "last stand" to make the NCAA Tournament. Well, after dropping back-to-back games to Penn State and Purdue, in all reality, the run is over. Unless IU can do something major in the Big Ten Tournament, the only postseason that should be in mind is the NIT. With that in mind, this game is still important. Winning at home is always big, but Indiana still needs some wins to secure an NIT bid and also could use the win to help the team move up a spot or two in the Big Ten standings before the Big Ten Tournament. Maybe with a better seed a run in the BTT would not be that crazy. The interesting thing is going to be how IU chooses to attack Iowa offensively. The Hoosier defense has been alright this year, but the team is thin upfront and lacks true shooters. Iowa is likely going to target Ferrell, so they will have to work hard to get other things opened up.

Prediction:

CK: Iowa 76, Indiana 69

TB: Iowa 68, Indiana 61

This almost feels like a game that Indiana will randomly compete in, but considering the team's poor performances recently, Iowa needs to be favored here. They are one of the deepest teams in the conference and simply are better than Indiana. The Hoosiers will make it competitive, but lost late.

UPDATE: The game has been postponed due to a structural issue at Assembly Hall.  Read here for more details.

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