There's only one game tonight in the Big Ten, but it should be a good one. No. 4 Iowa travels to Bloomington to take on Indiana in a game that will have huge implications for the Hoosiers. Here's a look at the matchup.
Game of the Night: Iowa Hawkeyes at Indiana Hoosiers (9:00 p.m. ET | ESPN)
Things are looking pretty good for Iowa right now. The Hawkeyes are 10-1 in the Big Ten so far this year and don't have any more ranked opponents on their schedule the rest of the regular season. With their next four games after Thursday's contest coming against Minnesota, Penn State, Wisconsin and Ohio State, the Hawkeyes wouldn't be crushed by a loss tonight. Still, you can be sure they want to keep their three-game win streak going.
Indiana, on the other hand, is in a little more dire of a situation. The Hoosiers are still 19-5 overall, but are coming off a brutal loss to Penn State and are just 2-2 in their last four games. With their last six games including contests against Michigan State, Purdue, Maryland and a rematch against Iowa, the Hoosiers need to prove they can beat the top teams in the Big Ten.
So who's got the upper hand tonight? The Hoosiers have struggled defensively for much of this season and now must find a way to slow down Iowa's deep and balanced attack. The key for Indiana will be slowing down Jarrod Uthoff (18.4 points, 6.4 rebounds) and Peter Jok (15.5 points, 3.3 rebounds), two of the best wing scorers in the country. Both Uthoff and Jok can shoot from behind the arc, and Indiana will need some combination of OG Annunoby, Collin Hartman and Robert Johnson to slow those two down. None of those three are considered top players for Indiana, so they'll need to step up to give the Hoosiers a chance at winning.
But Indiana has its own offensive threats, and the Hawkeyes will have their hands full trying to slow down Yogi Ferrell, Troy Williams and Thomas Bryant. Obviously, everything Indiana does starts with Ferrell. The senior point guard is averaging 17.3 points, 5.8 assists, 4.1 rebounds and is shooting 46 percent from three. He's coming off a rough game against Penn State (13 points on 3-of-12 shooting), but will still be a major focus for Iowa. Look for Iowa's Anthony Clemmons to try and look down Ferrell as much as possible.
Then there's Bryant, who's had an up-and-down freshman season but is still a handful to deal with when he's on. Like Ferrell, he hasn't played his best recently, scoring just 17 points combined in his past two games. But's he's going up against a solid but not spectacular counterpart at center in Adam Woodbury, and he'll definitely have the advantage in athleticism. If Iowa can limit both Bryant and Ferrell, it'll have a great chance of winning this game.
Both teams should have opportunities to exploit some mismatches, which is what makes this game intriguing. Indiana has the ability to beat Iowa, but the Hoosiers need to play up to their potential.