Iowa and Indiana have, at times, been both insanely entertaining and frustratingly disappointing.
As of right now, Indiana will need to win the Big Ten Tournament to make it to make it to the NCAA Tournament, and Iowa will have to, at the very least, make a run that includes a win or two over one of the conference’s top seeded teams.
Their runs at tournament bids will start tonight at 6:30 ET in Washington, D.C.
1. Can Indiana have another huge game from their starters?
In their regular season-capping win against Ohio State, the Hoosiers scored 96 points. Of those 96, only three came from a non-starting player. Juwan Morgan was the team-low with 11 points, Thomas Bryant had 16, Josh Newark had 18, Blackmon scored 22 and Robert Johnson scored 26.
Now, there are two caveats that apply here. First of all, Ohio State isn’t very good, and secondly, the Buckeyes still managed to score 92 points in that game.
The Hawkeyes are considerably better than OSU, and are led by an absolutely red-hot Peter Jok. Not to mention, Nicholas Baer, who can come off the bench and can heat up at any given time. When the two are both hitting, watch out.
Indiana, to win this game, will need to do to Iowa what they did to the Buckeyes; outscore them. The question here is, then is: Can they outscore a team like the Hawkeyes? That remains to be seen. The Hawkeyes, as a team, are pretty hot right now.
Which brings me to my next point.....
2. Can Iowa keep things rolling?
February, for the most part, was a mess for Iowa.
The Hawkeyes lost three games in a row, looked completely out of sorts, and had many questioning whether or not this team, that once seemed as intriguing as can be, would make the tourney.
Well, questions about their tournament chances still exist, but it is without question that their chances at going to the Big Dance increased considerably after their recent four-game winning streak.
It wasn’t just any winning streak, though. It was one that saw them win two road games against ranked opponents, which will absolutely do wonders for their appearances in the eyes of the selection committee.
Can they turn the momentum they picked up over the last four games into a run in the Big Ten Tournament?
Peter Jok averaged 18 points over those four games, and he’ll be the key for Iowa moving forward. The Hawkeyes won the lone meeting between the two teams during the regular season–a game in which Jok dropped 35 points.
Iowa fans would love to see a repeat of that tonight.
3. Which point guard gets hot from deep?
Jordan Bohannon vs. Robert Johnson is fun. They’re good shooters with the ability to get hot from three-point range.
In this game, that may be one of the keys. As I mentioned, Indiana will need to outscore a good offensive team in Iowa, and a good day from behind the three-point arch would come in handy.
It’ll be interesting to see the battle between Tyler Cook and Thomas Bryant, as well. If Bryant can dominate the post, and get some good production from long-distance, that’ll significantly help their cause.