The first half felt controlled by the Hoosiers, but Iowa tightened things up and trailed just 43-40 at the break. De’Ron Davis led Indiana with nine points. Jordan Bohannon led all scorers with 15 points in the first half.
For the second half, Indiana blew the game open. Indiana outscored Iowa by 19 in the second half and won 95-73. James Blackmon Jr. led the Hoosiers with 23 points, 18 came in the second half.
Let's see what we learned from the game.
What We Learned
1. Indiana’s Offense Is Blistering Hot.
Some crazy offensive stats to come out for Indiana in tonight’s victory.
Indiana shot 12-20 (60%) from three-point range with four players (Blackmon Jr, Robert Johnson, Curtis Jones and Devonte Green) shooting 50% or above. Indiana also shot 60% from the field, overall.
Over the past two games, Indiana is averaging 95.5 points per game. Last Sunday, Indiana set the arena record at Ohio State with a 96-point effort.
Indiana was three points away from the Big Ten Tournament for most points in a single game.
It all adds up to tell a story of the resurgence of Indiana on the offensive end. One of the most feared offenses in the Big Ten, slowed to a halt mid-year with injuries, inconsistency, and a lack of cohesion. The last two games have illustrated that Indiana seems to be back to their early season form on the offensive end.
We’ll see if the last week is just a fluke, and it will be interesting to see if this return to pushing the ball can work against a team like Wisconsin, but Indiana has been quite impressive offensively recently. That should concern the rest of the teams in Indiana’s path this tournament.
2. The Hoosiers’ NCAA Hopes Are Still Alive.
I’ll take a big helping of crow, please. Just last week, I declared that Indiana’s NCAA Tournament hopes were “officially dead”. Yet, here we are with Indiana still entrenched in NCAA bubble talk.
The Hoosiers (18-14) are probably still on the outside looking in, even after tonight’s impressive win, but things could get really interesting tomorrow, if they knock off the 2-seeded Wisconsin Badgers.
A potential victory there would put Indiana at 19-14 with four top-50 RPI wins. Is that enough to get them in? They do own two of the best non-conference victories in the country, and the bubble continues to be quite weak.
Wins like TCU’s upset of Kansas today don’t help IU, but the fact that Indiana still has a path to the NCAA Tournament feels incredible. That is especially true when you consider they went 2-6 in the month of February.
3. Iowa Is Off To The NIT.
While Indiana still can keep playing to determine their fate, Iowa sealed an NIT bid this evening.
The Hawkeyes, other than Bohannon, never seemed comfortable tonight. They shot poorly from distance, committed 15 turnovers and was out rebounded 38-29.
While it is disappointing the Hawkeyes couldn’t seize the potential opportunity, their improvements this year are impressive. The young Hawkeyes seemed like a potential bottom four Big Ten squad in the middle of non-conference season, and ended up with 10 conference victories and a potential NIT run left in them.
If I am a Hawkeyes fan, I am feeling much better about this squad with Peter Jok next year than I did in November. Iowa’s best basketball still remains with this core (Bohannon, Cook, Pemsl and Baer). It will be interesting to see how far they can go in this year’s NIT field.
Thursday evening’s victory was huge for Indiana’s hopes at an NCAA Tournament bid. The Hoosiers still have much work to do, but have given themselves an opportunity with Wisconsin looming on Friday.
The loss will be a tough one for Iowa fans to swallow, but the team will still be heading to the NIT. The young Hawkeyes struggled to keep up with the Hoosiers and Jok never was able to get going. Iowa’s young talent will get more postseason practice with a potential NIT run upcoming.