There is one game tonight that could have potential bracket implications with Indiana in need of a quality victory.
Game of the Night
#21 Iowa Hawkeyes at Indiana Hoosiers
- Time/TV: 8:00 PM ET (BTN)
The Hoosiers celebrated the return of Bob Knight to Assembly Hall and then proceeded to get wrecked by Purdue once again. With four losses in a row the Hoosiers are now sitting at 15-8 and fading to the back end of the bubble for the NCAA Tournament. A few weeks ago the Hoosiers looked like a solid bet for the NCAA Tournament but now they could end up missing the tourney for the fourth year in a row.
The good news for Indiana? They have plenty of opportunities for some quality wins over the next month. The bad news for Indiana? Those potential quality wins are in play because they have a stacked schedule that won’t be any easier from here on out. This week they get Iowa and a road trip to Michigan. The next week is a road game at Minnesota and hosting a surging Penn State. Then they’ll have road trips to Purdue and Illinois and home games against Minnesota and Wisconsin. All of these games will be tough.
One of the things that was painfully noticeable in the loss to Purdue was the fact that there wasn’t much fight from this Indiana team. You’d think in a home game against Purdue that Archie Miller could get his team fired up but they looked flat and once Purdue took a lead they quickly packed it in. It also doesn’t help that this Hoosiers team hasn’t been rolling offensively, currently 11th in scoring during conference play, second to last in turnovers and shooting 30.5% from three and 68.3% from the charity strip.
Those offensive woes could be costly as they face an Iowa that leads the Big Ten (conference play) in field goal percentage, free throw percentage and points per game. Of course the one achilles heel is their absolutely dreadful defense, but the question is can the lukewarm Indiana offense take advantage of the nonexistent Hawkeyes defense? Even if Indiana can score Iowa has been anchored by Luka Garza’s 23.1 points per game while Joe Wieskamp and CJ Fredrick help create an explosive backcourt. Garza stands out but Iowa has always been a strength by numbers offense and finds production from a wide cast of players on any given night. Indiana will need to have a much better offensive performance and will also likely need to keep it up for the entire 40 minutes if they want to pick up a win.
With a four game losing streak and the chances for a NCAA Tournament bid starting to slip, you’d think Indiana comes out with a sense of urgency. Of course you would have thought the same thing when they hosted bitter rival Purdue on the same day Bob Knight returned to campus. Look for Iowa to add to Indiana's recent misery.