Pre-Game: Indiana Hoosiers vs. Iowa Hawkeyes
Tuesday February 21, 9:00 pm
February is drawing to a close and we are just a few weeks away from Selection Sunday, not that that matters to either of the two teams playing in Iowa City on Tuesday evening. The Hoosiers are back on the road tomorrow as they will be for three of their final four games of the Big Ten season. Iowa is currently 14-13 overall, and 6-8 in the Big Ten. Indiana is now 15-12 and 5-9. Both teams are struggling more than they have all season. Over their last eight games the Hawkeyes are 3-5 and the Hoosiers are 2-6. At this point fans of both teams couldn’t see the season end quick enough. This game is the only match-up of the year between these two teams, and this contest will have a very different feeling than the two games between Iowa and Indiana last year when both teams were battling for a Big Ten championship and to improve their resume for the NCAA tournament. That is almost certainly out of the picture for both teams that are instead building their NIT resumes.
Peter Jok does it all for Iowa. He leads the team in scoring by nearly nine points per game, rebounds, and is second in assists and steals. The senior has continued to add to his impressive career as a Hawkeye, but his final season has not turned out the way he had hoped. At the other guard positions for Iowa is a six-foot freshman, Jordan Bohannon, and another freshman at 6’5”, Isaiah Moss. Bohannon has struggled at times shooting the ball with a season average of 35%, but has been very productive leading the team with 4.4 assists per game, and shooting 83% at the free-throw line. Moss only plays about 17 minutes per game, but does a great job for a guard at crashing the boards; he is second, only to Peter Jok, with six rebounds per game. Iowa isn’t young just at the guard position as Fran McCaffery starts the sophomore, Ahmad Wagner and freshman, Tyler Cook. Cook has been impressive for the Hawkeyes this season. He is second on the team in scoring and is connecting on 53% of his field goals. Ahmad Wagner has appeared in all 27 games this season, but has had limited minutes. Although Wagner’s minutes have gone up from his freshman season, his field goal percentage has dropped 18%, and he is only making 47% of his free-throws.
McCaffery has received some criticism this year for having too big of a rotation, and bringing too many guys off the bench. He has consistently played six to seven, and sometimes even eight guys off the bench. Cordell Pemsl, a 6’8” freshman, started in 14 games this season for Iowa, but has recently changed roles and is one of McCaffery’s first guys off the bench. Pemsl is fourth on the team in scoring with nine points per game and is first on the team in field goal percentage shooting 61%. The other forwards that see consistent minutes are Dom Uhl, Nicholas Baer, and Ryan Kriener. Dom Uhl, a junior, has been pretty disappointing this season as one of the most experienced guys on the young Hawkeye team. He is averaging just over four points per game, and his field goal percentage sits below 37%. McCaffery also brings two sophomore guards off the bench. Christian Williams has had his fair share of struggles this season as well, only shooting 33% and turning the ball over way too often. The other guard, Brady Ellingson, has been much more productive this season. Ellingson leads the team in three-point percentage at 53%, and can get hot at any time.
Iowa is currently in ninth place in the Big Ten, while Indiana sits in eleventh. Both teams have struggled with inexperience and immaturity, and are both looking for a couple more wins to secure their spot in the NIT. As already stated, both teams are struggling now more than ever; the Hoosiers are on a four game losing streak, and the Hawkeyes have totaled up three straight loses. Tomorrow’s game will most likely come down to who has the better energy. Both teams have been struggling with getting out to slow starts and having to work the rest of the game just to get back into it. Tomorrow’s match-up could be a very ugly game of basketball full of turnovers and mistakes, but fans of both teams should be used to that by this point. The line for tomorrow’s game is very close, as nobody knows what to expect out of these teams anymore, but I look for the Hoosiers to come out on top, 79-76.
Indiana University | 2020