Four Quick Thoughts on Indiana’s Win Over Iowa

Posted by Brendan Brody on February 28th, 2014

Iowa continued its late season freefall after dropping a shootout in Bloomington Thursday night, 93-86. The Hawkeyes have now tumbled to a 19-9 overall record and will lose what would have been a healthy seed in the NCAA Tournament if they don’t get things turned around rather quickly. Indiana once again proved that, despite their inconsistencies, they are dangerous at home. They’ve now knocked off Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa in their own gym this season.

Here are four observations from last night’s fast-paced affair.

Will Sheehey scored a career-high 30 points Thursday as Indiana knocked off Iowa. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Will Sheehey scored a career-high 30 points Thursday as Indiana knocked off Iowa. (Andy Lyons/Getty)

  1. Where has this Will Sheehey been all season? Sheehey was a legitimate force on offense for the Hoosiers all night long. He proved to be equally adept at knocking down shots from the perimeter and also getting by the Iowa defense to finisih on the fast break. He went 11-of 13 on twos, and put up 19 points in the first half alone. If Sheehey had played even half this well over the course of the entire season, the Hoosiers might have a considerably better record than 16-12. He’s been missing in action on numerous occasions and seemingly has been without the mojo that came from playing on a much more talented team last season. If he can ride the momentum from this outstanding performance into the last three games and the Big Ten Tournament, Indiana can clearly play the spoiler role in early March.
  2. Iowa needs Mike Gesell at his best: Gesell was uncharacteristically sloppy with the ball all night, which led to a statistical line that produced only six points and five turnovers. He had a team-high seven assists, but much of that was due to the uptempo nature of the game. Fran McCaffery doesn’t need 20 points per game from his sophomore point guard, but he needs to consistently knock down open looks and he can’t give the ball away so much if the Hawkeyes are going to look to push it.
  3. Tom Crean’s substitutions worked: Crean has often been criticized for his substitution patterns, but against Iowa his ability and desire to play essentially the whole roster worked in his favor. You can debate all you want about whether the phrase “quality depth” applies to the Hoosiers, but last night they got huge contributions from Stanford Robinson (17 points), Evan Gordon (12 points, 7-of-8 foul shooting), and Jeremy Hollowell (seven points, two steals). Devin Davis and the recently reinstated Hanner Mosquera-Perea also made key shots during their brief cameos on the floor. Indiana is one of the few teams that can match Iowa sub for sub — where Iowa can wear opponents down with their constant shuffling and different lineups, Indiana proved it could match them and ensure that their players stay fresh against Iowa’s pace and pressure.
  4. Adam Woodbury continues to frustrate Iowa fans: With apologies to Ohio State and its conflicted feelings about Amir Williams, Woodbury has to be in the running for most frustrating big man to watch in the league. The former top-100 recruit almost got booted from the contest in the first 10 minutes for throwing an elbow at Austin Etherington’s head. He then slogged through the rest of the game in foul trouble, ending with just one point and four fouls. The Big Ten isn’t necessarily crawling with centers who produce steady stat lines, but at what point does Fran McCaffery just go with Gabriel Olaseni in the starting lineup? He’s much more productive and was at least into this game. Iowa was complimented for much of the non-conference season about how great their depth was, but now pundits are calling for McCaffery to shorten his rotation. Maybe this loss will lead to a shorter leash for those who had been getting heavier minutes but weren’t producing.
Brendan Brody (111 Posts)

Brendan Brody is in his second season covering the Big Ten for RTC. He has a strange accent that is the result of being born on the South Side of Chicago, combined with the regional dialect of Northern Virginia from living there for 20 years. His thoughts are sometimes just as jumbled as said dialect. Email him at brendan.brody@gmail.com, or follow him on twitter @berndon4.


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