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Gameday Preview: Indiana Opening up Big Ten Conference Play at Iowa

December 31st, 2012 at 9:30 AM
By Evan Reller

No. 5 Indiana will head to Iowa today to face what will be its first real opponent since Butler. IU (12-1) lost at Iowa (11-2) last season 78-66. The Hoosiers split the series with the Hawkeyes 1-1 in 2011-12. 

As we've mentioned before, IU will be going on the road for the first time all season. They have played multiple neutral site games, but the crowds were predominantly IU fans. 

First we'll take a look at the statistics:

IU still has the best offense in the country. They are first in points per game (89.4 ppg) and average 1.22 points per possession, good for second in the NCAA. Iowa, on the other hand, averages just 76.9 points a game and is 38th in efficiency at 1.079 points per possession.

Iowa and Indiana are neck and neck in terms of rebounding, they average 41 and 42 respectively. Both are solid defensive teams, with IU giving up 59 points a game and Iowa 61 a game. However, Iowa has yet to face an offense that can put up points like the Hoosiers. The Hawkeyes have only given up more than 75 points twice this season, and both resulted in losses. 

Pomeroy Ratings have Iowa at 44 and Indiana still as the number one team. Iowa is rated with the 69th offense and 39th defense. IU checks in with the best offense and the 10th defense. 

Iowa has only hit 90 points once all season and it was against South Carolina State. In all likely hood, the Hawkeyes are going to have to hope that a good defensive game and home court will be enough to keep the Hoosiers in 70-80 point range. Anything more and Iowa really doesn't stand much of a chance, they simply don't have the firepower to keep up with the Hoosiers (and really, how many teams do?). 

Match-ups to watch:

Cody Zeller vs Adam Woodbury. Woodbury, a freshman, checks in a 7-1 and 235 lbs. He is averaging 6.6 points per game, 5.2 rebounds, and .8 blocks. While a physical match for Zeller, he clearly lacks the athleticism and technical ability that Zeller possesses. However, the same could have been said about Butler's Andrew Smith and he bullied Zeller around like a small child. Zeller will have to be a lot more physical in the Big Ten, as refs have a tendency to let players play and beat each other up a bit. Zeller isn't the type of player to not learn something from a bad game and has played tougher lately. What Zeller needs to do is demand the ball, he tries to help his teammates so much that he often passes up on his own attempts. He should be able to find plenty of success against the freshman. 

Victor Oladipo vs Roy Devyn Marble. Marble 15.7 points per game to lead Iowa. Oladipo has often been matched-up on the opposing teams leading scorer and this game should be no exception. Oladipo has shut down some of the best offensive players in the nation this season. He is averaging 2.5 steals per game and has nearly 10 deflections per game. Marble will have to bring his best offensive game if he wants to have any hope of putting up his normal numbers. Additionally, if Marble is guarding Oladipo he will have his hands full. The junior guard is shooting 68 percent from the field, which is simply unheard of as a guard. Granted that many of his shots are at point blank range or dunks, its still an impressive number. 

In reality, this should be a pretty easy match-up for IU. Iowa simply won't be able to keep up with the Hoosiers offense or the pace they like to run. Iowa likes to think they run a similar offense and tries to run but nothing like what IU is capable of. On the other side of the ball, Iowa will struggle to find shots against IU's defense. IU struggled badly on the road last season, but this team is much more focused and talented. This is a very good test for the Hoosiers to open up conference play. The Big Ten is no joke and all of the pundits who harp on IU's strength of schedule should look at the road ahead. 

The Hoosiers will more than likely come out slow once again early in the game as they attempt to find the right tempo (and it may take longer than normal) but the patience of this team will win out and IU will win by a comfortable margin. 

Tags: Cody Zeller, Hawkeyes, Indiana, Indiana Hoosiers, Iowa, NCAA, Victor Oladipo

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