The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Hawkeyes men’s hoops fight at the Hoosier corral

Iowa forward Jarrod Uthoff goes up for a basket during the Iowa-Michigan game in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2015. The Hawkeyes defeated the Wolverines, 82-71. (The Daily Iowan/Margaret Kispert)

The race for the regular-season Big Ten title will be decided in just under a month, and tonight’s game at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Indiana, will go a long way in deciding it.

When the Iowa men’s basketball team heads into Indiana, it will do so with a 10-1 record in conference play.

The Hoosiers will enter at 9-2. An Indiana win deadlocks Iowa, Maryland, and the Hoosiers at 10-2 in conference play with six conference games left heading into the weekend.

A Hawkeye win pushes them to a full game lead over Maryland, so to say the eyes of the rest of the Big Ten are on the Hawkeyes’ clash with the Hoosiers is an understatement.

“I’m not even thinking about that right now,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said about possibility of winning the regular-season conference title. “I’m just thinking about trying to win Thursday night.”

The Hawkeyes beat the Hoosiers in Bloomington, 77-63, a year ago, and Jarrod Uthoff and Anthony Clemmons scored 14 and 10 points, respectively.

McCaffery said winning on the road a year ago may help the Hawkeyes, but both teams are vastly different, and vastly improved, from a year ago.

“We have a different team. So it was great to have the experience to go down there in that environment and be successful like we were last year,” he said. “I think that’s a good thing. But this game will be a lot different.”

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That difference will be due in part to the nature of the Hoosiers, who have a penchant for running the floor and can score in bunches.

Indiana averages 78.2 points per conference game, just under Iowa’s 78.5.

On defense, the Hawkeyes give up 66.8 points per game, compared with Indiana’s 66.6. Those are good for fourth and third in the conference.

“With that type of team [Yogi] Ferrell doesn’t have to bring the ball up every time,” Hawk guard Anthony Clemmons said, referring to Indiana’s All-American candidate point guard.

Ferrell averages 18.6 points per game in conference play, good for third in the conference, and while the senior will push the Hawkeyes on both ends of the court, Clemmons said he and the rest of the team will be ready.

“I know I’m able to guard anybody,” he said. “I’m pretty confident at all times because that’s what I do. It’s what I’ve prided myself on since I’ve been on campus.”

Clemmons, Iowa’s best defender, will likely match up on defense with Ferrell, but there’s more to Indiana than just one superstar senior.

Center Thomas Bryant the only other Hoosier to start all 24 games this season, averages 12.1 points. Troy Williams, a forward who’s started 23 of the Hoosiers’ 24 games, averages 12.8.

“It’s a key for our defense to try to limit those guys under their averages and make them really work for their points, and it’s no different for Indiana,” senior Adam Woodbury said.

That will be especially the key tonight, as the Hawkeyes have a tough task at hand, but Woodbury said the Hawkeyes will be ready. If things continue on the current course, the Hawkeyes will find themselves in the driver’s seat of the Big Ten race. Although at present, Woodbury said, things are going pretty well.

“I can’t complain, top five nationally, playing for a Big Ten title, we like where we’re at right now and the way we continue to improve every day.”


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