The IU men’s basketball team (14-11, 4-8), looking to snap its three-game losing streak, will face the No. 15 Iowa Hawkeyes (19-6, 8-4) at 9 tonight in Assembly Hall.
Iowa enters the contest on a two-game winning streak, defeating Penn State 82-70 on the road Saturday.
In that game, the Hawkeyes pulled down 40 rebounds, 13 of which were offensive.
Iowa ranks first in the Big Ten in offensive rebounding this season, averaging 43 rebounds per game. The Hawkeyes also rank second in the Big Ten in rebounding margin, coming just 0.4 behind the Hoosiers.
In addition to their rebounding prowess, the Hawkeyes lead the Big Ten with 83.6 points per game. For the most part, Iowa spreads its scoring around. Only two Iowa players average double figures in points.
During the Big Ten teleconference call Monday, IU Coach Tom Crean said the Hoosiers have to prepare for Iowa’s up-tempo offense.
“They are as good as anyone in this league at getting out (on the fast break) after makes or misses,” Crean said. “There are some very good transition teams in this league, but they are as good as any.”
Maybe more telling of Iowa’s style of play is that 11 players average more than 10 minutes per game, yet no player averages more than 30 minutes.
Senior Roy Devyn Marble leads Iowa in points per game, averaging 16.4 points per contest. He also leads the team in steals per game.
The most consistent IU player throughout the season has been sophomore guard Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell, who leads the Big Ten in scoring at 17.9 points per game.
In two games against the Hawkeyes last season, Ferrell averaged 14 points and 4.5 assists per game.
On March 3, 2013, Ferrell scored his season high against Iowa, going 5-for-8 from the field for 19 points.
During the Big Ten Conference Call, Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery said Ferrell has stepped into his own this season.
“Now this year, he is ‘the guy,’” McCaffery said. “That is a much more difficult transition than people think.”
McCaffery continued his praise of Ferrell, saying he has helped IU’s younger players grow and improve.
“Little by little, you are seeing these young guys that Indiana has developed,” McCaffery said. “They are able to do that because they know they have one of the best players in the country with the ball.”
In their last three games, the Hoosiers have averaged 63 points per game, well below their season average of 73.4. IU has also averaged nearly 17 turnovers over that same period.
The Hawkeyes, on the season, average 1.6 fewer turnovers per game than their opponents. Iowa forces its opponents into 13.3 turnovers per game, and the Hoosiers have averaged 15.6 turnovers per game on the season — last in the Big Ten.
Crean said IU’s starting lineup, which features three freshmen, has affected its ability to play with any consistency.
“What happens is, when you are young and you don’t have the experience, you don’t have the consistency,” Crean said. “But we don’t have that consistency of what it takes, physically and mentally, to win the games.”
Crean said his team faces a great task in trying to defeat the Hawkeyes.
“They are extremely unselfish with one another and cause so many issues with their versatility,” Crean said. “We have a great task in front of us, and that’s what we are looking forward to tomorrow night.”