For the fourth time this season, IU will play a game against a repeat Big Ten Conference opponent.
IU has already faced Northwestern, Michigan and Purdue twice this season, and the second game in each of those series all resulted in losses for Head Coach Archie Miller’s team.
The fourth opportunity for the Hoosiers to finally win a repeat conference game this season comes Friday against the No. 21 Iowa Hawkeyes.
Iowa beat IU, 77-72, in Bloomington earlier this month, and that loss started IU’s current four-game losing streak.
Before the Hawkeyes and Hoosiers meet Friday night in Iowa City, Iowa, here are three things to know.
1. IU will look to lock down Iowa junior guard Jordan Bohannon.
While Jordan Bohannon converted some unlikely shots from all sorts of angles and distances during the teams’ first meeting, IU still failed in its defensive duties against him earlier this month.
The Iowa junior guard tied his season-high with 25 points and hit five 3-pointers to lead all players. He also scored the final 11 Iowa points in the last 91 seconds of game action.
Along with some equally audacious distance shooting by freshman guard Joe Wieskamp, the two starting guards gave Iowa a combined 38 points in the game.
“I feel like we’ve got to be able to chase cut it and be there when they’re coming off screens,” sophomore guard Al Durham said of defending Iowa’s 3-point shooting. “Or be there on the shot so they don’t at least get them up.”
Entering Friday’s game, the Hoosiers can take solace from their organized defending of Purdue junior guard Carsen Edwards, as Edwards scored less than 10 points in a game for the first time this season while missing a season-high 20 shots.
“Emotional game, yes, disappointing, yes,” Miller said of the Purdue game. “But it’s our responsibility to be ready for Iowa.”
2. The Hoosiers need more scoring help from their guards.
IU’s 46 points against Purdue tied the Hoosiers’ season low for offensive production, and a lack of scoring from guards not named Romeo Langford significantly contributed to this.
Langford remains IU’s most proficient scorer, averaging just more than 17 points per game. While he’s only taken six shots in each of IU’s last two games, he still scored double-digit points against both Minnesota and Purdue.
The same can’t be said for his backcourt teammates.
Tuesday night was a textbook example of IU’s secondary scoring options at guard failing to deliver. On a night when all Hoosiers found it difficult to score, Durham missed seven of his eight shots, junior guard Devonte Green missed six of his seven shots and freshman guard Rob Phinisee had more fouls, four, than made baskets, two.
This, coupled with the offensive limitations of senior guard Zach McRoberts, who has made just three of 13 shots in 11 Big Ten games, means IU needs players like Durham, Green and Phinisee to increase their scoring output against Iowa’s zone defense.
“We're really trying to get those guys to be aggressive right now,” Miller said. “They have to be willing to try to make plays for us.”
3. While Iowa is one of the Big Ten’s best home teams, IU is one of the worst road teams.
Only five Big Ten teams have at least 13 home wins this season, and Iowa is one of them.
Meanwhile, six of the conference’s 14 teams have two or fewer road wins, a group IU is part of.
Both facts represent recent trends for each team.
The Hawkeyes now have recorded double-digit home wins in seven of the last eight seasons.
It’s impossible for IU to finish with a winning record on the road this season, and as such, it marks the fifth time in the last six seasons the Hoosiers will lose more road games than they’ve won.
Since the 2012-2013 season, IU has a 18-43 record in road games.
IU and Iowa are scheduled to play at 9 p.m. Friday in Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City. The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1.
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