OTE Roundtable: Iowa @ Indiana

USA TODAY Sports

By roundtable we mean Candystripes and Mike talking tonight's matchup between Iowa and Indiana in Bloomington.

The Breakdown:

Tuesday, February 17th, 2014

#15 Iowa (19-6) @ Indiana (14-11)
Where: Assembly Hall, Bloomington, Indiana
When: 8:00PM CT
TV: ESPN
Line: Iowa by 3

The Roundtable

Q: Mike Jones - At 14-11 and sitting at 10th place in conference, it's obvious that Indiana isn't where they want to be. They've lost six out of the last eight and were just blown out by Purdue. What has gone wrong this season?

A: Candystripes for Breakfast - It's probably a bit too broad to say "EVERYTHING", but Indiana has been Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde this year. We beat the good teams (mostly) while losing to the awful teams (mostly). I've basically given up on trying to figure out what's actually going wrong, and am resorting to praying that we at least finish the year above .500 overall.

Q: Candystripes - With Iowa outperforming most expectations, and with the epic flails of B1G Michigan this past weekend, how does it feel to have hope for winning the B1G regular season outright?

A: Mike - Fantastic is the obvious answer but I think it would be foolish to sit here and say that Iowa is in this position solely by their own doing. Obviously, their play is the main reason they're here. On the other hand, I think the Hawkeyes squandered a couple chances to currently be leading or at least be tied for first in the B1G. To wit: Michigan State and Ohio State at home. Thanks to the insanity and depth of the B1G, the Hawkeyes should feel great about their play but also feel a little fortunate that Wisconsin and Nebraska helped them out in a big way. Now they just need to take care of business the rest of the way...something that is far easier said than done.

Q: Mike - Iowa struggles with slashing guards as evidenced by D.J. Newbill's 22 points and 10-15 shooting. Yogi Ferrell seems to be exactly the type of player the Hawkeyes will struggle with. I'll state the obvious: Yogi should have a good game against Iowa. Do you agree, disagree? Also, regardless of your answer, who do you think will be his biggest supporting cast member?

A: Candystripes - Put it this way: If Yogi DOESN'T have a good game, IU gets blown out. Although, if Stanford Robinson and Devin Davis both have good games, IU might keep it close anyway, as Stan has the potential to be Victor Oladipo 2.0. Regardless, if Yogi has a decent game (around 10 points, 5 assists, and 2-3 rebounds/steals/other stats), he's still gonna need help.

Q: Candystripes - The big key for IU is going to be keeping Noah Vonleh on the floor. With Hanner-Mosquera Perea out for the foreseeable future, IU's secondary option at "big man" is super senior sub Jeff Howard. I'll admit that I haven't really paid attention to the Hawkeyes, but do you have the talent to force the issue with Vonleh and get him into early foul trouble? If not, how do you stop the Hoosiers' questionably talented offense?

A: Mike - There isn't going to be one guy who is going to deal with Vonleh. He's definitely going to be matched up with Melsahn Basabe but will also see 7'0 Adam Woodbury and 6'10 Gabe Olaseni in the paint. Basabe is 13th in the B1G in blocks and Olaseni is 8th. They've been playing exceptional defense as of late and make guys take forced shots. Hell, even Adam Woodbury's defense has come around as of late, although he has a tendency to get into foul trouble. Iowa's real talent is in picking up rebounds. They have three players in the top 20 for rebounds per game. I'm not sure if they're going to get Vonleh in foul trouble but they'll force him to take some uncomfortable shots. And if he misses, there's a good chance we're scooping the rebound. Overall I think the Hawks are pretty solid in the paint. It's defending the 3-point shot when they go zone that really hurts Iowa.

Q: Mike - A dying narrative about Iowa is that they always go 11 deep. That hasn't been in the case in conference, as Peter Jok and Anthony Clemmons have barely seen the floor. However, they still have 9 players averaging 15 minutes or more and some of their best defensive players like Olaseni and Oglesby are coming off the bench. In general, how is Indiana's depth compared to Iowa?

A: Candystripes - For most of the season, Indiana's depth was a big source of complaint for the fans. Not lack of it, too much of it. There were nights before B1G play that Indiana went a semi-legitimate 13 deep. Now, it feels like Crean has dialed the lineup back to about 9 deep, but it's how he uses the depth that is still frustrating. Even before his suspension, Hanner was never on the floor with Noah Vonleh, despite them being two talented big men. Now, it's the seemingly random sub patterns, including pulling guys who just made big plays for, usually, Evan Gordon, who has brought some, but very little recent, production this year.

On your point of Iowa being weak to the 3 when in zone, I offer congratulations, as basically the only people on this team who can hit 3s "consistently" are Yogi and Noah, so you'll probably be fine.

Q: Candystripes - The one person for IU I haven't brought up yet is the somewhat surprisingly underwhelming Will Sheehey. He was the high-energy sixth man last year, but this year, he disappears for long stretches as a starter. Has Iowa had anyone disappoint this year, or (more likely) way outperform expectations?

A: Mike - You probably haven't brought up Sheehey because I didn't ask you "Which player on your team has the most punchable face?" Oh, you're serious? Ah. I don't think anyone on Iowa has really disappointed. The only gripes are really trivial. The only one can I seriously put forth is Josh Oglesby's three point shooting. He's Iowa's sharpshooter. Iowa's specialist. Yet, he's only made more than one 3-pointer in three conference games (he averages 17 minutes in conference). On the other hand, his defense has been exceptional so there's that. As far as who has outperformed, that honor goes solely to Gabe Olaseni. His ability to get to block, get to the line and make FTs has been really impressive in his limited time.

Q: Mike - Sort of a general question: What's Indiana's greatest weakness?

A: Candystripes - I feel like Taylor Wayer actually has IU's most punchable face, but I digress.

Indiana's biggest weakness? I want to say inexperience, but that doesn't really cover it, considering the team has gelled at times, while falling completely apart at others. Crean's sub patterns are confusing, arguably awful, but even that is just him trying to find a 5 that actually plays well together 85 or higher percent of the time. The real problem with IU (which may not be the actual real problem, but this is my best guess) is that they lost so much leadership, talent, and scoring from last year that people are trying to take up roles they should have had another year to prepare for. Yogi is the only one who's really picked up the role he was given this year. Noah is doing pretty well, but I really hope he comes back for another year. The NBA may think he's ready, but I'm not convinced. He's just 18.5, and while he's done some good things this year, he's also had some games where he just got dominated. Sheehey is a lot better as a slasher, but he sometimes has trouble creating his own shot, and with only 2 legitimate offensive threats on the floor most of the time, he's just been ineffective on offense. Jeremy Hollowell.... no one's really sure what's going on with him, but if we had known during recruiting that this was the Jeremy Hollowell we'd be getting, we'd have pushed harder to get Gary Harris.

Q: Candystripes - The defense has been good, which is the only saving grace for this team. Honestly, I have no idea what to expect on Tuesday. I'm not even sure I feel comfortable saying which team is going to win, and I've just about given up on predicting when IU is going to be good and when they aren't. I guess I'll say Iowa wins, but I wouldn't bet any amount of money on that. Any thoughts?

A: Mike - Well, overall I think the trends and statistics seem to favor Iowa so I think they'll win. On the other hand, Indiana is so odd. They've gotten beat by the "bad" teams but play really well against higher competition. They've beaten Wisconsin and Michigan at home and only lost to Michigan State on the road by 5. On the other hand, they've also lost to Penn State and Purdue so there's that. I think Iowa gets Indiana's best on Tuesday but the Hawkeyes notch their first win at Assembly in three years and win by 10.

Candystripes - That's as likely a scenario as any. Guess we'll have to see which Hoosiers show up Tuesday.

OTE proletariat, what are your thoughts on the game?

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