While the Purdue Boilermakers hold sole possession of first place in the Big Ten Conference standings, there are seven teams within a game of each other from second to eighth place. Two of those teams involved hook up on Tuesday when the Indiana Hoosiers host the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Indiana Hoosiers (-5.5, 155.5)
The Hawkeyes have the largest points per-possession differential in the nation, scoring 24.4 points per 100 possessions fewer when playing on the road than at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa.
While Iowa has scored at least 75 points in every home game this season, it has struggled on the road, scoring 68 points or fewer in each of the past four road games. The Hawkeyes are shooting just 26.2% from 3-point range on the road but see that total jump up to 39.3% at home. Out of the 363 Division I teams, only three teams post a worse road 3-point shooting percentage than Iowa.
The 3-point shooting woes have affected other areas of Iowa’s game as well, primarily its tempo. Iowa is playing at a rate of 4.8 possessions per game fewer when on the road which evens out with Indiana’s slower tempo.
When these teams first met on Jan. 5, Iowa overcame a 21-point deficit to secure the comeback victory at home to beat Indiana 91-89. Coming into the game, Indiana ranked top-75 in possessions per game but has seen its tempo reduced by nearly 6.5 possessions per game since then. The Hoosiers now rank 175th in the nation in possessions per game.
Much like Iowa’s offense posting big home and road splits, Indiana’s defense does, too. Overall, Indiana ranks 71st in the nation in points allowed on a per-possession basis but surrenders 14 points fewer at home than when playing on the road.
Iowa’s interior game will be minimized by Trayce Jackson-Davis, whose 11.0 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game both rank sixth among qualifying Division I players.
Combine Indiana’s tough defense in which it held seven of its last eight opponents to 70 points or fewer at home with Iowa’s inability to make 3-pointers on the road and Tuesday's clash sets up for another tough night of strong defense and Big Ten offensive struggles.
The Play: Iowa vs. Indiana Under 155.5
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