IOWA HAWKEYES (19-8)
at INDIANA HOOSIERS (15-12)
Assembly Hall - Bloomington, IN
Tip-off: Thursday, 9:00 p.m. ET
Line: Iowa -4, Total: 144.5
No. 20 Iowa looks to stop a two-game losing skid when it visits a desperate Indiana team on Thursday night in a game that was originally scheduled to be played last week.
This matchup did not occur on Feb. 18 after an 8-foot metal plate fell from the Assembly Hall roof a few hours before the game and landed into some empty seats. The Hawkeyes had won three of four games heading into Feb. 18, but they have now suffered two straight defeats, surrendering 87.0 PPG on 54% FG in the pair of losses to Wisconsin and Minnesota. That puts Iowa at 15-10 ATS for the season and 8-6 (SU and ATS) in Big Ten play. But the club is a stellar 7-2 ATS in true road games this season, including 4-1 ATS as a road favorite. The Hoosiers are also slumping, posting a woeful 3-7 SU record (4-6 ATS) in their past 10 games to fall to 12-13-1 ATS on the season and 6-7-1 ATS in Big Ten action. Although Indiana is 12-3 SU at home this season, the club is an even 7-7 ATS at Assembly Hall and 4-6-1 ATS in the underdog role. This series has been pretty even in terms of SU records, with the clubs going 9-9 SU against each other since 2004, but the Hawkeyes hold a 14-4 ATS advantage over this timeframe. The Hoosiers have won five of the past seven meetings SU in Bloomington, including a 73-60 victory in the most recent matchup last March when the teams combined to shoot a paltry 38.5% FG and 3-of-27 threes (11%). Both teams have positive betting trends to consider on Thursday, with Iowa going 9-0 ATS after 2+ straight ATS defeats over the past three seasons, and Indiana posting an 11-2 ATS mark when playing only its third game in a week over the past two seasons. The one significant injury in this game is Iowa SF Melsahn Basabe, who missed his team's last game and is questionable for Thursday due to flu-like symptoms.
Which Big Ten team will pick up the much-needed victory on Thursday night? For the latest college basketball picks, check out The Platinum Sheet for all the StatFox Experts selections every week throughout the entire 2013-14 season. The StatFox Experts have been rolling in college basketball Best Bets this season with a stellar 59.4% ATS (234-160-13) mark, including a hefty 62% ATS (202-126-7) record since Nov. 23. StatFox Brian is at 68% ATS (53-25-3) in Best Bets for the season, 84% ATS (21-4-2) since Jan. 17 and 72% ATS (46-18-2) since Nov. 26. StatFox Dave is 62% ATS (50-31-1) for Best Bets this season and 67% ATS (33-16) since Dec. 18, while StatFox Scott is 57% ATS (45-34-3) for the season and 58% ATS (35-25-3) since Dec. 2. StatFox Gary is 56% ATS (45-35-2) on Best Bets for the season, and 60% ATS (39-26) since Nov. 29, while StatFox Zach is 54% ATS (41-35-4) on Best Bets this season, including 56% ATS (35-28-3) since Nov. 22.
Iowa has been an elite offense all season, averaging 83.5 PPG (7th in nation) on 47.1% FG (50th in Div. I) and 36.7% threes. The Hawkeyes are very unselfish (16.3 APG, 12th in nation) and do a great job on the boards with 42.0 RPG (4th in Div. I) and a hefty +8.7 RPG margin. Iowa's defense is also strong, allowing 68.7 PPG (134th in nation) on a mere 39.8% FG (29th in Div. I) and 30.2% threes (26th in nation), helped out greatly by its 5.2 BPG (33rd in Div. I). Iowa has a deep bench with 11 players averaging double-figure minutes and zero players logging 30 minutes per game. However, the team revolves around its top two scorers, PG Roy Devyn Marble (16.9 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 3.3 APG, 1.9 SPG) and PF Aaron White (13.2 PPG, 6.7 RPG). Marble has been outstanding in his past two games, averaging 22.5 PPG on 47% FG (6-of-12 threes) with 8.5 APG and 4.0 RPG. Although Marble shot horribly (1-of-14 FG) in last season's home loss to the Hoosiers, he still averaged 17.0 PPG and 7.5 RPG in the two defeats, pouring in 20 points in the loss in Bloomington. White is also coming off a big game in Tuesday's 95-89 loss at Minnesota when he scored 21 points (8-of-11 FG) with nine rebounds and three steals. White posted a solid 14.5 PPG (48% FG) and 6.5 RPG versus Indiana last season. If SF Melsahn Besabe (7.8 PPG, 6.3 RPG) is forced to miss his second straight game, look for PG Mike Gesell (8.1 PPG, 3.9 APG) and SG Josh Oglesby (7.0 PPG, 47% threes) to take on more of the scoring load. In Tuesday's loss, the duo combined for 29 points on 11-of-25 FG (5-of-14 threes), eight assists and just one turnover.
Indiana's offense was rolling during non-conference play with 82.2 PPG, but it has tallied only 66.1 PPG against Big Ten opponents. For the season, the Hoosiers rank 145th in the nation in scoring (72.3 PPG), 156th in shooting (44.6% FG) and a horrendous 304th in assists (10.9 APG). The biggest strength of this team is its ability to dominate the glass, as the Hoosiers rank 13th in the country in rebounding (39.9 RPG) with a +9.1 RPG margin. Indiana's defense is decent though, allowing 66.4 PPG (77th in Div. I) on a stingy 40.5% FG and 30.5% threes. PG Yogi Ferrell (17.9 PPG, 42% threes, 3.7 APG) has scored in double-figures in all but one game this season, and that was when he had nine points versus Northwestern. Ferrell is averaging 20.0 PPG on 44% FG in February, which includes three games with 24+ points. But the sophomore needs to do a better job running the offense, as he's recorded only four assists and five turnovers in the past three contests. Ferrell was a big key to his team's series sweep of the Hawkeyes last season though, averaging 14.0 PPG (9-of-16 FG), 4.5 APG and 3.5 RPG. While Ferrell handles the perimeter scoring, freshman PF Noah Vonleh (11.9 PPG, 9.3 RPG) does the bulk of his work in the paint, averaging 12.3 PPG and 9.3 RPG in six games this month. Vonleh also has a soft touch, knocking down 15-of-27 threes (56%) this season. Senior SF Will Sheehey (10.1 PPG, 4.0 RPG) is the other double-digit scorer for the Hoosiers, but he continues to have a rough season shooting the basketball, posting career-worst marks of 44% FG and 29% threes. But in last season's series with Iowa, Sheehey averaged a solid 10.5 PPG on 7-of-15 FG.