Indiana 80, Iowa 77 (2OT): Another Almost Got 'Em

By RossWB on February 23, 2017 at 11:05 am
Close, but no cigar for Iowa hoops -- again
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Another road game, another close loss -- and missed opportunity for Iowa. At Michigan, Iowa blew a 9-point lead at the start of the fourth quarter and a 68-66 lead with a minute to go by getting outscored 20-9 in the fourth quarter. At Ohio State, Iowa was tied with five minutes to before, before losing by seven to the Buckeyes. At Purdue, Iowa had a 10-point halftime lead, before a catastrophic second half (protip: getting outscored 47-17 is bad) saw them lose by 20. Last night at Indiana, Iowa led 64-61 with three seconds to go in regulation before giving up a tying three-pointer. They led 73-68 in OT with two minutes to go, but got outscored 5-0 over the rest of the first overtime session. 

Winning just one of those games would have given Iowa much firmer standing on the NCAA Tournament bubble. Winning two of them would enable them to breathe much easier. Winning three would have them as a lock, most likely. And these games were all pretty winnable (well, maybe not Purdue, since that was much more than a breakdown of just a few bad plays). Unfortunately, Iowa can't exchange those close losses and almost got 'ems for a win or improved standing with the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee. And they're running out of opportunities to get more wins that matter. 

Iowa got another monster performance from Megan Gustafson, with 19 points on 8/14 shooting and 18 rebounds. Ally Disterhoft led Iowa with 23 points on 9/16 shooting and six rebounds, two assists, and two blocks. Kathleen Doyle had a strong game, too, with 10 points on 3/6 shooting, eight assists, three rebounds, and four steals. All five Iowa starters played 40+ minutes in this game, but Iowa still outscored Indiana 10-0 in bench points thanks to six points from Chase Coley and four points for Bre Cera.

For the game Iowa out-shot Indiana from the field (30/60, 50%, versus 32/77, 41.6%) and at the free throw line (12/19, 63.2%, versus 5/7, 71.4%), although they did miss a few too many freebies. Indiana hurt Iowa from deep, though, making 11/29 (37.9%), while Iowa made just 5/23 three-point attempts (21.7%). Turnovers were also a problem for Iowa. Iowa was actually more efficient in terms of scoring off turnovers than Indiana -- they scored 19 points off 11 IU giveaways, while the Hoosiers had just 15 points on 22 Iowa turnovers -- but even if the turnovers didn't result in points for Indiana, they were lost opportunities for Iowa, which hurts when Iowa was making 50% of their shots. A few less turnovers and a few more shot attempts could certainly have led to a few more points -- which would have led to a win. 

Iowa was one of the Last Four In on ESPN's most recent bracket (2/21) as a 10 seed. I wouldn't feel great about that still being true, though, because they lost to a team that was one of the First Four Out (Indiana); it wouldn't be stretch to see Iowa and IU swap places on the mock bracket. They are still listed on RealTimeRPI's mock recent mock bracket, as a 10 seed. Still, their NCAA Tournament hopes are precarious right now. The next game won't offer any opportunities to impress, either -- Iowa faces Wisconsin, tied for 12th in the Big Ten, on Sunday in the regular season finale. They're likely going to need a game or two in the Big Ten Tournament to firm up their NCAA Tournament credentials. 

NEXT: Iowa heads home to face Wisconsin (8-20, 2-12 Big Ten) on Sunday (2 PM CT, no TV/stream). 

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