4 storylines for IU’s game vs. Iowa

1. Juwan Morgan is ready play; Zach McRoberts is not
Juwan Morgan is on track to play vs. the Hawkeyes, IU coach Archie Miller said on Wednesday afternoon, giving the Hoosiers an added boost entering their second ranked matchup in as many games. Morgan left Saturday’s game at Michigan State with a left shoulder injury sustained in a loose-ball scrum, exiting with six minutes remaining in the first half. Although he didn’t return to the court for the second half, Morgan rejoined his teammates on the bench and has seen his medical outlook gradually improve as the week has unfolded. At the same time, fellow captain Zach McRoberts is not expected to be available. McRoberts, who has been banged up nearly all year, missed the Michigan State game and played only one minute at Rutgers after suffering an ankle injury in late January.

2. Which Iowa defense is it?
The Hawkeyes mixed defenses, shifting between zones, presses and man alignments to stymie Michigan in a 74-59 win in Iowa City on Friday. It was an exceptional defensive performance, one that saw Iowa hold its opponent to merely .81 points per possession. It was also an outlier, a potential aberration inside of another season full of poor defense from Fran McCaffery’s program. Iowa ranks last in Big Ten play in adjusted efficiency, while opponents are scoring 72.9 points per game. That figure ranks 13th in the conference and 216th nationwide. Iowa is allowing league opponents to shoot 54.8 percent inside the arc — the worst mark in the conference.

3. Can the Hoosiers keep up?
As poorly as Iowa has played defensively, at times, it has flourished as one of the nation’s most explosive offensive teams. For the season, Iowa is ranked 10th in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency. In conference play, the Hawkeyes rank third in 2-point shooting percentage (50.0), fourth in 3-point shooting percentage (37.7) and second in free throw percentage (75.6). They’ve been especially potent lately, and across their past five games, the Hawkeyes are shooting 50.3 percent from the field and 45.7 percent from 3-point range. Iowa is also averaging 18.6 assists and 11.2 turnovers in that span. Indiana demonstrated a capacity for orchestrating a patient halfcourt offense and hitting open perimeter shots in Saturday’s win at Michigan State. Can the Hoosiers do it again?

4. A solid one-two punch
Forwards Tyler Cook and Luka Garza are giving Iowa one of the best offensive frontcourts in the country this season. Cook, a 6-foot-9 junior, leads Iowa with 16.2 points per game, doing the majority of his work in the paint. Per Hoop-Math.com, Cook is taking 62.1 percent of his shots at the rim, where he’s making 72.7 percent of his attempts. He had a streak of 10 consecutive games with at least 15 points and five boards snapped on Jan. 20. Garza, a 6-foot-11 sophomore, is averaging 21.2 points and 5.6 rebounds across the past five games. During that span he’s shooting 60.6 percent from the field and 83.3 percent from the line. Garza is also drawing defenders out to the perimeter, where he’s making 34 percent of his 3-point attempts.