Ensuring it ends will take a considerably better defensive effort Thursday night in Bloomington than it had Tuesday in Minnesota.
"It's a quick turnaround," point guard Mike Gessell said. "That's the beauty of basketball. You have a tough night like this and you get another chance to prove yourself right away."
That won't help the 20th-ranked Hawkeyes (19-8, 8-6) win a Big Ten title, having fallen to the middle of the pack with consecutive losses to Minnesota and Wisconsin.
They lost 79-74 at home to the Badgers on Saturday despite having had a week off due to the Feb. 18 postponement of the Indiana game after an 8-foot long metal plate fell and damaged empty seats. Iowa then got lit up in a 95-89 loss to the Golden Gophers by yielding a 61.2 percent shooting night to coach Richard Pitino's team.
Still, Iowa coach Fran McCaffrey didn't leave Minneapolis with any new concerns about his team's ability at that end of the court.
"We can blame our defense if we want to, but at some point you have to respect your opponent and say, 'You know what? Richard had a good game plan. They executed it. They moved it. They got open, and they made the shots. More power to 'em,'" McCaffrey said.
Minnesota became the first team to crack 50.0 percent from 3-point range against Iowa this season with an 11-of-19 night. The Hawkeyes have held opponents to 39.8 percent shooting and 30.2 percent from beyond the arc, both good for second in the conference.
That reputation left forward Aaron White questioning things a bit more than McCaffrey.
"We're not as crisp as we were a couple games ago," White said. "I don't know what's the reason behind it, but we've got to figure it out because that's where you have to hang your hat and that's how you win games."
Offensively, Iowa was its typically imposing self, led by top scorer Roy Devyn Marble's 24 points and White's 21 and nine rebounds. The Hawkeyes' 78.6 points per game in conference play is 5.3 higher than next-best Michigan State.
That total has been helped the last two games by the emergence of Josh Oglesby. The junior guard scored 16 at Minnesota and matched a season high with 17 against Wisconsin, reaching double figures in consecutive games for the first time since the third and fourth games of his career.
He's seen an uptick in minutes with starting forward Melsahn Basabe playing just one minute in the last two games due to illness. His status against Indiana (15-12, 5-9) is uncertain.
The Hoosiers' slim tournament hopes have been silenced by losing four of their last five. They return home after sandwiching a win at Northwestern between losses at Purdue and Wisconsin.
Tuesday's 69-58 defeat in Madison was especially painful after holding the Badgers to 19 first-half points.
"It's a 40-minute game, and there's other teams around the country that lose some leads, too," coach Tom Crean said. "Unfortunately we've lost a couple of those, but the other teams are pretty good. That's one of the reasons when you are at home and they have the guys that can shoot the ball that way, it becomes an issue."
Leading scorer Yogi Ferrell had a game-high 24 points while Noah Vonleh added 18.
This is the only regular-season game between the schools this year after Indiana won both meetings last season as a top-five team.
Most recently, Marble scored 20 while Ferrell had 19 in Indiana's 73-60 home win March 2.
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