No. 1 Indiana held tough at home against Iowa on Saturday, knowing it needed a big win to have a shot at keeping the top spot in the AP Top 25.
It was an ugly game at Assembly Hall, but the Hoosiers (25-4, 13-3 Big Ten) managed to beat the Hawkeyes (18-11, 7-9) by a score of 73-60 on Saturday night.
Indiana was paced by Cody Zeller, Yogi Ferrell and Victor Oladipo, who each chipped in double figures while combining for 51 of Indiana's 73 points. Zeller had a 22-point, 10-rebound double-double, and Oladipo chipped in 10 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
In an ugly game for both sides, the Hoosiers shot just 38.9 percent from the field, and that included a 2-of-14 mark from the three-point line.
To make matters worse, Jordan Hulls and Christian Watford combined to shoot 0-of-15 from the field for just seven points. However, a win is a win, and after a loss to Minnesota earlier in the week, Indiana will take all the "W's" that come its way.
Although Iowa will drop into having a losing record in conference play, it refused to go away. Devyn Marble paced the Hawkeyes with 20 points, but Iowa was equally as bad from the field (38.2 percent from the floor and 1-of-13 from three) en route to its ninth conference loss.
We've got you covered with Twitter reaction and some analysis after another exciting Big Ten basketball game.
Matt Krygar posted this picture of Zeller's block on Marble, and it is a great look at what Zeller is going to bring to the NBA on defense one day:
It was a frustrating night for Iowa fans, categorized by this tweet from Jon Miller of Hawkeye Nation:
Iowa breathed on Zeller.Foul called— Jon Miller (@HawkeyeNation) March 3, 2013
Brian Malone posted this tweet about Christian Watford's parents, who take a long trip to see their son's games at Assembly Hall:
Christian Watford's parents drive 1,024 miles roundtrip for every Indiana home game.Drive up from Birmingham, AL. Wow. #hoosiers— Brian Malone (@ChiCityBrian) March 3, 2013
Hulls had a rough night on Saturday, but it's not the first time he's struggled against Iowa. Lucky for the Hoosiers, they likely won't see the Hawkeyes in the NCAA tournament. As noted by Zak Keefer, Hulls has really struggled against Iowa this year:
Here's an absurd stat for you: In two games against Iowa this season, Jordan Hulls is 0-for-16 from the floor. #iubb— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) March 3, 2013
Zach Osterman closes us out with this tweet, noting that Iowa hasn't been a pushover, despite its losing record in conference play:
Number of Big Ten losses Iowa has suffered this season by double figures: Three. Michigan, Illinois and now Indiana have done it. #iubb— ZachOsterman (@ZachOsterman) March 3, 2013
Although Iowa still has a way into the NCAA tournament (winning the Big Ten tournament), it appears as though the Hawkeyes won't be going to the Big Dance. However, they have played well in spots all season and will be an interesting team to watch in the next few seasons.
For Indiana, it's all about preparing for the tasks that lie ahead.
Senior night against No. 16 Ohio State will be a heated game after a 13-point win over the Buckeyes earlier this season, and that will lead to a road showdown with No. 4 Michigan on March 10 to close out the regular season.
It's unclear if Indiana will drop in the standings after the loss to Minnesota. Gonzaga struggled against BYU, while Duke and Miami both had losses this week. All Indiana can do is control its own destiny by winning the conference tournament.
If that happens, a No. 1 seed will surely be in tow and then the Madness of March will begin.