Indiana likely to lose No. 1 ranking, but looks to keep Big Ten’s top spot
By Andy Proffet Post-Tribune correspondent March 1, 2013 6:46PM
Indiana's Cody Zeller, center, attempts to break free of the trap put on by Minnesota's Maverick Ahanmisi (13) and Elliot Eliason during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Tom Olmscheid)
Updated: April 3, 2013 6:17AM
BLOOMINGTON — With Cody Zeller on the roster, Indiana has had just one losing streak.
The Hoosiers will try to avoid a second set of consecutive losses when they host Iowa on Saturday.
IU will almost certainly drop back out of the No. 1 spot in the polls thanks to Tuesday’s loss at Minnesota. But the Hoosiers (24-4, 12-3 Big Ten) can maintain their lead in the conference standings with a win over the Hawkeyes (18-10, 7-8).
The Hoosiers lost three straight in mid-January last year. But since then, they’ve answered every defeat with a victory in the next game.
And Zeller, for one, could be looking for a better performance against Iowa than he had against the Gophers, when he had just nine points on 2-for-9 shooting.
“They were physical with him,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said after the Minnesota loss. “Extremely physical with him.
“Cody’s certainly capable of a lot, and I think he’ll bounce back just fine.”
Zeller has scored in double figures in all three games he’s played against Iowa, with double-doubles in the last two. That includes a 19-point, 10-rebound performance in this season’s Big Ten opener in Iowa City, a game the Hoosiers won 69-65.
“I don’t look at it like he’s going to play extra hard because they lost the last game, or they’re going to go to him more,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said Friday. “When you prepare for Indiana, you have to prepare for him, as well as a number of other players.”
Indeed, the Hoosiers are the only team in the nation with four 1,000-point scorers in the starting lineup — Christian Watford (1,650 points), Jordan Hulls (1,278), Victor Oladipo (1,021) and Zeller (1,020).
For the Hawkeyes to pull the upset, they’ll need a big game from Roy Devyn Marble. Iowa’s leading scorer will also be asked to run more of the offense with freshman point guard Mike Gesell (foot) out at least until the Big Ten Tournament.
Marble had 18 points and a team-high four assists in Iowa’s 58-48 win over Purdue on Wednesday, the Hawkeyes’ fourth win in five games.
“A lot of scorers that are playing point want to have the ball because they want to be able to shoot it whenever they want. In (Marble’s) case, that’s not who he is,” McCaffery said. “If he’s playing the point, he is trying to run our offense.
“He’ll recognize he needs to get a shot off or when we need him to score, but he’s not a guy that constantly hunts his own baskets.”
Freshman Anthony Clemmons will also see plenty of minutes at point guard; he leads the Hawkeyes with 92 assists.
Indiana will honor Calbert Cheaney before Saturday night’s game. On March 4, 1993, he became the Big Ten’s all-time leading scorer, a record he still holds. He finished his career with the Hoosiers with 2,613 career points, and is now Indiana’s director of basketball operations.