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Up next for Indiana: Tonight vs. Iowa

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Hoosiers look to bounce back

Thursday, February 27, 2014 - 6:46 am

Up next for IU: Tonight vs. Iowa

When: 9 p.m.

Where: Assembly Hall

On the air: ESPN

Records: IU (15-12, 5-9 Big Ten), Iowa (19-8, 8-6)

Expected starters for the Hoosiers: Will Sheehey – 6-7 senior forward; Noah Vonleh – 6-10 freshman forward; Yogi Ferrell -- 6-foot sophomore guard; Troy Williams – 6-7 freshman forward; Stanford Robinson -- 6-4 freshman guard

Update: Indiana has to get its second-half problem fixed -- fast. Its inability to sustain things goes beyond the simplistic view that, at least on Tuesday night, Wisconsin made second-half shots it didn't in the first half.

With the exception of Northwestern, the Hoosiers blow big leads at an alarming rate, and they do it at home and on the road. Coaches do a great job with their pregame plan. It has produced double-digit first-half leads on multiple occasions lately. But something happens at halftime. Blame youth, adjustments, defensive breakdowns, offensive careless, lack of toughness, poor communication, weak leadership or the alignment of the stars and moon. It doesn't matter. In the end, it comes down to this: Do what needs to be done. More and more in this up-and-down season, it's the other guys doing that.

Against Wisconsin, senior Will Sheehey was a five-minute stud and a 30-minute no-show. Can't happen. He has to be a difference-maker -- yes, that includes rebounding -- the rest of the way. At least IU has Yogi Ferrell, whose offensive improvement from last year rates among the best in America.

The good news is forward Noah Vonleh took 15 shots. He should take at least that many every game from now on. The bad news is freshman Troy Williams continues his all-over-the-map play. Some games he delivers (see Northwestern). Some game he doesn't (no points in 22 minutes, plus some shaky defense, at Wisconsin)

Coach Tom Crean's decision to end forward Hanner Mosquera-Perea's suspension at two games generated controversy. Mosquera-Perea was suspended after being arrested for driving while intoxicated. First, we don't know all the team and university consequences Mosquera-Perea is facing. Beyond that, you have three factors to consider: He's a good kid who did something dumb (which makes him like everybody else); he's a good kid who has a problem and needs help (that's what good coaches, programs and universities provide); and he's a high-maintenance troublemaker who needs to be cut loose right away. By all accounts Mosquera-Perea is a good kid who, if he does what needs to be done, will be a better person because of this. That matters most. Everything else is just hot air.

Iowa is struggling. It has lost three of its last five games. Its defense has faded, giving up 79 and 95 points the last two games. Roy Devyn Marble is one of the Big Ten's best all-around players. He averages 16.9 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists. Aaron White averages 13.2 points. They combined for 45 points in Tuesday's loss at Minnesota.

Coach Tom Crean: “Iowa is very hard to get ready for, and that's why they are so successful. They have excellent players and Fran (McCaffery) is one of the top coaches in our league and in the country. He does such a great job of going from game to game, doing whatever it takes to win that game.

“They are extremely unselfish with one another and cause so many issues with their versatility. We have a great task in front of us, but we have a group that works very, very hard. We are going to have to be very good in transition defense, active on the glass and keep drivers from creating havoc while making the simple plays on offense.

“We have to challenge shots. They are as good as anyone in this league at getting out (on the fast break) after makes or misses. So we have to be good there.”