Iowa basketball fell to the Indiana Hoosiers 89-77 to drop their record 17-8 (8-6 conference) but the real casualty is CJ Fredrick going down in the second half with a scary-looking ankle injury which leaves a lot of questions for the Hawkeyes future.
The state of Indiana has not been kind to the Iowa Hawkeyes this year. Iowa basketball was trounced by Purdue early this month losing 104-68, allowing the Boilermakers to shoot 63% from the field and 55.9% from three. It was ugly but Mackey Arena is one of the toughest places to play in the Big Ten and Purdue was on a winning streak.
Against Indiana, it was more of the same. With 12 minutes left in the first half, Luka Garza hit a three to cut Indiana lead to three. Going into the under-12 media timeout, things looked alright. Luka Garza was playing well and having his way with the Indiana defense, Iowa was missing perimeter shots but they would start falling right? WRONG. Indiana rattled off a 12-0 run in THREE MINUTES. The Hoosiers made every shot. 7 in a row and never looked back.
Indiana would go on to win 89-77 and shot 52.4% from three. Two games in Indiana, two teams shooting over 50% from beyond the arc, two road losses. But the worst thing from this Indiana game isn’t the loss. It sucks to lose, but it’s acceptable. Iowa was underdogs, on the road in a hostile environment and it’s a Quad 1 loss. The real tragedy is the very serious-looking injury to CJ Fredrick.
CJ Fredrick will not return tonight due to an ankle injury. #Hawkeyes
— Iowa Basketball (@IowaHoops) February 14, 2020
Fredrick is a major X-Factor to this team, without Fredrick on the floor Iowa is two dimensional on the offensive end. Luka Garza is incredible, Joe Weiskamp has been awesome this season and was named to the Jerry West Award watch list last week. But as we have seen in the past, Iowa struggles without Fredrick there to stretch the floor. Look at Nebraska as an example, when Iowa played Nebraska without Fredrick (granted it was on the road), they shot 12.1% from beyond the arc. Scoring only 70 points and lost to one of the worst teams in the Big Ten. With Fredrick, Iowa scored 96 points shot 39.3% from beyond the arc and Joe Weiskamp scored a career-high 30 points.Do you think Weiskamp is able to score 30 points without Fredrick to draw attention away from him? Nope.
Fredrick is averaging 10.7 points per game on 49.7% from the field and 46.7% from three leading the Big Ten and is 5th in the NCAA. With Connor McCaffery and Joe Touissant on the floor, Iowa is lacking two guards who can shoot the ball already. Now assuming Ryan Krenier is slid into the starting lineup, Iowa has one player in the rotation who is a real threat to stretch the floor and knock down threes.
Iowa has dealt with injuries all season but this one may be the kill shot for this year’s Hawkeye team. With now only 7 healthy scholarship players and Iowa’s bench becoming shorter and shorter (and looking worse and worse when they are on the floor), this could turn catastrophic for the Iowa basketball season.
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Every game left on Iowa’s schedule is a Quad 1 game, we have to go on the road to a talented Minnesota team, Michigan State and then close out the season on the road playing in front of the Orange Crush who will want revenge after a hard-fought, chippy game in Carver. Penn State is one of the best teams in the Big Ten and comes into Carver, Ohio State has struggled in Big Ten play but has shown flashes of brilliance and could easily knock off the Hawkeyes at home.
With the bench dwindling and missing key players the February Fade may be here, but this time it’s not due to coaching, but one too many injuries to key players. (See tweet below)
To all Hawkeye fans, especially those who hate Fran, I present to you his current roster of players recruited on scholarship. Let me remind you the Hawks have been nationally ranked 5 weeks in a row, and have been top 5 in a loaded B1G virtually all season. pic.twitter.com/sqECqwH6gJ
— I Love Iowa Basketball (@ILoveIowaBball) February 14, 2020
This team battles, they grind and have the potential to be very talented but the loss of CJ Fredrick could just be too much to overcome. He has stepped up massively in his increased role with Bohannon out for the year and has proven himself game after game. But without him Iowa will not be able to outscore solid Big Ten opponents, the Hawks are going to need to step up on the defensive end and get key stops. Luka Garza is going to need to continue his elite play in the paint and continue to draw doubles. Joe Weiskamp is going to have to be flawless from here on out. Connor McCaffery is going to need to look to shoot more. Joe Toussiant is going to need to be a lot more aggressive in driving to the paint. There is a lot that needs to go right for the Hawkeyes to have any sense of relevance in the Big Ten or NCAA tournament and I’m just not sure that it can be done if CJ Fredrick is out for extended time.