Up nine points with less than 12 minutes remaining, Iowa seemed to be cruising late Thursday. The Hawkeyes were making shots and getting stops. Their five-game winning streak appeared all but extended via what would've been another home victory, this time over Indiana.
But then things fell apart.
Suddenly, and surprisingly, Iowa couldn't do anything offensively despite having the nation's top-ranked adjusted offensive efficiency rating. The Hawkeyes went 11 minutes without a field goal, Indiana went on a 29–8 run, and Archie Millers' Hoosiers left Carver-Hawkeye Arena with an 81-69 win that pushed their record to 9-6 overall, 4-4 in the Big Ten.
"Our offense was stagnant," said Iowa senior Luka Garza, the National Player of the Year favorite who finished with 28 points and 12 rebounds. "We're better than that."
The Hawkeyes struggling to score in the final 11-plus minutes, and missing 18 of the 23 3-pointers they attempted in the game, was a surprising and out-of-nowhere development. But their inability to get stops down the stretch while allowing Indiana to score 50 second-half points and shoot 49.1% from the field for the game, unfortunately, was not. It's always been the defensive side of the ball where Iowa is most vulnerable. It's why it's reasonable to be skeptical about whether Fran McCaffery's team, with an adjusted defensive efficiency rating that ranks 90th nationally, can actually make the Final Four of the 2021 NCAA Tournament despite having college basketball's best player and its best offense. Are the Hawkeyes capable of playing on the final weekend? Yes, absolutely. But, against good teams, they simply cannot afford cold-shooting efforts (like the one they produced against Indiana) because they're not reliable enough defensively to endure such things and win.
Iowa dropped to No. 7 in Friday morning's updated CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings. The Hawkeyes' next game is scheduled for next Friday at Illinois.
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Friday's Top 25 And 1 rankings
|Gonzaga's perfect record is headlined by double-digit wins over Iowa, Kansas and Virginia. The Zags are projected to be double-digit favorites in every game between now and Selection Sunday.||--||24-0|
|Baylor's perfect record is highlighted by victories over Kansas, Texas Tech and Illinois. The Bears are the only undefeated team left that plays in a power conference.||--||20-1|
|Villanova's resume is highlighted by wins over Texas, Seton Hall and Marquette. The Wildcats will take a seven-game winning streak into Saturday's game with Providence.||--||16-5|
|Michigan's body of work features wins over Wisconsin, Minnesota and Maryland (twice). The Wolverines' only loss came last weekend at Minnesota.||1||19-2|
|Texas' most impressive wins are road wins at Kansas and West Virginia. Both of the Longhorns' losses are considered Quadrant 1 defeats.||1||16-7|
|Kansas' resume includes victories over West Virginia, Texas Tech and Creighton. Three of the Jayhawks' four losses are to schools ahead of them in the Top 25 And 1.||1||19-8|
|Iowa's five-game winning streak was snapped Thursday by Indiana. The loss dropped the Hawkeyes' record in the first two quadrants to 7-3.||3||20-7|
|Six of West Virginia's nine wins have come against top-100 KenPom teams. All four of the Mountaineers' losses are considered Quadrant 1 losses.||--||18-8|
|Houston's body of work is highlighted by victories over Texas Tech and Boise State. The Cougars will take a five-game winning streak into Saturday's game at Temple.||--||21-3|
|Alabama's eight-game winning streak includes double-digit victories over Florida, Kentucky, Arkansas and LSU. The Crimson Tide have made 52 3-pointers in their past three games.||--||21-6|
|Minnesota owns Quadrant 1 wins over Iowa, Michigan, Ohio State and Saint Louis. All four of the Golden Gophers' losses have come inside the first quadrant.||--||13-14|
|Texas Tech's resume is highlighted by a road win at Texas. Three of the Red Raiders' four losses are to teams ahead of them in the Top 25 And 1.||--||17-8|
|Wisconsin has eight wins in the first two quadrants - among them victories over Minnesota and Rutgers. The Badgers will take a two-game winning streak into Saturday's game with Ohio State.||--||16-11|
|Virginia is 5-0 in the ACC after Saturday's 85-50 victory over Clemson. The Cavaliers have won their five league games by an average of 15.4 points.||--||17-6|
|Tennessee's three-game winning streak was snapped Tuesday at Florida. The loss dropped the Vols to 2-2 in Quadrant 1 opportunities.||--||17-7|
|Saint Louis' resume features wins over NC State and LSU. The Billikens have not played since Dec. 23 because of COVID-19 issues inside the program.||--||14-6|
|Ohio State's three-game winning streak was snapped Tuesday by Purdue. All four of the Buckeyes' losses qualify as Quadrant 1 defeats.||--||18-8|
|Illinois owns four Quadrant 1 victories -- among them wins over Minnesota and Purdue. Four of the Illini's five losses qualify as Quadrant 1 defeats.||--||20-6|
|Oregon improved to 4-1 in the Pac-12 via Saturday's 79-73 victory at Utah. The Ducks' resume also includes wins over Stanford and Seton Hall.||--||18-5|
|UCLA's body of work is highlighted by wins over Colorado and Arizona. The Bruins are alone atop the Pac-12 standings with an 8-0 league record.||--||17-8|
|Virginia Tech's resume is highlighted by wins over Villanova, Clemson and Duke. The Hokies will take a three-game winning streak into Wednesday's game with Boston College.||--||15-5|
|Creighton is 2-1 in Quadrant 1 opportunities with a win over UConn. The Bluejays are on a two-game losing streak after Wednesday's loss to Providence.||--||18-7|
|Missouri's resume is highlighted by wins over Illinois and Oregon. The Tigers will take a two-game winning streak into Saturday's game at Tennessee.||--||15-8|
|Florida State is 4-1 since losing at home by double-digits to UCF. The Seminoles will take a three-game winning streak into Saturday's game with Clemson.||--||15-5|
|Boise State has won 13 straight games since a season-opening loss to Houston. Eleven of those wins have come by double-digits.||--||18-7|
|Purdue is 7-5 in the first two quadrants with zero additional losses. The Boilermakers will take a four-game winning streak into Friday's game with Michigan.||--||18-8|