Mackenzie Holmes and the #14 Hoosiers return the favor against Caitlin Clark and the #4 Hawkeyes Thursday night.

Mackenzie Holmes had 24 and Sara Scalia had 25 as #14 Indiana handily defeated the #4 Iowa Hawkeyes 86-69 at Assembly Hall in Bloomington.
Feb 22, 2024; Bloomington, Indiana, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes guard Caitlin Clark (22) defends against
Feb 22, 2024; Bloomington, Indiana, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes guard Caitlin Clark (22) defends against / Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

In the movie, "The Replacements," head football coach Jimmy McGinty asks the team what they fear the most. Quarterback Shane Falco says, "Quicksand." When you struggle as hard as you can, but the more you struggle, the faster you sink. The #4 Hawkeyes fell into quicksand tonight against the #14 Indiana Hoosiers, losing 86-69.

After falling flat against Illinois, the Hoosiers needed to play better, and they did just that. Indiana played better perimeter defense, contesting and closing out on three-point shots. The Hoosiers were tremendous against Caitlin Clark. Despite being one assist from a triple-double, she needed 26 shots to score 24 points. Indiana's rotations were tremendous. Chloe Moore-McNeil chased Clark around for 40 minutes, fighting through screens and pin-downs to contest Caitlin's every shot attempt.

Iowa mustered only 11 points in the second quarter and went scoreless the first four minutes of the third. The Hawkeyes would not go down without a fight, cutting Indiana's lead to eight points at the end of the third quarter. Yarden Garzon made two key baskets at the beginning of the final frame; Iowa never got close again.

What it all means.

Two games separate Iowa, Ohio State, and Indiana. However, the Buckeyes have won 13 consecutive games with no signs of slowing down. Iowa plays Ohio State in the season finale, but Indiana needs the Buckeyes to drop its last three games to win the regular season title. Ohio State also won against Iowa.

The loss might cost the Hawkeyes a number-one seed in the NCAA tournament if they don't also make a deep run in the Big Ten tournament. All three teams want to be top-seed and make a deep run in the tournament. If Ohio State wins the regular season title and makes a run in the conference tournament, they might be a number one seed.

Iowa hosts Illinois on Sunday, while Indiana visits Northwestern on Monday.