By Justin VanLaere
Winners of four out of their last five games, the Iowa Hawkeyes head north to take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Here’s a quick look at how the teams match up.
Iowa Hawkeyes (9-6; 1-1) at Minnesota Golden Gophers (12-3; 0-2)
POMEROY RATINGS: Iowa – 99, Minnesota – 46
REALTIMERPI: Iowa – 117, Minnesota – 38
CBS RPI: Iowa – 149, Minnesota – 18
MASSEY RANKING: Iowa – 109, Minnesota – 41
Tip Off: Wednesday, January 4th, 2012; 8:06 PM CST
Minneapolis, MN; Williams Arena, 14,625
TV: BTN HD; BTN2GO.com
Radio: AM 600, 1040, and 800. SiriusXM 190.
Minnesota leads the series 100-88.
LINE: Iowa is an 8.5 point underdog on the road. Pomeroy predicts a 9 point Iowa loss.
Live Chat for the Game – RIGHT HERE
G – Devyn Marble, 6’6”, 194 lb, SO
G – Matt Gatens, 6’5”, 212 lb, SR
G – Eric May, 6’5”, 217 lb, JR
F – Melsahn Basabe, 6’7”, 225 lb, SO
F – Zach McCabe, 6’7”, 232 lb, SO
G – Julian Welch, 6’3″, 195 lb, JR
G – Austin Hollins, 6’4″, 185, SO
G – Maverick Ahanmisi, 6’2″, 192, SO
F – Rodney Williams, 6’7″, 200, JR
F – Ralph Sampson III, 6’11”, 241, SR
Here’s a look at a graphical comparison of the teams from statsheet.com:
KEYS TO GAME FOR IOWA:
– Check the Transfer. Julian Welch has picked up a lot of the slack since All-Big Ten Trevor Mbakwe went down for the season due to injury. He’s a really nice shot from the outside, but isn’t particularly that great of a slasher. Iowa’s guards need to be aware of where he is at all time, as he shoots over 47% from behind the arc.
– Go at Ralph. Ralph Sampson III is going to go down as one of Minnesota’s most prolific shot blockers in the history of the program. Because of that, and the inside presence he brings, Iowa needs to go at him and get him in foul trouble. Beside Rodney Williams, he’s really the only Gopher that rebounds the ball either.
– Keep the Crowd Tame. Iowa took out the crowd when they played at the Kohl Center last time out, it certainly contributed to their win. The Hawks need to keep Minnesota’s intensity and that of the crowd as low as possible. If Rodney Williams starts jumping over everyone, it could get loud and ugly quickly.
– Rebound and Run. Minnesota is not a great rebounding team, but their team defense is still a big staple (thanks to Tubby Smith). Their perimeter defense is worse that Iowa’s (that’s not a typo) – however, Iowa shoots the three ball at one of the worst clips in the nation. So the key is for Iowa to get out an run, avoid letting the Gopher set up in their tough man to man defense.
PREDICTION: Iowa has lost the last six meetings against the Gophers. Unfortunately for Iowa, I think the trend continues. Then again, any team that can go into Madison and beat the Badgers has potential to hang with any team in the nation. Iowa is going to get a ton of extra possession in this game, if they can turn those into points, they have a shot. FINAL SCORE: Iowa 64, Minnesota 69