By Justin VanLaere
It’s been almost a week and a half since Iowa’s last game, will they be rested or rusty? We’ll find out tonight as the Hawkeyes meet the Cornhuskers for the first time ever in B1G play, and the first time since 1976.
Iowa Hawkeyes (11-9; 3-4) vs Nebraska (10-9; 2-6)
POMEROY RATINGS: Iowa – 98, Nebraska – 131
REALTIMERPI: Iowa – 110, Nebraska – 103
CBS RPI: Iowa – 120, Nebraska – 98
MASSEY RANKING: Iowa – 95, Nebraska – 101
Tip Off: Wednesday, January 26th, 2012; 6:02 PM CST
Iowa City, IA; Carver-Hawkeye Arena, 15,400
Radio: AM 600, 1040, and 800. Sirius: 92 | XM: 191
Iowa leads 12-7 in the all-time series.
LINE: Iowa is a 5 point favorite at home. Pomeroy predicts a 7 point Iowa win.
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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 – Bo Spencer, 6’1″,196 lb, SR
G – Brandon Richardson, 6’0″, 190 lb, SR
G – Caleb Walker, 6’4″, 205 lb, SR
G/F – Toney McCray, 6’6″, 215 lb, SR
F – Brandon Ubel, 6’10″, 235 lb, JR
Here’s a look at a graphical comparison of the teams from statsheet.com
Nebraska and Iowa rank #1 and #2 respectively in regards to conference SOS. Both have played an absolutely brutal schedule so far in the B1G, so it’s not surprising that both teams are sub .500 in conference at this in the season.
KEYS TO GAME FOR IOWA:
- The Rested and the Wary. Iowa is coming back from nine days off, a well-rested crew. On the contrary, Nebraska is now halfway done with their B1G schedule. The Huskers haven’t had more than 4 days off in a row since the conference slate started. They’ve had the busiest schedule in the conference (and the most difficult). The Cornhuskers are an above average defensive team, but the main component of defense is effort. I’m not sure the Huskers have the legs to play lockdown D against Iowa’s uptempo offense for an entire 40 minutes. Iowa will go on some runs and that will be the deciding factor.
- Up the Tempo. Nebraska isn’t Bo Ryan slow, but they are slow. The Badgers and Huskers combined to score 95 points up in the Kohl Center a few weeks ago. If Iowa can get out on the break, they’ll be able to build a lead against an anemic Nebraska offense. They aren’t a very good shooting team and they don’t get a lot of possessions (note their sub 1.0 point per possession stat). They don’t get to the line at very good clip and they don’t shoot the long ball well. If Iowa scores their season average, I don’t see how they lose this game.
- Stay Home on D. If you’ve watched the Huskers, they run an odd style of motion offense. It’s almost like a weave that they run side to side – a borderline 4 corners offense. I would actually pick Todd Lickliter’s offense over Doc Sadler’s offense, as much as that pains me to say. Iowa needs to stay home on the D end of the court and not overplay the cuts. Be patient and make them work, but don’t wear yourself out, especially considering they turn the ball over so much. I think 3-2 zone will work perfectly for Iowa. Spencer is going to put up some numbers, but you can’t let guys like Richardson and McCray beat you.
PREDICTION: If you’ve followed Nebraska Basketball under Doc Sadler, they are team that steals wins. Texas knows about this all too well. By that, I mean Nebraska isn’t an easy out. I akin them to Northwestern, except the Cornhuskers have actually won a conference title and made it to the NCAA Tournament. Iowa has to go into this game focused and cannot overlook the Huskers. I think Iowa will be rested, not rusty. I think Nebraska is ready for a break – they get a week off after this game. The Huskers have been better since they have healed up, but they still aren’t a great team. Expect the Hawkeyes to control the tempo of the game; I like Iowa in this one. FINAL SCORE: Iowa 71, Nebraska 61