By Justin VanLaere
The Iowa Hawkeyes (winners of five out their last six games) host one of the best team in the nation this afternoon inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The #6 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes will face a confident Iowa team in front of one of the better crowds in recent memory. This is the 150th time these two teams have played each other. Iowa has lost six straight games to Ohio State. The Buckeyes have an impressive streak of 56 consecutive wins over unranked teams. The last time these two teams played, Iowa lead by 6 at half but couldn’t hold on, losing by 5.
Iowa Hawkeyes (10-6; 2-1) vs Ohio State (14-2; 2-1)
POMEROY RATINGS: Iowa – 95, Ohio State – 1
REALTIMERPI: Iowa – 102, Ohio State– 4
CBS RPI: Iowa – 149, Ohio State- 11
MASSEY RANKING: Iowa – 109, Ohio State- 5
Tip Off: Saturday, January 7th, 2012; 2:06 PM CST
Iowa City, IA; Carver-Hawkeye Arena, 15,500
TV: BTN HD; BTN2GO.com
Radio: AM 600, 1040, and 800.
Iowa leads 75-74 in the all-time series.
LINE: Iowa is an 11.5 point underdog at home. Pomeroy predicts a 15 point Iowa loss.
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 – Aaron Craft, 6’2″, 190, SO
G – Lenzelle Smith, Jr, 6’4″, 205, SO
G – William Buford, 6’6″, 220, SR
F – Deshaun Thomas, 6’7″, 225, SO
F – Jared Sullinger, 6’9″, 265, SO
Here’s a look at a graphical comparison of the teams from statsheet.com, the two teams are basically mirror images of each other in regards to stats…
IOWA’S BIG TEN TEAM STAT RANKINGS (through ALL games):
IOWA’S BIG TEN INDIVIDUAL STAT RANKINGS (through ALL games):
KEYS TO GAME FOR IOWA:
- Continue the Terrific Perimeter D. Whether it’s the increased communication, better rotation, or just pure luck – Iowa’s opponents have been shooting awful from behind the arc lately. Wisconsin shot 3-28 and Minnesota shot 4-23 from 3 point land. Couple that with the fact that last time out Ohio State shot an ugly 2-17 from the outside, it’s possible that trend continues. If it does, Iowa will be great position in this game.
- Basabe vs. Sullinger. The last time these two faced off, it was a real treat. Mel and Sully went toe to toe, point for point, rebound for rebound. Sullinger is one of the best players in the nation, if Basabe can duplicate his efforts from last year, it will take the pressure of Marble and Gatens to have to do too much. Sullinger was in foul trouble in the loss to Indiana on the road, something like that can’t hurt Iowa if it happens today.
- Limit Mistakes and Execute. No this isn’t a line from Kirk Ferentz, not verbatim at least. There’s a reason Ohio State is ranked in the Top 10 and is a favorite to win the B1G. They’re good – really good. Iowa needs to be focused and needs to play mistake-free basketball, very similar to how they played on the road vs. Wisconsin. They will need an effort like that to have a chance in the ballgame. Empty Iowa possessions and allowing Ohio State 2nd chance points will severely handicap the Hawkeyes’ chances.
- Slash. Penetrate. Dish/Score. If you watched the Ohio State – Indiana game, you saw the Hoosiers expose Ohio State’s defense. Indiana was able to get into the lane, get the shots they wanted, get bunnies, etc… That puts some focus toward Devyn Marble and Bryce Cartwright this afternoon – those two need to get into the lane and make OSU’s bigs make quick decisions on their defensive rotation.
PREDICTION: It’s tough to bet against the Hawkeyes right now. They are playing pretty good basketball on both ends of the court, and if they can put together 40 minutes of solid basketball, the wins are going to continue to come. The last time Iowa played the #1 Pomeroy-rated team in the nation, they won on the road. Can they accomplish the same feat at home today? I think they come up short to an incredibly talented Buckeye team. Hawks beat the spread, but not Ohio State. FINAL SCORE: Iowa 69, Ohio State 77