By Justin VanLaere
The Hawkeyes enter the B1G conference slate at 8-5, probably a couple losses more than most expected. However, Iowa is playing better in recent weeks thanks to finally getting out of the “game every three day” part of their schedule. The Hawks kick off the conference schedule against the 10-3 Purdue Boilermakers. This is the third straight year the Boilers have opened the B1G on the road.
Iowa Hawkeyes (8-5) vs. Purdue Boilermakers (10-3)
POMEROY RATINGS: Iowa – 127, Purdue – 23
REALTIMERPI: Iowa – 120, Purdue– 64
CBS RPI: Iowa – 163, Purdue – 69
MASSEY RANKING: Iowa – 138, Purdue- 45
Tip Off: Wednesday, December 28th 2011; 8:36 PM CST
Iowa City, IA; Carver-Hawkeye Arena, 15,500
TV: BTN HD
Radio: AM 600, 1040, and 800. SiriusXM 92.
Purdue leads the series 83-71.
LINE: Iowa is a 4 point underdog. Pomeroy predicts an 8 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 – Lewis Jackson, 5’9″, 165 lb, SR
G – Ryne Smith, 6’3″, 189 lb, SR
G – Kelsey Barlow, 6’5″, 200 lb, JR
F – Robbie Hummel, 6’8″ 215 lb, SR
F – Sandi Marcius, 6’9″, 257 lb, SO
KEYS TO GAME FOR IOWA:
– Hummel and Smith and the Three Ball. The two seniors are both ranked in the Top 5 in the B1G from behind the arc. Last time Iowa went to West Lafayette, Smith went crazy on them. As any casual Iowa basketball fan can attest, Iowa has a penchant for letting outside scorers rain triples at will. Purdue is making over 8 three balls a game. If Iowa can’t do a better job closing on the shooters, the Boilers will put up double-digit treys in this one. I don’t know who guards Hummel when you’ve got McCabe and Basabe on the court. You’d like to stick Matt on him, but that leaves the 4 or 5 guarding a wing player… so there are going to be some match-up problems for Iowa.
– Gatens and Oglesby and the Three Ball. I really see this game turning into a half court battle. If that’s the case, Iowa will need to make their three point shots. Matt and Josh are 40-108 combined from behind the arc. Compare that to the Hummel/Smith connection at 70-162, and you’ll see that the Hawks will need to be wearing their sharp shooter hats in the game tonight.
– It’s Devyn Marble’s Team. He’s just 14 games into his second year of college, but at age 19, Devyn is being looked to as the go-to-guy for this team. He’s creating, he’s slashing, he’s finding open guys, but more importantly he’s improving. He’s not turning the ball over. He has a long way to go in becoming an All-B1G player, but he is playing inspired basketball right now. Marble needs to continue to do the things he has in the last 5+ games. The competition is about to step up, will he? We’ll find out tonight. Iowa’s chances certainly improve if he does.
PREDICTION: A lesser Iowa team beat a better Purdue team last time these two teams played inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. It’s not far-fetched to think Iowa has a chance in this contest. If Iowa can stop the outside shot, they will be in this game. I think, in the end, LewJack and Hummel will be too much for the Hawkeyes. Ryne Smith goes nuts from behind the arc. Purdue’s defense is too good to allow Iowa to run up and down the court, this game will be decided in the half court. FINAL SCORE: Iowa 68, Purdue 77