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Minnesota Basketball-Previewing Iowa

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This will be a blood bath.

Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

Six seasons ago, the Iowa Hawkeyes lost their last game of the regular season to Minnesota by 35 points. The loss sealed without any doubt the end of Todd Lickliter's Iowa coaching career. Since that game the programs have gone in divergent directions. While Iowa has improved each year under Fran McCaffery, the Gophers are now playing the worst basketball of the modern era. Today, the Hawkeyes enter this game 4th in the nation, and 10-2 in conference play. Minnesota has a 13 game losing streak and is still looking for its first conference win.

Provide Me the Essentials to View this Game

Who are the Gophers Playing

Iowa Hawkeyes

What time are they playing

6:30pm CST

Where are they playing

Carver-Hawkeye Arena

Can I watch the game on TV

Yes. BTN.

Can I listen to the game on the radio

Yes. 1500ESPN.

Tell me more about the Opponent

Iowa is an excellent basketball team this year. The Hawkeyes are tied for first in the Big Ten, have tons of different scoring weapons, and have fully bought into McCaffery's system. They play uptempo but have the lowest turnover rate in the conference. The Hawkeyes are below average in the number of threes taken per game, but have the second highest made percentage in conference. In other words, the Hawkeyes are excellent at finding open threes.

On offense, Iowa averages almost 1.15 points per possession. They do not do this by being lights out shooters, but rather through an attacking brand of basketball that would be incredibly fun to watch if the team playing it didn't have Iowa on their jerseys. Jarrod Uthoff leads all scorers, averaging over 18 points per game. He is a matchup nightmare for the Gophers, who have not found a competent defender at the three all season. Peter Jok is scheduled to return for this game, but he is just one of many different Hawkeye weapons.

On defense, Iowa is third in the conference is defensive points per possession. They allow less than a point per possession, and do so with excellent three point defense. The Hawkeyes are not a great team defending the two, and there may be some opportunities for the Gophers to get points attacking the basket.

Keys to the Game

  1. Defend the 3. Every game there is a new candidate for the player who only scores a bunch against the Gophers. This week, it's Nicholas Baer! Iowa is a deadly three point shooting team, and the Gophers will have to defend the entirety of the shot clock to prevent Iowa getting open looks.  
  2. Avoid Foul Trouble. Jordan Murphy and Bakary Konate must stay on the court as much as possible this game. Minnesota does not have anyone else that can match up inside against the Iowa frontcourt. If Joey King is guarding Uthoff for extensive amount of time, this game will be a laugher in a hurry.
  3. Get Lucky. Perhaps Fran will be kicked out the game two minutes in for bumping a ref. Maybe the entire Hawkeyes team will contract food poisoning (hope not). Whatever it is, Minnesota will need a deux ex machina to pull out a win on the road against a top 5 team.

Predictions

  • Iowa by 20. 80-60.
  • Iowa plays zone for 90% of the game because McCaffery is not stupid.
  • Pitino fires an assistant coach in the parking lot.