Jan 9, 2014; Iowa City, IA, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes forward Roy Devyn Marble (4) is fouled by Northwestern Wildcats guard Drew Crawford (1) and forward Nathan Taphorn (32) during the second half at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Iowa beat Northwestern 93-67. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa @ Ohio State: Keys To The Game

Sunday will mark the second big road game the Iowa Hawkeyes will play this year.  It just so happens that it comes against another Big Ten team ranked in the top 5 in the country.  There is no question the opening road schedule doesn’t favor the Hawkeyes.  Just like the Wisconsin game, Iowa will have their hands full with a scrappy Buckeye team.  However, the Hawkeyes are no walk-in-the-park for opposing teams either.

Lets take a glance at some keys to the game on Sunday.

For Ohio State:

Balance the attack!

Just like Iowa, Ohio State is very balanced ball club.  They have 7 players averaging 7 or more points per contest.  Iowa does some things on the defensive side of the ball that can disrupt teams, so I think if Ohio State can go to different guys, like LaQuinton Ross, Lenzelle Smith Jr., and Amir Williamsit gives them a better chance to run away with it.  You typically know what you’re going to get from Shannon Scott and Aaron Craft, but the other guys are what makes Ohio State go.

Sam Thompson!

Much like the entire Ohio State team, Sam Thompson is like a ticking time bomb.  He  can stretch the floor with his three point shot and he can jump up and then out of the gym.  If Iowa lets Thompson hit a few jumpers and get a couple of put-back slams, it’ll only spell trouble for the Hawkeyes, but it’s exactly what the doctor ordered for the Buckeyes.

For Iowa:

Control runs!

I mentioned that Ohio State is a ticking time bomb.  They have the ability to pop off whenever and so many guys are capable of starting it.  Whether its Craft with a steal and a lay-up or Ross with a couple of three point baskets, it doesn’t matter.  If you’re Iowa you have to control the runs Ohio State will make.  Controlling the runs they make will also control the crowd noise.

Take care of the ball!

Shannon Scott and Aaron Craft are two of the best on-ball defenders in the entire country.  They have the ability to turn you over at the drop of a hat.  Iowa has struggled with turning the ball over recently, 15 against Northwestern last night, so this is imperative if they want to defeat the Buckeyes in their own place.  If they turn the ball over less than 10 times, it gives them a much better chance at getting a W.  Craft and Scott will get steals, both are averaging about 2 a game, so if they limit the unforced turnovers, that will do the trick.

This one figures to be a heck of a game.  Ohio State is coming off a heartbreaking loss at Michigan State, so they are looking to get back on that winning track.  Iowa is coming off a blowout win against Northwestern, so they’ll look to continue that success.  Ohio State is still a top 5 team in the country, while Iowa sits at #20.  If Iowa wants to prove it’s a contender this is the type of game that they need to win.

This game is slated for 12:30 p.m CT on Sunday in Columbus.

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