The #21 ranked Iowa basketball Hawkeyes travel on the road to Williams Arena to take on the unranked Minnesota Golden Gophers.
WHO?: Iowa Hawkeyes (17-8, 8-6 Conference) at Minnesota Gophers (12-11, 6-7 Conference)
WHEN?: 12:00 PM; 2/16/20
WHERE?: Williams Arena; Minneapolis, Minnesota
WHERE TO WATCH?: FS1
Iowa basketball has struggled on the road in Big Ten play this year, but to be fair almost every team has struggled on the road in the Big Ten this year, the only team that is over .500 on the road is #13 Penn State. Minnesota is similar to Indiana in that this a game that Iowa could win and realistically should win at full strength, however, the Iowa Hawkeyes are far from full strength.
The Minnesota Gophers were trounced as the Hawkeyes raced to a 72-52 win when they came into Carver-Hawkeye Arena but that Hawkeye team looks much different than the current roster. Jordan Bohannon was “healthy” and despite not scoring a point, made his presence felt with a team-high 10 assists. CJ Fredrick who is all but certain to miss Sunday’s game had 10 points on 4/7 shooting and added 2 assists.
Minnesota is a talented team and similar to Iowa is led by an excellent center in Daniel Oturu. Big Ten Network seems to have a debate a day on who is the better player between Luka Garza and Oturu. And as good as Garza has been, Oturu does give Garza a run for his money. Averaging 20.1 points per game ranking second in the Big Ten and leads the Big Ten in rebounding with 11.5 rebounds per game. Oturu also leads the Big Ten in blocks with almost three per game. Garza was able to get his against the talented Oturu last time.
The Minnesota backcourt is no slouch either and led by Marcus Carr who adds 15.7 points per game and adding a team-high 6.7 assists per game.
Again, Iowa will play a team that struggles from beyond the arc but then again that hasn’t stopped opposing teams from shooting double their season average from beyond the arc in the past. Minnesota shoots 32.1% from beyond the arc on the season and just 28.6 in Big Ten play which ranks dead last.
Worth noting is that Iowa has not won at Minnesota since January of 2015 but every game has been down to the wire including a double-overtime Hawkeye loss.
It seems as it’s been a few games in a row where Iowa opponents have had career nights shooting and exploded for huge games. Minnesota can not be more of the same and Iowa needs to find a way to win on the road and this game presents a great chance for it. But everyone needs to show up, especially Joe Weiskamp. With the absence of CJ Fredrick no Hawkeye can take the night off and we need to be clicking on all cylinders.
How they Match-Up Statistically
Iowa Offense: 79.0 PP/G (20th in NCAA, KenPom Adjusted 4th)
Minnesota Offense: 70.5 PP/G (201st in NCAA, KenPom Adjusted 28th)
Iowa Defense: 72.4 PA/G (265th in NCAA, KenPom Adjusted 113th)
Minnesota Defense: 66.2 PA/G (89th in NCAA, KenPom Adjusted 60th)
How they Match-Up in Rankings
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Minnesota Gophers: 31
Iowa Hawkeyes: 30
Minnesota Gophers: 40
AP Top 25:
Iowa Hawkeyes: 21
Minnesota Gophers: Unranked
Iowa Hawkeyes: 36
Minnesota Gophers: 37
Vegas Prediction (based on line): Minnesota 77, Iowa 72.5.
My Prediction: Hawks by a MILLION! (if I was going to ever pick against the Hawks this would be it, I am a broke individual regarding Hawkeye basketball so maybe they’ll surprise me)