Preview: No. 6 Iowa vs. No. 11 Northwestern
The skinny on Iowa: The Hawkeyes figure to get a lift from the return of guard Mike Gesell, who has missed the last four games with a foot injury. This is a young and exciting Iowa team that arrives in Chicago having won six of its last eight games. Roy Devyn Marble recently became a 1,000-point scorer. He’s just one of several weapons on this Hawkeye team that likes to run and has improved defensively.
Key number: 683, offensive rebounds for Iowa, the most in the Big Ten in league play.
The skinny on Northwestern: The Wildcats bring an eight-game losing skid to the Big Ten tourney, not winning since Feb. 2 vs. Purdue. And every loss has been by at least 10 points. The season went south after Drew Crawford and then Jared Swopshire suffered season-ending injuries. Reggie Hearn and Dave Sobolewski are solid weapons, but they can’t carry this team.
Key number: 55.7, points per game for NU in league action. That’s the fewest in the league.
This season: Iowa won both meetings vs. Northwestern this season, taking a 70-50 decision in Evanston and a 71-57 win in Iowa City.
What’s next: The winner will meet No. 3 Michigan State on the last game of Friday. It’s interesting to note that the Spartans eliminated Iowa from last year’s Big Ten tourney.
|About Tom Dienhart||BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.|
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