Friday, February 22, 2008

Men's BB: Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Michigan State Spartans (Take Two) VS.

GAME INFO: Sat., Feb. 23, 2008 - 1:00 CST - Breslin Center; East Lansing, MI
IOWA: 12-15 (5-9); RPI: 169 / #17 Michigan State: 21-5 (9-4); RPI: 13

TV COVERAGE: ESPN; Dave O'Brien and Doris Burke will call the action.
LINE - Michigan State is a 15.5 point favorite at home.

The last time Iowa beat Michigan State up in East Lansing, River Phoenix was alive and Unforgiven won the Oscar for best picture... (hint, that's over 15 years ago). Twelve consecutive losses for the Hawks up at the Breslin Center. This year doesn't look to be a change from the norm. Massacres ensued in the Alford Years... 20+ point losses were the standard.

1/29/94 L 84-87 East Lansing, MI
1/7/95 L 68-69 East Lansing, MI
1/20/96 L 60-62 East Lansing, MI
2/12/97 L 67-69 East Lansing, MI
2/7/98 L 64-75 East Lansing, MI
1/21/99 L 65-80 East Lansing, MI
2/18/01 L 70-94 East Lansing, MI
3/2/02 L 79-93 East Lansing, MI
3/5/03 L 54-82 East Lansing, MI
2/4/04 L 72-89 East Lansing, MI
1/21/04 L 55-85 East Lansing, MI
2/17/07 L 49-81 East Lansing, MI

Iowa has looked pretty poor the last three ballgames, losing to Minnesota and Michigan while squeaking one out against the winless in conference Wildcats of Northwestern. Michigan St has also had a lull in their season. Before annihilating Penn State at home on Wednesday, MSU had lost 3 of it last 4 (albeit all were road games against some tough competition).

Drew Neitzel has been very inconsisent this year. Most pundits had him pegged as the Big Ten POY. It doesn't look like that is going to be the case. Look for Tony Freeman to be in his jock all game once again in this game (just he did in the win in Iowa City).

Iowa has a tough, tough challenge ahead of them. They are clearly the smaller dog in this fight and will have to execute brilliantly to stay in the ballgame. The defense is going to be the deciding factor. I have a feeling this game is going to look a lot more like the Iowa/Ohio State game in Columbus than the Iowa/MSU game in Iowa City. Iowa has only won 2 road games this year - Michigan and UNI.

1.) Limit turnovers. Iowa has had single digits turnovers twice this season. They'll need one of those in this game.
2.) Get Jeff Peterson back on the court. If he is healthy, Iowa needs his gap slashing ability on the court. Even if he has his small share of turnovers (expected when you are a frosh and handling the ball as much as he does), what he can do on the offensive side of the ball will go a long way in helping Iowa.
3.) Freeman needs to be all up in Drew Neitzel's face. If he can play close to the level he did in the first meeting, Drew will be a non-factor.
4.) Get on the boards. Iowa has done a poor job on the boards as of late and they need to control them if they want to keep it close.
5.) Play within the offense. That means getting it inside when Tate is posted up. That means having Freeman take "good" three point attempts. That means Peterson being smart with the basketball. That means not heaving up a bad shot with 1.5 seconds left on the shot clock.

Iowa - 56
Michigan State - 78

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