Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Men's BB: Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Northwestern Wildcats

http://content.answers.com/main/content/wp/en/7/7c/Iowa_Hawkeyes_Logo.svg.png VS.

GAME INFO: Tues., Feb. 19th, 2008 - 8:05 CST - Carver Hawkeye Arena; Iowa City, IA
IOWA: 11-15 (4-9); RPI: 167 / Northwestern: 6-16 (0-12); RPI: 213

TV COVERAGE: Big Ten Network - DirecTV (Ch. 220) / DISH Network (Ch. 439) - Dave Revsine and Shon Morris (former Wildcat player and current Associate AD/Director of Athletic Development for Northwestern) will call the action.
LINE - Iowa is a 8.5 point favorite at home; 114.5 is the over/under.

Here was my mindset the day after the last Iowa/Michigan game at Carver:
"Iowa just lost to a pathetic Michigan team at home. That it was the most frustrating game of the year thus far. Iowa took a HUGE step backwards last night (and even in the Minny game). They had so many great strides leading up to that. The team has shown they can play with almost anyone in the Big Ten. Then to go out an lay an egg in the 2nd half was just pathetic... and I wouldn't be so despondent if it wasn't for the fact that it was against Michigan... AT HOME... the same Michigan team that has lost 11 of 13 and the only wins coming against a Claxton-less PSU and a hapless NW team.

It was a sad state of affairs last night. Not the saddest I've ever seen, but the saddest thus far this year... esp. considering the progress this team had made up towards this point in the season.

It's a step back.

Take a look at what I am seeing here:

BEAT MSU at home
Had Plenty of Chances to BEAT Purdue at home
BEAT UM on the road
LOST to Indiana on the road
BEAT PSU at home
Should have BEAT Purdue on the road
BEAT Ohio State at home
LOST to Wisky at home, but had chances to win it
STEP BACK in a loss to Minny on the road
HUGE STEP BACK in a loss to Michigan

Iowa was building momentum and playing good, focused BB for a long stretch there. Then came the MN game, followed by the UM game. Both were steps back, the 2nd being more severe than the first.

I don't care what anyone was saying pre-season. We've seen what this team can do and it's not right to use pre-season expectations as an excuse for losing to an extremely poor Michigan team at home after dominating the first 15 minutes of the game.

It was a classic case of a program taking a step back, and now we need to see if this Iowa team has the resolve to take that same step forward starting Tuesday night against NW. I have faith they will."
After the UM game, I was pretty disheartened... but let's fast forward to today.

The Kitty Cats made life miserable for Iowa under the direction of the Hawkeyes' previous coach. Winless Wildcat teams have not been one that Iowa likes to face. Northwestern hasn't won a Big Ten game yet (queue 2007).

Coach Lickliter has everything under control down in Iowa City. The Hawks overlooked the Wolverines. Things "were coming too easy" for them (Justin Johnson and Lick's words) and UM came out in the second half and dominated Iowa. Gorney was extremely ticked off after the game, and I do believe he is going to blow up against NW (esp. if Lick puts him at the FT line against the NW zone D). These guys took that loss last week personally and had the weekend to get ready to put . They've had time to think about it. I don't think for one second that Iowa is going to take the Wildcats for granted. Yes, the Wildcats are at the basement of the Big Ten, and Iowa "should" win this game. But I think you are going to see an Iowa team that imposes its will tonight.

Iowa, while not stacked in the talent area, has more horses that Northwestern. Couple that with the game being in Carver, and the fact that Iowa will not be overlooking the Wildcats, I see a victory for Iowa in this one.

1.) Don't get lulled to sleep by the Princeton offense. Stay active and play solid support defense.
2.) Find holes in the zone, put Gorney at the free throw line and let him create (man, I can honestly say I never thought I would type that in my entire life, but Seth has really impressed me the second half of the season).
3.) Be smart with the basketball and don't force things.
4.) Dominate the boards.
5.) Get Tate involved often and early; Cy needs to be sure to use some chalk on his hands before the game, however.

IOWA - 66

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