GAME INFO: Sat., Feb 2, 2008 - 5:05 CST - Carver Hawkeye Arena; Iowa City, IA
IOWA: 10-12 (3-6); RPI: 147 / Ohio State: 15-6 (6-2); RPI: 20
TV COVERAGE: Big Ten Network - DIRECTV (Ch. 220) / DISH Network (Ch. 439) - Roger Twibell and YMCA rec. league all-star, Tim Doyle will call the action.
OFFICIAL GAME NOTES - VIEW HERE
LINE - Ohio State is a 5 point favorite on the road
Well, this is the start of a stretch in the season where Iowa gets 4 out of 5 games at home. Personally, I would think Iowa can get at least 2 wins out of the bunch, but I don't see 4 wins completely out of the picture either (Ohio St, Wisc, @MN, Mich, NW).
This is the 9th consecutive game that Iowa's RPI has increased (albeit from playing a stronger SOS, for sure).
Last time out vs. tOSU, Iowa was destroyed in EVERY facet of the game. It was ugly... real ugly. It was so ugly, Iowa could have ended up losing that ballgame by 50 if Matta didn't call of the dogs. Good thing he and Lickliter are buddies.
There's no denying that Ohio State is a SOLID ball club. They have a terrific senior PG in Jamar Butler, who is going to have the ball in his hands almost every possession and can do what the situation calls for (be it make a sweet dish, hit the floater, or can the trey). Staying on the offensive side of the ball, Kosta Koufos, a frosh, is the other go-to-guy on the team. He is 2nd on the team in PPG (about 14), but he does take about 1/3 of Ohio State's shots. After these two, there are several players that, on any night, can put up a lot of points. That's why this Buckeye offense can be so dangerous at times.
Ohio State's defense is one of the best in the Big Ten. Teams don't get to the line against Ohio State. In fact, the Buckeyes hold the #1 ranking in the nation when it comes opponent's FT Rate. And when opponents GET to the line, they only shoot 63%. Additionally, opponents don't shoot well vs. the Bucks either (29% from 3 pt land and 43% from 2 pt range, both in the Top 20 in the nation). That said, they allow their opponents to get off a lot of 3 balls (42% of shots taken vs. Ohio State are from behind the arc). So if Iowa can hit the threes they are allowed to get off, the game could swing Iowa's way.
Keys to the Game for Iowa
1.) Limit Turnovers - A repeat of the Purdue game (22 TOs) and Iowa loses by at least 25.
2.) Jeff Peterson is going to need to slash and dish. Iowa needs to cut through the Ohio St D to open up the floor.
3.) Rebound. Seth is in the Top 5 in the Big Ten in boards. Iowa will need to get as many of them as possible, esp. on the defensive side to limit the 2nd chance points.
4.) Tate needs to get back into the groove of things. He was invisible against Purdue.
5.) Control the tempo and hit the open shots when they are available.
The game is winnable, as Ohio State has looked very beatable in the last few games. Iowa plays better than last time they faced the Buckeyes, but...
Iowa - 57
Ohio State - 64