University of Iowa Preview
Date: Sunday, January 5th
Location: Iowa City
2017-18 Record: 14-19 (4-14 Big Ten Conference)
2018-19 Record: 11-3 (0-3 Big Ten Conference)
Coach: Fran McCaffrey
Last year was one the Hawkeyes would probably like to forget. They ended the season in a tie for eleventh place in the conference. That included ending the regular season with a 1-6 record. It all came to an end with a loss to conference tournament champion Michigan in the second round of the tournament.
Not a whole lot was expected out of Fran and the Hawkeyes coming into this year. Many picked them in the lower quarter of the conference and not doing much outside of that. But, they have surprised many by not only going 11-3 but beating teams such as Pittsburgh, Iowa State, and Oregon. The polls had them ranked as high as #14 in the nation. In fact, those 11 wins put them undefeated in non conference field.
Their conference record has been a different story. They are currently 0-3 with losses to Big Ten powers Wisconsin, Michigan State, and most recently Purdue. The Purdue loss being the one that they possibly should have won.
They are lead by junior Tyler Cook. The 6’9” forward is averaging 17.4 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 2.9 rebounds per game. He cranked out 24 points in the loss to Purdue and could very well reach that against the Huskers. Tyler will also push Nebraska on defense.
Next to tyler is Luka Garsa, another forward that can fill the paint well. The 6’11” forward is averaging 12.7 points and 4.8 rebounds per game for the Hawkeyes. He has missed the past three games with an ankle injury and is a game time decision against the Huskers. He is a huge presence under the basket and Iowa could have very well beat Purdue if he played. The chances of Nebraska pulling off the road win goes up significantly if he is out on Sunday.
Also of note is is freshman Joe Wieskamp. This 6’6” guard is averaging 11 points and 4.6 rebounds a game. He is young and is still developing but will be a threat on the court Sunday against the Huskers. Expect to see his name come up more as the years go on.
Iowa is a team that has a very good record and some nice wins. They are also a team that can have scoring droughts like the Huskers and occasionally have problems with turnovers. If Nebraska comes out hot and pushes Iowa into situations where they make mistakes then it could be a nice Big Ten road win for the Big Red.
A good clean game by James Palmer Jr. and Isaiah Roby will be needed as we can’t have them out due to foul trouble early on. The possible size difference could hurt the Huskers if Iowa gets on a streak. This is also a home game for Iowa which could bode well if the students show up quickly after winter break.
At this point I could see the game going either way. Both teams have played well this year but also are mistake prone enough to have it shift to whichever team can take advantage. I am going to go with Nebraska winning but it wouldn’t surprise me if Iowa sends the Husker home with another conference loss.
Universty of Nebraska 73 University of Iowa 68