IOWA CITY, Iowa - With 14 teams in the Big Ten spread out over half of the country, scheduling quarks pop up. Iowa and Ohio State will experience one on Saturday.
The schools meet for the second time in the last two and a half weeks when the Buckeyes invade Carver-Hawkeye Arena (1 p.m. CT, ESPN). Iowa lists the game as a sellout.
To prepare you for this Big Ten tilt of teams with three wins apiece in the league, we bring you our Pre-game Primer:
Records, Rankings, RPI: The Hawkeyes are 12-5 overall, 3-1 in the Big Ten, unranked and started Friday at 55 in the RPI. Ohio State is at 14-4, 3-2, ranked No. 25 in the coaches poll and at 51 in the RPI.
Previous Meeting: The Hawkeyes tipped off the Big Ten season with a 71-65 victory in Columbus on Dec. 30. It was their second win in a row at Value City Arena.
Iowa out rebounded the home team, 37-29. The Buckeyes shot just 42.1 percent from the floor, which included a woeful 25-percent (6-24) performance from behind the arc.
Statistical Leaders: Scoring - Aaron White, Iowa, 15.8; D'Angelo Russell, OSU, 18.1. Rebounds - White, Iowa, 7.1; D'Angelo Russell, OSU, 4.6. Assists - Mike Gesell, Iowa, 3.8; Shannon Scott, OSU, 7.3.
Common Opponents: Iowa and Ohio State each won by two points at Minnesota, the Buckeyes' victory coming in overtime. The Hawkeyes knocked off North Carolina on the road while OSU fell to the Tar Heels in Chicago.
Skinny: This game features teams with strengths in different places. Iowa hurts teams with a productive front court while the Buckeyes are powered by their guards.
The Hawkeyes took advantage of their size in the first meeting, grabbing 15 offensive rebounds and getting to the foul line. Iowa outscored OSU, 17-11, from the line, taking eight more shots from the charity stripe.
Iowa also contained Russell, the top freshman in the conference. He shot a miserable 4 of 16 from the floor, including 1 of 8 on threes.
For the Hawkeyes, it's the same game plan. Exploit undersized OSU up front and limit the visitors transition game by getting back on defense and crashing the glass. You also could see Iowa throw more zone defense at the visitors, who don't shoot it consistently well from distance.
Conversely, the Buckeyes must do a better job of limiting Iowa's second-chance opportunities. They also might benefit from playing zone but need to rebound better out of that alignment than they did during the teams' first meeting.
Prediction: IOWA 78, Ohio State 72