IOWA CITY, Iowa - Iowa's NCAA Tournament resume could take a hit Sunday if it loses at Nebraska. With the way things have gone this season, "if" is the operative word with these Hawkeyes.
It's not that Iowa is incapable of winning at Pinnacle Bank Arena (2 p.m. CT, BTN). To the contrary, the Hawkeyes are favored by a point.
The trepidation associated with having confidence in Iowa and the reason it heads to Lincoln on the bubble is its inconsistencies. One week, the Hawkeyes (16-10 overall, 7-6 Big Ten) are blowing out ranked Maryland and the next they're losing at lowly Northwestern.
The Huskers (13-13, 5-9) might be the most disappointing team in the Big Ten based on preseason expectations. You can make a case for Michigan as well but the Wolverines have been hit hard by injury.
Nebraska's Terran Petteway earned first-team all-conference honors last season after pacing the league in scoring at 18.1 points. He's averaged 18.3 through 26 games this season. Shavon Shields has led Nebraska in rebounding (6.2) and ranked second in points (15.7).
"Petteway and Shields, those are their two big guys. We have to contain them," Iowa's Jarrod Uthoff said.
Iowa knocked off the Huskers, 70-59, Jan. 5 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Shields scored 25 in that meeting but the Hawkeyes held Petteway to 11.
"They're a very good defensive team and well coached," said Iowa's Aaron White, who scored 23 in the teams' first meeting. "It starts and ends with Shields and Petteway."
Uthoff has led Iowa in scoring the last two contests. He netted 14 Thursday in Iowa's 81-47 blowout of Rutgers, which halted a two-game skid.
The Hawkeyes' RPI sat at 58 on Saturday. A loss at No. 112 Nebraska would hurt.
"Every win is big but when you go through a mini losing streak you always want to get back on track," Iowa Center Adam Woodbury said. "We were able to do it (against Rutgers) now we've got to take care of Nebraska."