Iowa will look to bounce back from their first conference loss of the season when they return to Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sunday to host Northwestern. Iowa is now 16-4 overall and 7-1 in the league while the Wildcats are 15-7 overall with a record of 3-6 in the Big Ten.
The Hawkeyes last fell to Maryland 74-68. It was a game that was veyr winnable but they couldn't pull it out due to struggles at the free throw line, poor shooting, Jarrod Uthoff's inability to affect the game, and the foul trouble that bit Adam Woodbury.
Northwestern was dominated at home by Michigan State, to a tune of 76-45. The Wildcats had early optimism for the season but it is severely waning at this point.
I think this game is more about Iowa than it is Northwestern. The Wildcats are struggling and not near as talented as the Hawkeyes. They just suffered a beatdown at home while the Hawkeyes probably feel like they should have beaten the nation's 8th ranked team on the road.
This is one of those games where the superior team responds to the falters of the previous contest and the opponent walks in at the wrong time. It is a bad time for Northwestern to head to Iowa City. A sign of a great team is one that responds positively to adversity and tough losses. The mettle of Iowa will be tested as they return home from their first conference loss and I think they'll play with something to prove.
Jarrod Uthoff had his biggest struggle of the season thus far when they played in College Park. He was unable to get anything going on the offensive end and couldn't find his shot. Don't expect that to continue. I think he bounces back in a big, big way on Sunday against Northwestern. Again, wrong place at the wrong time for the Wildcats.
I don't see this one being close at all. Northwestern isn't awful but they're not that good, either. This will be more about Iowa coming out and responding to the first loss and the struggles they had in College Park. Jarrod Uthoff will have a big game as will Mike Gesell. They'll want to redeem themselves from Thursday night's letdown. With the Hawkeyes being as talented as they are, and experienced as they are, I think they come out determined to make a statement and do so.
This should not be pretty.