Iowa heads to Penn State Wednesday night for the second meeting between the Big Ten opponents. The Nittany Lions enter the contest 3-9 in the conference and 12-13 overall. The Hawkeyes are 11-2 in the league and 20-5 overall.
Iowa has won 4 of their last 5 games while Penn State has only won one of their last six. However, that one win for the Nittany Lions was against Indiana at home. 6 of the 9 Big Ten losses for Penn State have come by double digits. They did compete well against Maryland on the road and in home contests against Michigan and Wisconsin in addition to their home win over the Hoosiers.
That is evidence that this is a team that doesn't just roll over and die in most cases. If you don't show up, they can sneak up on you. Iowa did a good job of avoiding that in the first meeting between the two teams, routing the Nittany Lions 73-49. I'm not sure I expect the same outcome in Happy Valley.
It is not a signature of this team but Iowa has started slow in the past couple of games. I think that makes starting out well in this one very important. They're on the road against a pesky team that likes to be physical and is fearless. If you let the Nittany Lions hang around, they're a team that begins to believe and they play at a higher level than usual. The Hawkeyes need to battle against that kind of psyche by jumping on them immediately.
It is something they have not been able to do the last few games but they've done well throughout the year until then. I think that'll be the difference in this one; a fast start. I don't think a fast start leads to a blowout but it gives them the cushion to play with throughout the game when Penn State hangs tough and goes on a spurt or two.
Each game is usually a Peter Jok game or a Jarrod Uthoff game. Some games they both get going and their offense soars to astronomical levels. Against Minnesota, it was Jok, at least until Uthoff found his rhythm.
I think this is a Jarrod Uthoff game. He got going in the middle of the game against the Gophers and finished it off until the end. He hasn't been as sharp recently but it looked like he may have regained it last Sunday. My feeling is that it continues at Penn State Wednesday. Jarrod Uthoff game. He goes for over 25.
I feel that Iowa starts off fast and turns the tide of the last few games on the year. That cushion allows them to coast and put in overdrive for a victory. I don't think it'll be an overly convincing one. The Nittany Lions are physical and they don't quit. They play their best ball at home and they'll be up for a matchup against a top 5 team.
The Hawkeyes will get to the line a lot which will be a test since they've shot poorly from the charity stripe many times this year. If they shoot excellent from the line, it could be a blowout. But I don't see that happening. A hard-fought, grind it out win is what I expect and a terrific performance from Jarrod Uthoff in which he scores 25 or more.
PENN STATE 71