Our fact or fiction question of the week centers around the Iowa basketball team. They've won five in a row to finish 8-5 in the non-conference portion of the schedule, including a couple good wins over Iowa State and Northern Iowa. Can they continue the momentum into the conference schedule?
Fact or fiction, Iowa goes .500 or better in Big Ten play?
Fiction. Right now, I have them pegged at the 7 or 8 win mark even though I think their Big Ten slate is fairly easy. The freshman are getting good experience right now, but going up against a Big Ten opponent every night out is different than seeing ISU in between two cupcakes.
I just think the play of the freshmen will be up and down and that will cause Iowa to win some games they shouldn't, but also lose some games they shouldn't. It's going to an up and down season, but the young guys will benefit from it in the long run.
Fiction. I agree with Dylan that they're going to win a few games they should not, and lose a few that they should not. However, they are beginning to click and the Big Ten is not nearly as loaded as it has been. Outside of Indiana and Wisconsin, it's a bunch of average to above average squads although you could make an argument for Purdue and Michigan State to an extent. Pair that with a perhaps fortunate slate, and there are ingredients for the Hawkeyes to come out 9-9 or better.
What I actually think trips them up is the first few weeks of the conference portion when they attempt to integrate Tyler Cook back into the flow of things, both on the offensive and defensive end. They'll always score enough under Fran McCaffery but they've found some defensive chemistry. But we can't forget how much Cook was struggling on that end of the floor. They are obviously better with him on the floor but they have to learn again how to play with him on the floor without upsetting the apple cart. I think that could take a few weeks yet again and there will probably be games that slip away because of it. I think that will be the demise.