Rutgers (11-5, 0-3) at Iowa (9-7, 1-2)
Date & Time: January 8th, 3:36 p.m. CT
Location: Carver Hawkeye Arena (Iowa City, IA)
- The Hawkeyes are coming off two overtime games including a double OT loss to Nebraska on Thursday.
- The meeting is the fourth between Iowa and Rutgers, with the Hawkeyes taking the first three by an average of 20 points per game.
- New Rutgers coach, Steve Pikiell, will be making his second visit to Iowa City, IA. He coached Stony Brook back in 2013 when they visited the Hawkeyes in the round of 16 of the NIT.
- Rutgers started the season 11-1 before losing the last four. Three of those games were in Big Ten play.
- The Knights are coming off a 28 point loss in East Lansing and this game against Iowa will be their third Big Ten road game of the four they've played.
- The Knights have four players that average double figures in Nigel Johnson, Corey Sanders, Deshawn Freeman, and Mike Williams.
- Peter Jok scored 29 points in the teams' only meeting last year in Iowa City. Iowa won that game 90-76.
Jordan Bohannon (FR): Bohannon has been a pleasant surprise in his freshman campaign. He took over for Christian Williams as the starting point guard back in late November and hasn't looked back. In the last three games he is averaging 9.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game. He's also taking very good care of the ball. He had three turnovers against Nebraska, but those are the only turnovers he's had in Big Ten play. He's stepped up and hit big shots in the last two games for Iowa and has proven he's fearless as a true freshman.
Isaiah Moss (FR): Moss got off to an incredible start on Thursday against Nebraska. He scored 15 points in the first half and really kept the Hawkeyes in the game at the break. He had just two points in the second half and overtimes, but Peter Jok was scorching hot. Moss has the ability to fill it up really quick and with himself, Jok, and Bohannon on the court at the same time it gives the Hawkeyes a lot of guys that can get hot at any moment.
Peter Jok (SR): Jok had 34 points against Nebraska on Thursday and received some high praise from Tai Webster after the game, saying that Jok was one of the best scorers he's ever played against. Jok was 12-24 from the field and 5-11 from three in Iowa's double OT loss to the Huskers. The 34 point outburst is his second highest of the year. He's topped 30 points three times and 40 points once so far in his senior season. Jok had 29 points in Iowa's win over Rutgers last year.
Tyler Cook (FR): Cook made his return to the court in Iowa's first Big Ten game against Purdue a few weeks ago. He's struggled in the first half of all three games, but has performed well in the second halves of games. He was in foul trouble against Nebraska, but posted 14 points on 6-8 shooting and hauled in 7 rebounds. Once Cook puts an entire game together the Hawkeyes get another weapon at their disposal.
Cordell Pemsl (FR): Pemsl has been one of the best in the Big Ten when it comes to efficiency. He's second in field goal percentage making 67% of his shots. Wisconsin's Ethan Happ leads the league in field goal percentage. Pemsl is averagine 8 points and 6 rebounds in Big ten play and has scored in double figures in two of the three. He continues to be solid for the Hawkeyes down low.
Nigel Johnson (RSJR): Johnson is the teams leading scorer this season, averaging 12 points per game. The Kansas State transfer is the best three point shooter on the team shooting 38% from beyond the arc. He had 15 points in their loss against Michigan State on January 4th, but struggled against Penn State, scoring just 2 points in a 13 point loss to the Nittany Lions.
Corey Sanders (SO): Sanders was the teams' leading scorer last season, but is fourth early on this season. He scored 22 points against Michigan State in their last game and if you allow him into the lane he has the ability to finish and create his own shot. He can be a bit up and down in the scoring department, but when he's on, he's as good as anyone. He also is tied for the team lead averaging 1.6 assists per game.
Deshawn Freeman (RSJR): Freeman leads the team in rebounding, averaging 8.2 per contest. He also has a team high 51 offensive rebounds for the season. He's turning the ball over at a high clip and hasn't scored in double figures yet during the Big Ten season. He's also been in foul trouble in all three Big Ten games. That could be a big reason why his high for minutes in Big Ten play is 22 against the Spartans.
Eugene Omoyuri (FR): Even though Omoyuri starts, he won't play much. His high for minutes in Big Ten play is 17 against Michigan State. He scored just three points in that game on 3-4 at the free throw line. He's 0-9 from the field in Big Ten play.
C.J. Gettys (SR): The seven footer, much like Omoyuri, hasn't seen big minutes in any Big Ten game. But he gives the Knights a big body in the middle at 7' and 280 pounds. He's second on the team averaging 1.1 blocks per game and had 10 points in 20 minutes against the Spartans last week.
Things to Watch
I'm going to be looking at how Iowa handles Corey Sanders and his ability to get to the rim. I thought they did a decent job against Nebraska keeping Webster and Glynn Watson out of the lane, but Watson ended up hurting them from the outside. Sanders has the ability to penetrate and create much like both Husker guards do. I believe we see Iowa use a lot of zone against a team that doesn't shoot the three particularly well. As a team they are shooting just under 30% from three.
If Iowa does play mostly zone, they are going to need to box out. Rutgers leads the conference in offensive rebounding, averaging 15 per game with Freeman leading the way averaging 3.2 offensive rebounds per game. Candido Sa also averages 2 per game. The Hawkeyes handled Ed Morrow and Michael Jacobson well on Thursday, but they'll have another tough task ahead of them today. Iowa out rebounded Nebraska by 9 on Thursday, but came up just short in the scoring department. Rutgers misses a lot of shots, so Iowa will need to be on the glass.
The last thing I'm looking for is no hangover from Iowa. That loss to Nebraska can be an emotionally draining loss and with a team like Rutgers, who really has nothing to lose, you have to be sharp and make sure there is no hangover. The first four minutes of the game are going to tell us all we need to know about what kind of game it is going to be between these two teams. The Hawkeyes have the ability to get hot at any time, but they can't let Rutgers get out early and gain any confidence.
This could be just what the doctor ordered for Iowa coming off a tough loss. Or it could be the exact opposite. I doubt Fran McCaffery is going to let his guys mope into this game and take Rutgers lightly. The Hawkeyes need to come out and get good shots early, while keeping Rutgers guards out of the lane. Force them into taking shots from the outside and get good shots yourself and you have a recipe for success.