Iowa (11-7, 3-2) At Northwestern (14-4, 3-2)
Date & Time: January 15th, 6:36 p.m. CT
Location: Welsh-Ryan Arena (Evanston, IL)
- This is the only regular season meeting between the Wildcats and Hawkeyes.
- If you have a weak heart, you might not make it through the rest of the season. Iowa's last four games have been decided by six points or less.
- Iowa has overcome 9 point deficits in each of the last two games.
- Iowa holds a 115-59 advantage over Northwestern in the all-time series. Iowa has also won 7 of the last 9 meetings.
- The Wildcats come in at 3-2 in Big Ten play with those three wins coming on the road. They beat Nebraska, Penn State, and Rutgers all away from home.
- Their two losses have come at Michigan State and at home against Minnesota.
- The Wildcats have the second best scoring defense in the Big Ten, allowing 64 points per game to their opponents.
- Chris Collins' bunch is second in the Big Ten in both field goal percentage defense (38.5%) and in three point percentage defense (30.7%)
- Dererk Pardon, who missed 8 games due to injury, returned against Minnesota back on January 5th and has been instant impact on NU's front line.
- Northwestern has an RPI of 43, while Iowa sits at 101.
- NU's Nathan Taphorn is third in the Big Ten in 3-point percentage. He is shooting 48% from beyond the arc.
Jordan Bohannon (FR): Jordan is coming off one of his best Big Ten games. He had 12 points and 9 assists in the win over #17 Purdue and turned the ball over just once. He hit three pointers on back-to-back possessions for the Hawkeyes, proving that he's fully capable of filling it up really quickly. He is 5th in the Big Ten, averaging 5.1 assists per game and is 7th in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.3. Jordan is also 13th in 3 point field goals made, averaging almost two made threes per game.
Isaiah Moss (RSFR): Moss didn't have a huge impact in Iowa's win over Purdue on Thursday night, but Fran McCaffery stated that Isaiah had something behind one of his ears. He did not go into specifics and doctors did clear Isaiah to play, but McCaffery was not willing to play Moss, but it was just precautionary. After playing 37 minutes against Nebraska, he has yet to total more than 18 minutes in a game in the two games after. He's been kind of hit and miss for the Hawkeyes, but when he's good, he's really good. He is capable of going off at any moment.
Peter Jok (SR): Jok is coming off arguably his best game as a Hawkeye. He had 29 points, 6 rebounds, and 8 assists to pace the Hawkeyes as they defeated Purdue. Jok is just so hard to guard on the offensive end because of his shooting ability. But it goes deeper than that. Fran McCaffery does a good job running Jok off plenty of screens and then getting him open. Peter himself just never stops moving on offense, which is so tough to defend if you're an opponent. Jok being left off the Wooden Watch midseason list is a travesty. Last time these two teams met, he scored 22 of Iowa's first 25 points of the second half.
Cordell Pemsl (FR): Pemsl is still the leader in field goal percentage in the Big Ten. He's shooting 65% from the field on the season. He's been so crafty around the basket and for a freshman, his footwork is lightyears ahead of where it probably should be. He doesn't rush anything and is very patient in the paint. He's also been the rock on Iowa's team. He hasn't backed down from anyone so far this season. Exhibit A was Thursday against Purdue. Pemsl battled the bigger and more experienced Isaac Haas all night long.
Tyler Cook (FR): Thursday was probably Tyler's best game since his return. He had 16 points on 7-10 shooting and 6 rebounds. He said that he's starting to get more and more comfortable coming off his injury and it certainly looks like it. His 33 minutes on Thursday tied a season high and he looked like he took his game to another level. He was calling for the ball on offense and was actively searching for ways to get involved on offense. Thursday was a big step forward for Tyler after four games where he couldn't seem to put a full 40 minutes together.
Iowa Bench Pieces
Nicholas Baer (RSSO): Fran McCaffery continues to rave about Nic Baer. He had 4 points and 10 rebounds against Purdue, but his hustle is what is most valuable to this Hawkeye team. It won't show up in the box score and if you don't watch Iowa games, you don't know how valuable he is. Baer had a few hustle plays on Thursday and the one where he knocked the ball off Caleb Swanigan's shoulder out of bounds was probably the biggest one. Baer will continue to play 20-25 minutes and be Iowa's 6th man.
Brady Ellingson (RSSO): Ellingson gives Iowa nice value with his defense and his three point shooting. He missed the one shot he took in the five minutes he played, but Brady is a guy that can hit a couple of threes for the Hawkeyes when he is in the game.
Christian Williams (SO): Williams was a nice surprise on Thursday. He had four points for Iowa in the first half in the four minutes he was on the court, but they were four huge minutes. He came in late in the game for a little defense, which is something he does well. He's a much longer product than Bohannon is, so he helps with zone defenses.
Dom Uhl (JR): Uhl had a couple points and a rebound in 15 minutes of action on Thursday and they were the loudest of the night. Uhl had a big dunk off an alley oop and it about brought down the house inside Carver Hawkeye Arena. Uhl still has some rough spots, but he's been solid the past couple of games off the bench.
Ahmad Wagner (SO): Wagner had four points off the bench for Fran McCaffery on Thursday and continues to provide value with his athleticism. He's 6'7", but can guard smaller guys due to how athletic he is. He can also go inside and guard a bigger guy because of his size. His offensive game still needs polishing, but Ahmad will provide value in other areas.
Ryan Kriener (FR): The surprise of the night on Thursday was Ryan Kriener. Both Nic Baer and Cordell Pemsl got into foul trouble early in the second half. McCaffery turned to Kriener as a big body. Ryan did not disappoint. He had six points in a minute and a half and kept the Hawkeyes in it when it looked like the Boilermakers might pull away. I don't know what this means heading forward for Ryan, but he played a huge role in the game on Thursday.
Vic Law (SO): Law is turning into the player I thought he'd be coming out of high school. He was the first major recruit Chris Collins landed a commitment from and after battling some injuries over the course of his first season, he's turning into a special player. He had 23 points and 8 rebounds in his last game in 36 minutes against Rutgers and is turning into a go to guy for Collins and NU.
Scottie Lindsey (JR): Maybe the surprise of the Big Ten season, Lindsey has been Northwestern's best player. After a sophomore season in which he averaged 6 points in 19 minutes, he is averaging 16 per game in 31 minutes. He's scored in double figures in every single game for NU, including a 31 point outburst in NU's Big Ten opener against Penn State. He's been solid from 3 this season, but is 3 for his last 19 from deep. Lindsey and Law are the go to guys for Collins.
Bryant McIntosh (JR): The junior point guard has been a constant solid for Northwestern ever since he stepped on campus. He's a three year starter now and has averaged over 11 points and 4 assists in each of his three seasons. He's struggling from the field this year shooting just 35%, including 25% from three. He's been a bit up an down this year, but is a solid piece to this puzzle for Northwestern.
Sanjay Lumpkin (SR): Lumpkin is kind of a wild card for Chris Collins. He's second on the team in total rebounding and is one of their better defenders. However, he does commit his fair share of fouls. He's fouled out of two of the last five games and has had 4 fouls in two others. Don't expect much from Lumpkin, but he does a lot of the dirty work for NU.
Dererk Pardon (SO): They spent 8 games without Pardon over the course of December, but since his return he's been solid. He's played over 30 minutes in each of the three games and is averaging 10 points and 8 rebounds in those three games. He'a also shooting 67% from the field. Expect he a Cordell Pemsl to jockey back and forth in what should be a good front court match up.
Things to Watch
Consistency. Tyler Cook mentioned it after the win over Purdue and it's something that the Hawkeyes are searching for. They were locked in a battle with Rutgers in one of the uglier Big Ten games the Hawkeyes have played this year, but were spectacular against Purdue on Thursday. Now I'm looking for the same thing from Iowa. No up and down. It's a road game, but there should be plenty of Hawkeye faithful inside Welsh-Ryan Arena. With plenty of youngsters there is aways the possibility of inconsistency. In fact, you can almost expect it night in and night out. But Cook said that the win over Purdue was the kind of thing that Iowa needed just to prove to themselves that they can compete with top tier Big Ten teams. This is the biggest thing I'm looking at for tonight.
Front Court Battle. Scottie Lindsey is great in his own right, but I'm looking at Vic Law and Dererk Pardon vs Pemsl and Tyler Cook. Law is NU's second best scorer and, like I mentioned, is becoming what I thought he'd be out of high school. Pardon is another guy that can be a problem on the glass. I'm looking at Iowa's young forwards to stay out of foul trouble and limit both Law and Pardon. Northwestern is solid from three point land, but Law and Pardon can be where they make their money. Iowa did a good job with Swanigan and Haas on Thursday limiting their paint touches and ultimately outscoring them by 20 in the paint. I'm looking for the same thing tonight against Northwestern.
Iowa's Bench. The Hawkeyes got contributions from almost everyone who played on Thursday. The biggest came from Christian Williams and Ryan Kriener. The duo combined for 10 points, which helped the Hawkeyes immensely. Williams had back to back baskets in the first half and really spurred the Hawkeye offense. Kriener was huge in the second half with 6 points in a minute and a half when two Hawkeye forwards had to leave because of foul trouble. Are they going to get the same from them today? Will they play as much today? We'll find out. But if they can get that from them they are going to be really tough to beat in the Big Ten.
People have been asking if this is the year that the Wildcats head to the NCAA Tournament. I thought it was going to be last season, but they fell just short. This year, it looks like a different story. The Wildcats look complete, but handling a scorer like Peter Jok can be really tough if he's on his game. He proved that on Thursday night. Lumpkin probably draws the assignment on Jok to start the game, but I don't think it really matters who is guarding him. It's pretty much a home game for Iowa who has taken two of the last four meetings in Evanston. The Iowa alumni that reside in Chicago usually do a great job of getting there to watch their Hawks. I'm looking at the front court battle, but this could come down to the point guards, Jordan Bohannon and McIntosh. Whichever team's point guard takes better care of the ball is probably going to win the game.