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Iowa Basketball: Previewing Iowa's Trip to College Park on Saturday

Taking a look at Iowa's trip to take on the nationally ranked Maryland Terrapins on Saturday evening.

Iowa (15-13, 7-8) at No. 24 Maryland (22-6, 10-5)

Date & Time: February 25th, 5:05 p.m CT

Location: XFINITY Center (College Park, MD)

TV: ESPN2

Quick Notes

- Iowa is 22-38 in Big Ten road games during Fran McCaffery's tenure. 

- The Terrapins are 12-4 at the XFINITY Center this season. Their latest loss was to Minnesota by 14 points.

- They are 4-3 in Big Ten home games this season. They've lost to Nebraska, Minnesota, and Purdue at home this year.

- Maryland is 4-4 in their last 8 games, including two straight losses.

- The Terps defeated Iowa by 8 in Iowa City back in January. 

- Maryland holds a 4-2 advantage in the all-time series. They've won the last two games as well.

- Peter Jok had 35 points in Iowa's last game against Indiana, including 15 in the OT period. 

- Iowa trailed by 15 at halftime of the previous meeting, but fought their way back to take a lead before eventually falling.

- Maryland starts three freshmen in Kevin Huerter, Anthony Cowan, and Justin Jackson. Iowa also starts 3 freshmen in Jordan Bohannon, Isaiah Moss, and Tyler Cook.

- Melo Trimble ranks in the top five in the Big Ten in scoring averaging over 17 points per game in his junior season.

Iowa Starters

Jordan Bohannon (FR): Bohannon struggled a bit to start against Indiana, but settled in during the second half. He was able to finish with 9 points, 6 assists, and 4 steals in what was a roller coaster of a game for him. He continues to be one of the more poised players on this young Iowa team.

Isaiah Moss (RSFR): Moss played just five minutes and did not score on Tuesday night. He sat largely due to the fact that Peter Jok was playing so well, along with Brady Ellingson, Bohannon, and Christian Williams. Moss just didn't really get into the flow of the game for Iowa against Indiana. We'll see if he can have a bounce back performance on Saturday night.

Peter Jok (SR): Jok had 15 of his game high 35 points in the overtime on Tuesday and set the record for made free throws in a game for the Hawkeyes, making 22-of-23. The one he did miss came in the OT period. Jok struggled from the field, but it seemed like the whistle was blowing every five seconds and Jok continued to find himself at the line. He took advantage. I really want to see him get back on track from the field, however.

Ahmad Wagner (SO): Just two points in 10 minutes for Wagner on Tuesday night in a game where he didn't really factor in. Iowa went smaller a lot during the game and the other forwards were giving Iowa better minutes than Ahmad was. Ryan Kriener, Cordell Pemsl, and Tyler Cook all played 16+ minutes. Nicholas Baer played 35.

Tyler Cook (FR): Cook played one of his better games on Tuesday in terms of aggressiveness. He ended with 14 points and welcomed the challenge of Thomas Bryant. The five rebounds he gathered were the most since mid-January and he was 8-of-11 from the free throw line, which is extremely encouraging. Tyler will need to bring it against Maryland's Damonte Dodd on Saturday night. 

Iowa Bench Pieces

Nicholas Baer (RSSO): With the exception of Peter Jok, Baer played the most minutes on Tuesday night playing 35 of the 45 minutes. He had 10 points and 7 rebounds and continued to be a problem for teams because of his hustle. There really isn't much else he can do to surprise us at this point, but that put-back slam in the second half on Tuesday pretty much did the trick. Along with the huge fist pump. I love his energy.

Christian Williams (SO): He played his best game of the season on Tuesday scoring 10 points on 5-6 shooting. He was really key in helping Iowa get the win because he helped them back into the game after falling down by 13. Williams has been down compared to where I expected him to be this year, but Tuesday as a big confidence booster for him. His defense really helps the Hawkeyes.

Cordell Pemsl (FR): He continues to score well in limited minutes. He had 9 points in 16 minutes on Tuesday and I thought he played really well. There were a few times that he got caught on the block, but he kicked it back out ad reposted. Pemsl's basketball IQ and his craftiness around the rim really surprised me this season.

Brady Ellingson (RSSO): He buried a 3 on Tuesday, but missed 3 others. He usually knocks down his open shots, but he was just off on a couple of wide open looks. With Brady, you always know he's going to take good shots. Sometimes they just don't fall. As long as he remains confident in his shot he'll continue to play. 

Ryan Kriener (FR): Kriener had the highest +/- of anyone on Tuesday night and played well in his 18 minutes. He had 4 points on 2-of-2 shooting and played with really good energy when he was on the court. McCaffery was just looking for anyone to give him some good minutes after the starters struggled mightily. 

Dom Uhl (JR): It wasn't Dom's game on Tuesday. He played just 5 minutes and did not score. He took a couple of 3-pointers, but they were just a bit off. They were good shots, but Baer took a lot of Uhl's minutes on Tuesday night. 

Maryland Starters

Anthony Cowan (FR): Cowan was a highly rated recruit out of high school and he's playing like it in his freshman season. He scores well, distributes well, and gets into the lane whenever he wishes. He does struggle taking care of the ball at times, however. He's averaging 10 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists in his first year as a Terp. He's scored in double figures in three of the last five.

Melo Trimble (JR): Trimble has been up and down since arriving on campus three years ago. This season, it's been mostly up. He is averaging 17 points per game and is really teaching a young Maryland team how to win. He's probably on his way to being a first team All-Big Ten selection. He's had games of 27 and 32 in the last 10 days.

Kevin Huerter (FR): Huerter is a guy that has a real nice jump shot. Maryland likes to run him off screens and let him rise and fire. He's a good defender and a good shooter, which is why he is succeeding in his first year in College Park. He is just 3-of-13 from three in the last three games, but is averaging 9 points and 5 rebounds this year for Mark Turgeon.

Justin Jackson (FR): Jackson played for a big time prep school before arriving at Maryland so he was used to playing against top competition. He's a good athlete and has the ability to step out and hit the three. For the year, he's averaging 11 points and 6 rebounds, but has scored in double figures just twice in the last five. He had 12 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 steals in the first game against Iowa.

Damonte Dodd (SR): Dodd fills a nice role that Maryland needs. He does a lot of the dirty work, but is capable of scoring as well. The other four really drive this team, but Dodd makes them whole. He fouled out in the first meeting with Iowa, so staying on the floor is key for Dodd on Saturday. He averages 6 points and 4 rebounds for the season.

What to Watch

Controlling Maryland's Guards

This is the second game in a row that Iowa is going to be dealing with a really good backcourt. Melo Trimble is probably a first team All-Big Ten selection and Anthony Cowan is playing really well for a freshman. The Hawkeyes struggled with both of these guys in the game in Iowa City, but they do have a tendency to turn the ball over. Iowa let Trimble and Cowan combine for 35 points on 11-of-18 shooting, so if they can really limit them there and make sure they're closing out well and that they know where both are, they have a better chance in this game. The duo also turned the ball over a combined 12 times, so they aren't perfect. Christian Williams could play a big role in this one much like he did on Tuesday. My guess is Iowa tries to speed them up with the press and the hope is that they turn it over. But then you're dealing with giving guys like Trimble and Huerter wide open looks from outside, so you have to pick your spots.

Limit the Runs

It seemed like the Maryland runs really hurt the Hawkeyes in Iowa City back in January. Maryland closed the half on a run, which gave them a lot of momentum heading into the locker room. Iowa needs to cut those runs off at 6 and not let them balloon to 9 or 11 because that's when you get into trouble being a young team on the road in a pretty hostile environment. I need to see good shots and guys need to be active on both ends from the get go. Falling behind early against a good team on the road will not bode well for a young Iowa team. They have the talent to beat this team, but they've really got to put it together for the full 40 minutes again. 

Early Lead

Iowa can't keep getting behind early and clawing their way back in. They could've beaten the Terrapins in Iowa City, but fell down by 15 at the halftime break. They were able to get back into it, but I think they spent so much energy getting back into it that they just couldn't hold on to that slim lead they did possess. I'd like to see Iowa get out here early on Saturday to try and take the Maryland crowd out of it and just simply make it easier on them when it comes to winning the game late. They have guys that can fill it up at the line, that showed on Tuesday against Indiana. They need to get out early and stay in it at least until the end until it comes down to who can make more free throws. The teams are fairly balanced when it comes to free throw percentage for the season, so it's hard to pick a clear cut favorite there. The Hawkeyes just can't get down early and allow the crowd to come alive.

Predictions

Both teams are experiencing some losses as of late. Maryland has lost a couple games in a row and four out of six. Iowa on the other hand has lost 3 of the last 4, but are coming off that OT win against Indiana. I believe Fran McCaffery is going to try and use Christian Williams as much as he possibly can to try and neutralize the guard duo of Trimble and Cowan. You could see Williams and Bohannon play together because they can compliment each other nicely if they are on top of their games. I expect the Hawkeyes to press to try and capitalize on turnovers from Anthony Cowan, who turned it over 8 times back in Iowa City. Iowa battles hard here, but I think they come up just short in College Park on Saturday night.

Maryland 79 Iowa 71


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