Iowa has defeated Minnesota in six of the last nine games between the teams including a Fran McCaffrey 3-2 edge on Richard Pitino. Iowa hasn’t been to Williams Arena in two years (they won 77-75 on January 13th, 2015) but Minnesota has won seven of the last ten against Iowa in Williams Arena.
Iowa has won three in a row beating Nebraska, Rutgers, and Ohio State. Before that run the Hawks lost three in a row (Maryland, Northwestern, and at Illinois). The Hawkeyes have been playing very well but they are a team that ranks 11th in the league in strength of schedule (56th overall by CBS College Basketball) while Minnesota has played the third toughest schedule in the league, 12th overall. The Gophers have an RPI rank of 24, Iowa is at 96.
Everything will balance out quickly though as Iowa’s schedule will get tougher where as Minnesota’s schedule will not be as ugly considering they have five of their next seven contests at Williams Arena.
Six-foot-6 senior Peter Jok missed two games (back injury) but in the 22 he has played Jok is putting up 20.6 points and 5.8 rebounds per game in 30 minutes a night. Jok is shooting a strong 37.4 percent from the arc on the 7-8 threes he takes a night. He’s also shot 43.7 percent on the 15-16 shots he takes overall. Jok is an elite free throw shooting making 92.2 percent overall.
After missing two games with an injury Jok returned at Rutgers to score a dozen points. He missed all four of his three-point attempts but made all eight free throws he took plus made a pair of looks inside the arc.
Iowa is a very young team that has four freshman playing big roles. Six-foot point guard Jordan Bohannon is producing 9.4 points, 4.5 assists, and 2.4 rebounds a game. Jordan is a 38 percent three point shooter on his seven threes a contest and he’s a two to one assist to turnover ratio player.
Up front 6-foot-9, 253 pound freshman Tyler Cook puts up 11.9 points and 4.8 rebounds a game. In 24 minutes a contest Cook is shooting 52 percent from the field on 8-9 shots a game and is a 60 percent foul shooter. Next to Cook is 6-foot-8 249 pound freshman Cordell Pemsl who gives nine points and five boards in 19 minutes a game. Pemsl is a physical player who makes 63 percent of his six shots a game. Pemsl’s minutes are often limited because of regular foul trouble.
Six-foot-5 freshman guard Isaiah Moss and 6-foot-7 205 pound sophomore forward Nicholas Baer are both scoring 6.7 a game in support. Baeur is also the team leading rebounder and shot blocker in his 23 minutes a contest plus he’s one of the better three point weapons. Moss is a 36 percent shooter at the arc but can slash for his points as well.
As a team the Hawkeyes are making 36.7 percent of their shots at the arc. Of their 63 shots a game 37 percent of them come from the arc. They are an even rebounding team on the year as they have had some Big Ten board struggles but that comes with being a young team.
Gopher senior Akeem Springs has started the last four games and his numbers have been fantastic. In just under 35 minutes a game Akeem is averaging 17 points and six boards a contest shooting 13 of 28 at the arc. Better yet his defense has been solid and Springs has only turned the ball over twice in 139 minutes as a starter.
Next to Springs in the starting backcourt is Nate Mason who may have finally broke out of his Big Ten slump (was shooting 27 percent from the field after his 31point, 11 assist game at Purdue). Mason scored 13 points and made 6 of 14 field goals in Champaign (finished the game making half of his last ten field goals). Mason has not had any issues taking care of the ball with only 14 turnovers in ten Big Ten games.
Gopher freshman Amir Coffey has been in double figures in seven of the ten Big Ten games including 54 points on 37 attempts in the last four games. Senior big Reggie Lynch has played 25 or more minutes in four of the last five games although he did foul out versus Wisconsin and Maryland which hurt his team badly down the stretch. Reggie bounced back for 15 points in Champaign and he continues to lead the Big Ten with three plus blocks a game.
Gopher sophomore Jordan Murphy is experiencing the very definition of a sophomore slump. Murphy has went from 10.5 points and 7.7 rebounds a game in non-conference play to 7.9 points and 6.9 rebounds a game in Big Ten games. Jordan is shooting 42 percent from the field in league play and 54 percent from the foul line.
Another sophomore slump is that of Dupree McBrayer. Since being replaced in the starting line-up Dupree McBrayer is shooting 12 of 29 from the field (41.3 percent) and has scored 31 points in those four games. This is a guy that scored in double figures in 12 of the first 15 Gopher games.