Iowa Still in Rebuilding Stages

The Gophers will get their first taste of a road game in the Big Ten, and it will come against a team that is still finding its stride.

The loss to Ohio State illustrated Iowa's ability to fight back and never quit. That fighter's mentality evaporated, though, in a victory against Indiana that was tougher than it needed to be.

Such is life with rebuilding, where Todd Lickliter understands immaturity can sometimes outweigh talent.

"We are both in the early stages of trials and hard work," Lickliter said, referring to his Hawkeyes and the Hoosiers.

Iowa and Lickliter are much further along in their rebuilding efforts, although Iowa will have to grow up quickly with upcoming road games against Michigan and Purdue. The lapses that put the Hawkeyes in a deep hole against the Buckeyes, then allowed the Hoosiers to dig out of one three nights later, won't cut it against the upper echelon of teams in the conference.

For Iowa to be successful, it needs to keep Cyrus Tate out of foul trouble. Tate had one of his best games against Indiana, finishing with 22 points and 11 rebounds, including a nifty 10 of 11 on free throws. Whenever Tate is saddled with foul trouble, the Hawkeyes will struggle. With him in the game, though, they have a chance.

"It is hard for him because we have asked him to play legal, but physical," Lickliter said. "That is the way the game is played in the post and he is strong. I am hoping he can figure out the best way to be assertive."

NOTES

  • The 14 3-pointers Iowa connected on against Ohio State ranks as the second-most for a single game in school history. Iowa has made 15 twice, most recently in 1998, exactly 11 years to the date it hit 14 against the Buckeyes.

  • The Hawkeyes enter Thursday's game against Minnesota making 74% of their free throws.

  • Foul trouble has become a recent concern for Cyrus Tate. The Hawkeyes are 9-0 when Cyrus Tate scores at least five points. They're 2-4 when he doesn't. That is a direct reflection on his minutes and his ability to avoid foul trouble.

  • Beginning with the Dec. 9 game against Northern Iowa, Anthony Tucker has played just 20 minutes over the last six games as he continues to make a home in coach Todd Lickliter's dog house. Tucker is still the team's leading scorer at 11.8 points per game.

  • Matt Gatens has committed seven fouls in the last two games, against Ohio State and Indiana. He has already fouled out of two games this season.

    IN FOCUS: The Gophers are a balanced team full of role players who are unselfish and willing to share the load. Such depth could be difficult for the Hawkeyes to defend, but the game against Minnesota might be Iowa's best chance at victory over the next two weeks.

    PLAYER ROTATION: Usual starters — F Jermain Davis, F Cyrus Tate, G Matt Gatens, G Jeff Peterson, G Jake Kelly. Key subs — G Anthony Tucker, G Devan Bawinkel, F Aaron Fuller, F Jarryd Cole.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "I do think we need a break. Since we have gotten back (from Christmas break), we haven't taken much time off and then it has been preparation for Ohio State and then Indiana. It is a great league. Someone asked me the other day what I thought of four out of the first five league games against ranked opponents. I knew they were ranked, but I really hadn't put it that way. What do I think about that? I think it is a great league." — Coach Todd Lickliter

    GAME REVIEW:

    Iowa 58, Western Illinois 43

    Ohio State 68, Iowa 65

    Iowa 65, Indiana 60

    GAME PREVIEW:

    vs. Minnesota, Thursday, Jan. 8

    at Michigan, Sunday, Jan. 11

    at Purdue, Sunday, Jan. 18


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