MBB Game Preview: Iowa
The Penn State Nittany Lion Men’s Basketball team will head to Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday to open up Big Ten play against the Iowa Hawkeyes.
The Nittany Lions come into this game off a loss in their first true road game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. It was another game that saw an impressive performance from Tony Carr, who had 29 points and seven rebounds, yet to no avail. Aside from Lamar Stevens coming on strong at the end of the game, Carr seemed to be the only player in attack mode.
The overall performance appeared a bit disjointed, as could be expected in a team’s first road game. Coach Chambers surely understands that mistakes are magnified on the road and will thus be looking to iron out some things heading into conference play this weekend.
Their opponents come in having lost three of their last four in rather embarrassing fashion. With disappointing losses against the likes of Louisiana and South Dakota State, as well as a 24-point loss against Virginia Tech, the Hawkeyes will be looking to get back on track.
The lone bright spot in this brutal stretch for the Hawkeyes was the return of junior forward Nicholas Baer. Baer was an important leader for the Hawkeyes last year despite coming off the bench.
He is a versatile stretch forward who, despite winning Big Ten six-man of the year last year, will likely be a starter for Iowa when fully healthy. We could very well see him enter the starting fold for good in this Big Ten opener.
With the way the Hawkeyes like to selflessly spread the ball and shoot three pointers, Baer’s return could be huge in righting the ship and may turn Iowa into a team quite different than the one Patrick Chambers is preparing his team for.
Heading into the contest on Saturday, there are two matchups between four sophomores that will likely dominate the game. These two matchups will be Tony Carr against Jordan Bohannon and Lamar Stevens against Tyler Cook.
Offensively, Tony Carr may be able to have his way with Jordan Bohannon as he has an athletic advantage and five inches in height on him. However, Bohannon is a very smart player with an excellent outside shot and Carr will have his hands full trying to keep Bohannon from matching him on the other end. Bohannon is a great floor general and the Hawkeyes generally go as he goes, so if Tony Carr can make him uncomfortable with his size, this game will become infinitely easier to win for the Nittany Lions.
The matchup between Lamar Stevens and Tyler Cook may not be quite as pivotal as the other, but will be fun to watch nonetheless. Cook has three inches on Stevens, but both are physical forwards who exemplify what Big Ten basketball is supposed to look like. The two each average a hair under 15 points a game and can score in a variety of ways. Given how similar the two are, it should be exciting to get to see them lock horns again this year.
While this game figures to be a close affair, the ESPN BPI favors Iowa to win the game despite their head-scratching performances of late. Nonetheless, it should be a close affair and a great way to kick off the conference season.
Patrick Murphy is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.