Penn State vs. Iowa Preview

Audio/Story posted February 3, 2016 in CommRadio, Sports by Sports Staff


ComRadio's own Dave Arroyo, Tom Shively and Joe Murphy preview this week's Big Ten matchup between Penn State and Iowa. 


Coming off of a close but disappointing loss to the Michigan Wolverines, the Nittany Lions look to redeem themselves and end their three-game losing streak on the road against the Iowa Hawkeyes this Wednesday night.

With two games against Iowa looming in the immediate future, Penn State has a tall task before them. Iowa (17-4) is ranked nationally at number five and second within the Big Ten (8-1), while Penn State (11-11) finds themselves at the bottom of the barrel within the conference (2-7).

Although this is the first matchup of the 2015-2016 season, the Hawkeyes and Nittany Lions have a history of close games, as nine of the last 12 meetings were determined by single-digit deficits. While the Nittany Lions have won seven of the last 10 meetings, they have failed to achieve a victory at Carver-Hawkeye Arena since March 1, 2001 with a 78-73 advantage.

On both sides of the ball, Iowa is a dominating and formidable opponent. Before last week’s 74-68 loss to Maryland, they were undefeated in the conference and on a hot streak amongst the league. As a team their offensive output shines bright with 81.2 points and 9.0 three-pointers per game with a field-goal percentage of 46.6. Jarrod Utoff, filling the almost-impossible shoes of Aaron White, heads the offense with an average of 18.6 points, which has greatly improved from last season’s (12.4 ppg). In addition to Utoff, Penn State will have its hands full with Mike Gesell, Iowa’s leading point guard. He has been a force on both sides of the balls with 3.6 rebounds, 6.6 assists, and 9.0 points per game.

The Nittany Lions have little room for error against the surprising success of the Hawkeye’s men’s basketball team. Although their offense headed by the likes of Brandon Taylor (16.3 ppg) and Shep Garner (13.9ppg) is an integral asset to the game plan, the Blue and White will also find the key to disrupting the Wolverine’s game plan through keying in on defensive strategy. Reviewing their last lost against the Maryland Terappins, the Wolverines were rattled by the Maryland’s grind and pound defense. Jarod Uthoff finished with only nine points, while the team overall had 11 turnovers and went 5-24 from three-point range.

In order for victory Donovan Jack, Jordan Dickerson, and Shep Garner need to show up against Maryland’s offense. Jack and Dickerson find themselves amongst the overall Penn State Top 10 in the blocks category at number eight. They also share qualifications for single-season blocks with 53 throughout Penn State’s history. Garner is influential to the game plan because of his role in the matchup against Iowa last season. He posted 17 points in their meeting before tournament play at the Bryce Jordan Center. Overall, Penn State has 4.9 steals, 4.4 blocks, and allow 69 opponent points per game, as opposed to Iowa’s 7.2 steals, 5.7 blocks, and 68.4 opponent points per game.

In previous games this season, the Nittany Lions have remained contenders against powerhouse teams, the Terrapins (70-64) and Wolverines (79-72). While the Hawkeyes have surprised many for their play this season, perhaps the Nittany Lions can steal their thunder and deliver a big upset for the Blue and White faithful.

Penn State will take the road this Wednesday to face-off against the Hawkeyes at 7:00 p.m. at the Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City. 


Madeleine Balestrier is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email

About the Contributors

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David Arroyo

Senior / Broadcast Journalism

David Arroyo currently serves as one of two General Managers for CommRadio. David is a former arts & entertainment director, social media director and editor for the station. He has produced for multiple Penn State sports while in CommRadio, has done play by play for Penn State sporting events such as football, basketball and volleyball and co-hosted and produced his own talk show. During the fall of 2017, David was an anchor, producer and reporter for the Centre County Report. David most recently interned at WPVI-TV, 6abc in Philadelphia during the summer of 2018. While at 6abc he was a programing intern and helped in the production of their weekly show “FYI Philly.” David has interned at B94.5 (State College) and Center City Film and Video (Philadelphia). Follow him on Twitter (@_arroyodavid) or email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Madeleine Balestrier's photo

Madeleine Balestrier

Sophomore /

Madeleine Balestrier is a sophomore member of ComRadio majoring in broadcast journalism and minoring in entrepreneurship and women’s studies. At ComRadio, Madeleine produces men and women’s soccer, hosts the Mads B. and Bria D. talk show and enjoys writing game previews for football and basketball. Previously Madeleine wrote for College Magazine, but continues to participate in the Association for Women in Sports Media (AWSM). During the spring semester, she plans to intern with WPSU’s sports production department. This summer and beyond, Madeleine hopes to find herself in Boston covering either the Patriots, Red Sox or Celtics. Follow her on Twitter @Mads_Hatter18 or email her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Joe Esquivel-Murphy's photo

Joe Esquivel-Murphy

Senior / Broadcast Journalism

Joe Esquivel-Murphy is a senior from Bay Head, NJ, majoring in broadcast journalism and Spanish. He has done play-by-play and beat writes for almost all the sports from CommRadio.  His two talk shows, Murph’s Lounge and Road to Russia, covered various different topics as the later previewed the qualification process to the World Cup with the former discussing relevant sports events. Joe also had an internship for Shore Sports Network (an affiliate of Town Square Media) before his junior year. To contact Joe, email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).