College Basketball Game of the Week: Michigan vs. Iowa

Story posted February 25, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Trevor Grady

It’s beginning to look a lot like March. The greatest month in college basketball is less than a week away, and we have a great late February appetizer on the menu for Thursday night.

No. 9 Iowa will head to Ann Arbor to take on the red-hot No. 3 Michigan Wolverines at 7 p.m. on Thursday night. The Wolverines have won 11 straight home games at the Crisler Center.

Both teams are on a tear right now in Big Ten play. The Hawkeyes have won four straight games and the Wolverines have won five straight.

Michigan is coming off a 92-87 win in what could have been a preview of the national championship last weekend. They took down No. 4 Ohio State on Sunday afternoon behind a spectacular performance from their freshman big man, Hunter Dickinson.

Dickinson was dominant all game long and finished with 22 points and nine rebounds. Eli Brooks was also key for the Wolverines notching 17 points of his own.

In just his first season with Michigan, Dickinson is averaging 15 points per game, 7.8 rebounds per game, and is shooting an absurd 63.9% from the field.

The obvious matchup that everyone will be watching for is going to be in the paint. The aforementioned Dickinson will be going up against the frontrunner for the Wooden Award, Luka Garza.

Garza is averaging 24.7 points per game, 8.5 rebounds per game, and is shooting 56% from the field. Garza has been nearly unstoppable on the offensive side of the ball, but has shown some weakness guarding great big men. If Garza gets in foul trouble early, the Hawkeyes could be in danger of losing their win streak.

Iowa touts the second-best offensive turnover rate in the country, turning the ball over on only 13.7% of their possessions. On the other side of the ball, Michigan is ranked 341st in the country in forcing turnovers, doing so on just 14.8% of their defensive possessions.

Iowa is one of the best offenses in the entire country, averaging 86.4 points per game, and if Michigan is unable to turn them over this game could get really high scoring really quick. The Wolverines are not too shabby on offense themselves. They average 79.2 points per game and shoot an astounding 50.2% from the field as a team.

While both teams are virtual locks for the NCAA tournament already, they still have a ton to play for. Michigan is first in the Big Ten standings right now, and Iowa is fourth. A win in this game would be instrumental in their seeding for the postseason tournaments.

It feels like we are getting a top-10 matchup just about every day in the Big Ten, and that is certainly not something to be complaining about. We should be in for a treat with this one, and you can catch it on ESPN at 7 p.m. on Thursday night.

Trevor Grady is a junior majoring in management information systems and minoring in journalism. To contact him, email tmg5685@psu.edu.