College Basketball Game of the Week: Ohio State vs. Iowa

Story posted February 3, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Adam Sheetz

The Big Ten is arguably the best and deepest conference in college basketball this season.

This matchup pits two of the top teams in the conference as No. 7 Ohio State visits Carver-Hawkeye Arena to take on No. 8 Iowa.

The Buckeyes might be getting hot at the perfect time. Ohio State has won six of its last seven games, including huge road wins against Illinois and Wisconsin. The Buckeyes are coming off of a dominant win over Michigan State, beating the Spartans 79-62.

Iowa is coming into this matchup in a weird spot. The Hawkeyes lost consecutive games for the first time this season at the end of January, losing to Indiana at home and No. 19 Illinois on the road. The Hawkeyes struggles have been on the defensive end, allowing both Indiana and Illinois to score at least 80 points in those two games.

The Hawkeyes did bounce back with a huge win over Michigan State on Tuesday night, however, by a final score of 84-78.

Iowa is led by arguably the best player in the nation in Luka Garza. Garza is averaging 26.5 points per game and 8.8 rebounds per game this season. He’s shooting 59.6 percent from the field, 45.6 percent from three and 72.7 percent from the free throw line. He has been virtually unguardable and a tall task for any big in the country.

Ohio State is led by sophomore forward E.J. Liddell, who has been phenomenal in big games this season. Liddell has scored 20 or more points in four of his last five games. He can do damage inside and outside, making him extremely difficult to match up with on both ends.

Both teams are extremely efficient on offense and could cause this game to become a shoot out.

The Buckeyes enter the game averaging 77.1 points per game as a team and shooting 45.4 percent from the field. The Hawkeyes enter the game averaging an unbelievable 89.7 points per game and shooting 48.3 percent from the field. Both have shown they have the ability to score the basketball, which could lead to an offensive explosion on Thursday night.

A matchup to look forward to in this game will be the guard matchup between Ohio State guard CJ Walker and Iowa guard Jordan Bohannon. Both are senior leaders on their teams and are extremely important to their team's success.

Neither Bohannon or Walker’s stats will blow you away, but they both step up huge in crunch time of games. If this game is close in the final minutes, expect these two guards to have a huge impact on the result of this game.

A challenge for Ohio State will be to guard the superstar Garza in the post. The Buckeyes do not have a lot of size, with their frontcourt being undersized. Garza is 6-foot-11, 265 which is tough for any team to stop, especially an undersized team like Ohio State.

Ohio State will have its hands full on the road in this one. Garza down low will be too much to handle, which will lead to a big win for the Hawkeyes at home.

Prediction: Iowa 85, Ohio State 79

 

Adam Sheetz is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email ads360@psu.edu.