MBB: Iowa Preview
On saturday the Penn State Nittany Lions Men’s Basketball team comes home to take on the Iowa Hawkeyes for the second time this season.
The Nittany Lions took the Hawkeyes down in their Big Ten opener back in the beginning of December by a score of 77-73.
The game had some positives for the Nittany Lions, but also drew some major red flags. Josh Reaves was the only starter for Penn State who didn’t score in double-digits during that game, though he still wound up with eight points. On the flip side of that, the Nittany Lions didn’t get a single point off of their bench. This was indicative of something that would prove to plague the Nittany Lions for the middle portion of the season.
The Nittany Lions return home from East Lansing where a Michigan State onslaught in the second half brought the 5th ranked Spartans back for a 76-68 victory.
After a tough loss, in a game that would have been massive to boosting the Nittany Lions’ so-so tournament resume, it should be interesting to see how the they respond.
On the other hand, the Hawkeyes come in off a solid win against Minnesota in which they put up 94 points. The Hawkeyes had six players in double-figures and have scored over 80 in their last three games.
Similar to the last game between the two, expect to see a bit of a back-and-forth between Lamar Stevens and Tyler Cook. Stevens scored 22 and Cook scored 23 in the last outing, in strikingly similar performances.
Nicholas Baer and Josh Reaves will also be interesting to watch during this game. Baer has been immensely disappointing this year, and averages around six points, when he was expected to be one of the main threats on this Hawkeye team. On the other side, Reaves has been good, but is still recently back from suspension and has been playing with a bit of a chip on his shoulder since his return.
Both players did not perform as well as they could have in the first outing, so this could be something to watch heading into this one.
The key to this game is likely Mike Watkins. If he can stay on the floor, and out of foul trouble, Penn State will control the inside and win the game comfortably. On the other hand, if he can’t stay on the court, Luke Garza might have himself a day, and Hawkeyes will be in it with a chance.
Patrick Murphy is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.