A Big Ten showdown with two ranked teams is what NCAA Basketball in February is all about. On Saturday at 2 p.m., the No. 10 ranked Michigan Wolverines go on the road to square off against the No. 17 ranked Iowa Hawkeyes in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Michigan enters the game in first place in the Big Ten with a 17-5 record, going 9-1 so far in conference play. Iowa is in third place at 17-6 with a 6-4 conference record.
This will be the second time these two teams have met this season. The Wolverines beat the Hawkeyes 75-67 last month in Ann Arbor when sophomore Nik Stauskas tied his career high with 26 points. Michigan holds an overall 91-58 advantage in the series, which began with a 19-15 victory all the way back in 1912. The Wolverines have won 11 of the last 13, but Iowa holds a 14-13 advantage in games played in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Amazingly, three of the last four games played in Iowa City have gone to overtime, with Iowa winning two of the three.
Michigan is coming off a 79-50 trouncing of the Nebraska Cornhuskers in Ann Arbor and the game wasn’t even that close. The Wolverines rolled to a 49-21 halftime lead after shooting 63 percent from the field. Michigan had their biggest lead of the game, 75-34, with 10:34 left in the contest. Sophomore Glenn Robinson III was the game’s leading scorer with 23 points.
While Michigan coasted over Nebraska, Iowa had its hands full losing 76-69 to the No. 25 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes. Iowa shot just 3 of 20 from the 3-point line and only hit 12 of 17 free throws in the game. The Buckeyes took advantage of the cold shooting and built a 63-54 lead with 3:56 to play before Iowa cut it down to 63-59 with 1:46 remaining, but that was as close as they would get.
The good news for Hawkeyes is that they are 5-0 in games following a loss this season, averaging 86.8 points and shooting 54 percent from the field following a defeat. They’ll need every bit of it against a Michigan team that has won 11 of their last 12 games and has an impressive 7-4 record on the road.