IOWA CITY, Ia. – The stage has been set. Again.
For the second straight week, Iowa’s basketball team will appear on ESPN’s “Super Tuesday” when it hosts Ohio State at 6 p.m. Tuesday in sold-out Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The Hawkeyes, 17-5 overall and 6-3 in Big Ten play, lost a week ago to Michigan State in overtime. So does Iowa coach Fran McCaffery think the national exposure will be incentive for his team against the Buckeyes after losing on that same stage last week?
“I think that’s possible,” McCaffery said Monday. “I don’t know if they really think about it that way. I guess it’s logical to think that they would. I suppose they’re aware it’s ESPN as opposed to BTN (Big Ten Network) or something else. But I think the respect would come from who we are playing, what they’ve done this year and what they’ve done in the past, and how it impacts our season, moreso than the stage itself.”
Iowa bounced back from that loss to the Spartans to win at Illinois Saturday, 81-74. The Hawkeyes built a 21-point first-half lead in that game, fell behind by five and then closed with a 15-4 run.
“I think to get a big lead, lose it and be able to come back and win a game like that is a testament to the character of our team,” McCaffery said.
Ohio State had a similar week. The Buckeyes lost at home to Penn State in overtime Wednesday, 71-70, their fifth loss in six games. Then they rallied down the stretch to win at Wisconsin Saturday, 59-58.
“You’re watching the game, and Wisconsin is playing pretty well, and it looks like Wisconsin is going to win,” McCaffery said. “And the way (Ohio State) played at crunch time is what most have come to expect from an Ohio State team, a Thad Matta-coached team. So that’s what we’re preparing for. A team that understands how to win close games, and is obviously a very tough team that is capable of winning on the road.”
Iowa won at Ohio State on Jan. 12, 84-74, when the Buckeyes were ranked third nationally. In this week’s Associated Press poll released Monday, Iowa dropped two spots to No. 17 and Ohio State fell out of the Top 25.
The Hawkeyes conclude the week with a 1 p.m. game Saturday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena against Michigan, currently tied with Michigan State for the Big Ten lead at 8-1. That game will also be carried on ESPN.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball