UI Looks to Push Home Winning Streak to 3

Jan. 26, 2010

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Aaron Fuller doesn’t know who he will guard Wednesday when No. 20 Ohio State comes to Carver-Hawkeye Arena. University of Iowa head coach Todd Lickliter hasn’t informed the team yet.

Which Hawkeye will be matched up against Buckeye junior Evan Turner, who averages 18.6 points and 9.8 rebounds per game?

“I’m not going to announce that yet,” Lickliter said at a media conference Tuesday inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. “So everybody gets the same amount of rest tonight. If you don’t guard Turner, you have to guard somebody who can really play.”

“We have to watch out for all of them,” Fuller said. “They’re all very capable of doing multiple things. We have to pay attention to all personnel, not just one person. There’s more than one guy who can beat you, so we have to pay attention to everyone.”

Ohio State (14-6 overall, 4-3 Big Ten Conference) and the Hawkeyes (8-12, 2-5) will tip-off at 7:36 p.m. on Wednesday. Both teams have won three of their last four games. The Buckeyes have won the last two meetings in the head-to-head series, including 60-58 on March 3, 2009 in Iowa City.

“Ohio State has as good of talent as anyone in the league,” Lickliter said. “They’re a top 20 team at least; I can see them in the top 10. Ohio State is right there with the very best.”

In the last meeting, Iowa’s Devan Bawinkel made eight 3-point field goals and finished with a game-high 24 points.

Iowa won its last game, 58-43, on Sunday at Indiana; Ohio State, winners of three straight league games, fell at West Virginia, 71-65, on Saturday.

“It’s never an accident if you play well, it’s because you’ve prepared well,” Lickliter said. “I’ve enjoyed the way this team has prepared. Their approach has been good.”

“We have a lot more confidence,” Fuller said. “We know it’s going to be a tough game (Wednesday), so we need to prepare well today and listen to what coach says.”

“It’s never an accident if you play well, it’s because you’ve prepared well. I’ve enjoyed the way this team has prepared. Their approach has been good.”
UI head basketball coach
Todd Lickliter

The Hawkeyes are on a two-game home winning streak, having downed Tennessee State, 67-62, on Jan. 12 and Penn State, 67-64, on Jan. 16.

“They feel like they’ve prepared well and grown,” Lickliter said of the Hawkeyes. “They have a great understanding of how good the competition is, so they know we have to be on top of our game. They’ve been able to execute in some tough situations and it will be required again. They’re playing better basketball and it’s not accidental. It’s because of their investment.”

UI students will be admitted free to Wednesday’s “Be Bold, Wear Gold!”contest and the 2010 FedEx Orange Bowl champion Hawkeye football team will be recognized during halftime. That could add up to a powerful atmosphere — similar to ones Iowa saw during its last two road trips to Michigan State and Indiana.

“Michigan State and Indiana are two terrific environments,” Lickliter said. “Game day is very impressive. I don’t know what I expect (at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Wednesday), but I know what I would like. Now our students are in school, it’s free, this team plays with a lot of pride, they play hard. I think our fans pulled us through the Penn State game (75-67 win on March 7, 2009) — it was two overtimes and we might not have made it without them. Our fans can be terrific, but they have to be here to be terrific. You know this — you like the students involved and you want them involved.”

Sophomore Anthony Tucker has rejoined the team, but it doesn’t sound like there will be much game time for the previously-suspended guard in the near future.

“He’s been cleared to practice is all,” Lickliter said. “Anthony can come and help us in practice. His concentration should be on his schooling and on the responsibilities he has. He’s remorseful and appreciative of an opportunity from what I can see, but knowing that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. As far as the University goes, he would be eligible to play; I’m not comfortable with it.

“Student-athletes have their whole life ahead of them and I think that earning a degree is a real benefit for a young person as they go through life. I wanted to encourage him to stay on course and earn a degree and that’s what we’re doing.”

The Hawkeyes will conclude the week (and month of January) at Michigan on Saturday, Jan. 30. The start from Crisler Arena is scheduled for 3:35 p.m.