Jan. 30, 2011
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Two days have passed since two Big Ten Conference men’s basketball teams with identical records of 1-6 upset opponents ranked in the top 25.
On Thursday, Indiana knocked off No. 20 Illinois, 52-49, at home and Michigan not only defeated No. 25 Michigan State, 61-57, but the Wolverines did it on the road. Iowa (8-12 overall, 1-7 Big Ten) plays at Michigan (12-9, 2-6) today with a 3:06 p.m. tipoff from Crisler Arena.
“At any point in time somebody can be beaten in the Big Ten, so you have to bring it every night,” said Hawkeye freshman Roy Devyn Marble, who grew up 35 minutes from the Michigan campus. This is the first trip back to compete in his home state for Marble, who prepped at Lathrup High School and lived in Southfield. He will have between 20-25 friends in attendance today.
“It’s a good opportunity to play in front of my family,” Marble said. “I just want to win like I do any other game. I’m not coming in with a different mentality; I’m just trying to play well.”
Thursday’s upsets leave three league teams tied for fifth in the conference with 4-4 records. The Hawkeyes are three games out of an upper-division finish.
“We’re a good team, we’re not bottom feeders,” said UI freshman Melsahn Basabe. “Anybody can win on any given night. That’s why we have to come out and play like we can win. Conference play is always shaky; everybody knows each other, the atmosphere. The good teams get worn down, too. They’re going to have off nights and if you stay focused to your game plan, you can beat them.”
Basabe averages 11.9 points and 7.4 rebounds in eight Big Ten games; he is shooting 54.8 percent from the field and 79.4 percent from the line.
The Hawkeyes are looking for a second road victory of the season to go with a 59-52 decision at Drake on Dec. 18. Iowa last won in Ann Arbor on Jan. 19, 2008, by a score of 68-60 which at the time was its third consecutive triumph in Crisler Arena.
“We haven’t given up on the season at all and we’re just going to continue to get better and make a run in the second half of the Big Ten stretch,” said UI junior forward Andrew Brommer. “The conference right now is really tough; anybody can win on any given night and we know that and we prepare every single day knowing that we can beat anybody any single night.”
Brommer averages nearly 21 minutes of playing time during the last three games at Ohio State and Penn State and at home against Indiana. That is nearly eight minutes more than his season average of 12.7.
This is UI head coach Fran McCaffery’s first stint in the Big Ten, but with 14 seasons of head coaching experience under his belt, there is never a bombshell result in his mind…especially in this conference.
“I don’t think it’s surprising,” McCaffery said. “That’s what this league is and what it had been. Nothing surprises me. I’ve been in this long enough. You can tell me anybody beat anybody and I would not be surprised.”
Today’s game concludes a stretch where the Hawkeyes played four of their last five games on the road. It is also Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers Awareness Weekend. McCaffery and his staff will wear sneakers today to raise cancer awareness.