Feb. 4, 2011
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — Fresh off its most complete game of the season — a 72-52 victory over Michigan State — the University of Iowa men’s basketball team heads to Assembly Hall looking for its second win of the season against the Hoosiers.
“We played our most complete game against a storied program, it was wonderful, and we enjoyed it, but it’s only one game,” said UI head coach Fran McCaffery on Friday’s media teleconference. “We’re going to play a team that is playing as well, if not better, than anyone in our league right now with the exception of Ohio State.
“Indiana, since our game, has played incredibly well, and I am trying to convey that to our team.”
Since dropping a 91-77 road game against Iowa on Jan. 23, the Hoosiers have won two of their last three games with their lone defeat being an 84-83 loss at Michigan State. Indiana brings a 12-11 overall and a 3-7 Big Ten mark into Saturday’s contest.
Some of the main pieces have changed for the Hoosiers since the first meeting in Iowa City. Christian Watford, who scored a game-high 30 points in the first contest, is sidelined with a broken left hand. Indiana’s Verdell Jones III — a player that missed the Jan. 23 meeting — is back in the line-up and is averaging 12.9 points and a team-best 3.4 assists.
The Hawkeyes are flying high after downing Michigan State on Wednesday night on Mediacom Court at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Iowa had four players score in double digits in the contest with Matt Gatens leading the way with 19 points. Bryce Cartwright registered a double-double with 12 points and 10 assists in 37 minutes.
“It’s an example of what we’re capable of doing,” said McCaffery. “Now the test is can we do it consistently.
“That was clearly the best effort of the season in terms of a 40 minute commitment in what we’re trying to do. It is a boost in confidence and when you look at how we played, we were able to score the ball effectively, but a lot of it was we were able to stop them.”
McCaffery knows there’s a different animal awaiting his team Saturday in Bloomington, and the Hawkeyes will need to execute to leave Assembly Hall with a win.
“We don’t want to get too high after a big win and then have a letdown where we play poorly,” said McCaffery. “We’re going to have to play extremely well; every bit as well as we did Wednesday night, to win on Saturday. This team is playing too hard and too many guys are contributing, and they’re really good at home.”
Saturday’s game will be broadcast live on ESPN2 (HD) beginning at 3:05 p.m. with Bob Wischusen and Stephen Bardo calling the action.