March 5, 2013
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Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa men’s basketball team and its loyal fans have once again made Carver-Hawkeye Arena one of the most difficult venues in the country.
One of the vital elements to being successful in the toughest conference in the nation is defending your home court. The Hawkeyes have done just that, winning 14-of-16 games this season. Iowa is among the Big Ten elite in having two or fewer losses on its home court this season. Only Michigan State, Indiana and Michigan have lost fewer.
Junior Roy Devyn Marble, who has averaged 19 points the last sx games, says that the support the Hawkeye fans have given the team has been a tremendous boost.
“We have been playing really well at home,” said Marble, a team co-captain. “Our fans have really helped us make Carver a hostile environment for the other teams. We’ve played in all but two Big Ten arenas this year and Carver is definitely one of the loudest in the league.”
“We have been playing really well at home. Our fans have really helped us make Carver a hostile environment for the other teams. We’ve played in all but two Big Ten arenas this year and Carver is definitely one of the loudest in the league.”
UI junior Roy Devyn Marble
The Hawkeyes have won 19 of their last 22 home games, dating back to Feb. 2, 2012. Iowa’s last three losses, dating back to last season, have been narrow defeats coming by an average of 3.7 points. Two of the three setbacks came to nationally-ranked teams this season (Indiana and Michigan State).
Hawkeye fans have seen exciting wins over quality competition with Iowa topping four of its last seven games against ranked opponents, dating back to the 2011 regular season finale win over No. 6 Purdue (67-65).
“Teams play better at home,” said sophomore Josh Oglesby, who has started the last two contests. “To be able to end the season with two home games is beneficial to us.”
Iowa has seen improved statistics at home as well. The Hawkeyes are allowing only 57.3 points on Mediacom Court this year, which is the best it has been in five seasons. Iowa opponents are shooting 36 percent from the field, while Iowa is snagging 41 rebounds per game – the most since the 2006 campaign.
“It’s much easier when you’re home and the crowd is going crazy to lock in and execute the game plan,” said Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery.
Iowa’s improved play the last two-plus seasons has seen Hawkeye fans flock back to Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Last season, Iowa averaged 11,908 fans, while this season more than 13,000 on average are watching the Hawkeyes in Iowa City. Iowa’s 13,233 average is its best annual average attendance figure in 10 years.
“The crowds have been great at home,” said senior co-captain Eric May. “We’ve been using that to our advantage. Our fans give us that extra push. We’re eager to finish the regular season with two games in Carver and head into the Big Ten Tournament on a winning note.”
Hawkeye fans have two more opportunities to pack Carver-Hawkeye Arena and support their team this season. Iowa hosts Illinois (6:06 p.m.) on Tuesday and Nebraska on Saturday (1:15 p.m.).