April 2, 2013
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NEW YORK CITY — The University of Iowa men’s basketball team spent an hour on the hallowed court inside Madison Square Garden Tuesday afternoon in preparation for tonight’s National Invitation Tournament semifinal against Maryland.
The Hawkeyes (24-12) and Terrapins (25-12) tip-off at 8:30 p.m. (CT).
Iowa took the court for shoot-around sandwiched between the designated times for Baylor and Maryland in what is called the `World’s Most Famous Arena.’
“I’m glad we had a shoot-around in there,” UI senior Eric May said. “You get a feel for everything — the rims and the court — but at the end of the day, it’s still a 10-foot hoop, so let’s play some ball.”
May and UI junior Roy Devyn Marble compared the ambiance of the Garden to the United Center, home of the Chicago Bulls and the 2013 Big Ten Conference Tournament.
“It’s a lot brighter than the United Center,” May said.
“It has the most resemblance to the United Center due to the fact it’s an NBA arena,” Marble said. “The lighting was nice, they have a backdrop with the darkness, so it’s all cool. Now we have to go out there and play.”
The rest of pregame for the Hawkeyes includes a snack and rest before a team meeting and meal about four hours before the game.
“Everybody was locked in and it was a great experience to be able to see (Madison Square Garden) in person,” Marble said. “Now it’s time to get down to business.”
“We’re ready to go, everyone is pumped,” May said. “We have been scouting (Maryland) for a while, so at this point, we’re ready to play this game.”
The winner will play either Baylor or Brigham Young in the NIT Championship on Thursday at 8:30 p.m. (CT).