IOWA CITY, Iowa — On Tuesday night, one Big Ten Conference team will put a losing streak in the rearview mirror.
The University of Iowa men’s basketball team has dropped their last three contests; Indiana has lost four consecutive (and six of their last seven) games. One of those streaks will come to a close when the teams meet on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Iowa has endured two extended losing streaks this season. The Hawkeyes dropped four straight from Nov. 25 through Dec. 3 in the nonconference before reeling off a season-high five consecutive victories.
Iowa had a three-game skid in Big Ten action from Jan. 15-25 before rebounding with a three-game winning streak over Ohio State, Rutgers, and Nebraska.
Can the Hawkeyes right the ship again?
“You always expect the same kind of turnaround as you move into the next game,” said UI head coach Fran McCaffery at a Monday news conference. “But we are incredibly respectful of our next opponent. They have a terrific coach and talent and they are as hungry as we are.
“We have to be ready to win this game.”
Indiana is 15-12 overall and 5-9 in Big Ten play. It’s a far cry from where the Hoosiers were at the beginning of the season — a team that was ranked as high as No. 3 in the nation in early November and a team that was rated in the top 25 for the season’s first nine weeks.
“They’re a great team,” said freshman Cordell Pemsl. “They have lost a few games like us lately because they’ve been hit with injuries. We’re hoping to come out tomorrow and do what we have to do to execute. We know if we play to our fullest capabilities, we have a chance of winning.”
Pemsl and Iowa’s frontcourt will face a challenge in its matchup against Indiana’s Thomas Bryant. Bryant can play inside and shoot it from outside; he’s averaging 13.1 points and seven rebounds.
“He is a handful,” said Pemsl. “He is long, athletic, has great moves, and can shoot the 3. He is one of their key factors we have to keep contained whether it’s Tyler (Cook), Ahmad (Wagner), myself, or Ryan (Kreiner). Whomever is on him, I have faith they are going to step up to the challenge.”
Guard James Blackmon, Jr., leads Indiana at 17.0 points per game; Robert Johnson averages 13.2 points.
Tuesday’s game features two of the Big Ten’s top offenses. The Hoosiers are second at 80.3 points; Iowa is third at 79.9 points. Indiana has trailed at halftime in each of its last four road contests, losing on each occasion.
Iowa has won seven of the last 10 meetings in Iowa City; the Hoosiers won 81-78 in Carver-Hawkeye Arena last season.
Tuesday’s game will tipoff at 8:06 p.m. (CT) and will be televised on ESPN with Jason Benetti, Dan Dakich, and Molly McGrath on the call. Tickets are available at the UI Athletics Ticket Office at 800-IA-HAWKS or online at hawkeyesports.com.