By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Ryan Kriener has been eyeing Tuesday’s game against Purdue for nearly a month.
Not only is it Senior Day inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena, but it’s also a chance for the Hawkeyes to get redemption. The Boilermakers handled Iowa on Feb. 5 in West Lafayette to the tune of a 104-68 victory.
“We watched the clips on that yesterday and it wasn’t too fun,” said Kriener. “It added fuel to the fire; we have been ready for it.”
Purdue shot 63.1 percent for the game and made a school record 19 3-pointers. It was one of those nights inside Mackey Arena.
“That is always tough when you give that stuff up,” said Kriener. “We did some stuff that helped them get rolling. You have to tip your caps to them; at the end of the day they hit all those shots.”
Senior Bakari Evelyn has the game circled for several reasons. He’s 0-fer against the Boilermakers in his three collegiate stops — Nebraska, Valparaiso, and Iowa
“I want to switch the narrative this last time,” he said. “As a team, it’s making up for the game in West Lafayette and showing that’s not the team they’re going to be playing tomorrow night.”
Just Another Day
On Tuesday night, the Hawkeyes will recognize Kriener, Evelyn, and Riley Till during a Senior Night ceremony prior to the game against Purdue.
“We have some pretty special people that we’re going to honor, and they need to be honored appropriately,” said Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery. “We’ll do that, and then we’ll lock into the game plan.”
Kriener wants to embrace the moment, but not let the emotion overtake him.
“It’s the same story, I am trying to take it one day at a time and not think about it,” said Kriener. “It means a lot to me the opportunity I have had. I want to get through it, reminisce on it later.
“I don’t want to be overly emotional for game day.”
What about his parents?
“They’re the boss, they’ll do what they want.”
While answering questions with reporters, Kriener was asked if he felt he gets overlooked coming from small-town Iowa.
“Yeah, I think that’s something that happens with athletes from Iowa,” said Kriener, who hails from Spirit Lake, Iowa. “I think Iowa is overlooked athletically as a state as a whole. We have really good athletes here and time and time again, we produce Division I prospects every year, no matter what sport it is.
“We have a population of around 3 million — about the same as Chicago. Maybe things aren’t as heralded, but as a state we produce a lot of high-level successful athletes.”