The Iowa basketball team had arguably their toughest matchup of the season vs Michigan State Monday. Here are the five toughest remaining games this season.
The good news is that the men’s Iowa basketball team has gotten a few tough games out of the way (away vs Oregon, at vs #12 Wisconsin, and @ #10 Michigan State), with this past Monday’s terrible loss to Michigan State at the Breslin Center being arguably the toughest game the Hawkeyes have on their regular season schedule. Although I’ll admit I had high hopes heading into the contest, I should have seen what was coming considering the men’s Iowa basketball team has beaten Michigan State in Lansing just once since 1993.
The outcome was inevitable. As I said above though, the good news is that game is out of the way. The bad news, however, is that Iowa lost that game and the game before that against Wisconsin, and the schedule doesn’t get much easier in a loaded Big Ten Conference. Out of all of those tough matchups, here are the five toughest games the promising Iowa basketball team has remaining this season.
- @ #12 Wisconsin (3/7): Since the Kohls center opened in 1999, the Badgers are a remarkable 289 out of 337 there, which is a 86% winning percentage. Moreover, the Badgers have a strong team, and they’ve already proven they can beat the Hawkeyes. I’ve personally been there to watch an Iowa basketball game, and it wasn’t a very inviting experience for an opposing fan. Side note, Fran McCaffrey got ejected as he had a meltdown due to penalties
- Vs #5 Michigan (2/1): While this game will be held at Carver Hawkeye Arena, playing Michigan this year will be tough regardless of location because they are looking like a Final Four contender early in the season. The Wolverines hold key wins over previously #8 ranked Villanova, previously #11 ranked UNC, and previously #19 ranked Purdue. What makes them scary is that they are one of the few teams that can match up with the Iowa basketball team’s size and length. To top it all off, Iowa has the worst winning percentage versus Michigan (.403) compared to all other Big Ten teams
- Vs #10 Michigan State (1/24): This is an easy one and pretty fresh in all of our minds. What scares me though is how well Michigan State counterpunched Fran McCaffrey’s game plan to eliminate their dynamic guard duo. While Cassius Winston and Joshua Langford struggled offensively, Nick Ward and Kenny Goins went off against Iowa’s frontcourt.
- @ Indiana (2/7): Indiana is a basketball school and Indiana is a basketball state, and no matter what team is coming to Assembly Hall, Hoosier fans make it difficult. In fact, Assembly Hall was ranked the toughest place to play in the Big Ten. While Indiana is not currently ranked they are receiving votes for the top-25. This will be a tough matchup for the Hawks.
- @ #24 Nebraska (3/10): Undoubtedly anyone reading this is thinking “Nebraska?!”, but hear me out. Since Pinnacle Arena in Lincoln opened in 2013, the Huskers are 64-24 at home. That’s a 72% winning percentage, while that may need seem impressive consider this. First, Nebraska is not known for being a basketball powerhouse and in that same period of time, their overall record is 89-80 (.527). Second, their actual away record is 25-56 (.308). Third, Nebraska is actually a decent basketball squad this year.
That’s a tough slate of games for the Iowa basketball team not including the all the other Big Ten games that will prove to be difficult throughout the 2018-2019 season. Thankfully, after the Hawks defeat the Cyclones tonight, they have a few easier games before jumping into the rest of their difficult Big Ten schedule starting in January.