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Hawkeyes Look to Regain Their Stride as they Host #25 Rutgers:

The Iowa Hawkeyes Men’s Basketball team has hit a bump, losing two straight, and four of their last five. The Hawkeyes continue to struggle without Sophomore Guard CJ Fredrick. Frederick has been nursing a lower leg injury for around 3 weeks. On the bright side for the Hawkeyes, Senior Guard Jordan Bohannon has reached double digit scoring in their last two matchups vs Ohio State and Indiana, including a game-tying 3 point shot in the 67-65 loss to the Hoosiers on Sunday.

For the Hawkeyes, a big opportunity awaits as they host the 25th ranked Rutgers Scarlet Knights, who are winners of four straight. In this stretch, Rutgers has wins on the road at Indiana and Northwestern, and two home wins at the RAC against Michigan State and Minnesota. The key for the Scarlet Knights has been Senior Guard Geo Baker. He has scored double digits in all four of their victories.

The last matchup between these two teams took place in Piscataway, New Jersey on January 2, 2020. In that matchup, Iowa was without Junior Guard Connor McCaffery for essentially the entirety of the game. That led to Freshman Forward Keegan Murray to have an opportunity to step up, in which he did. Murray recorded 14 points and 9 rebounds, including a clutch rebound on a missed 3 point shot from Joe Wieskamp. Murray was fouled on his shot, knocking down 2 free throws to give Iowa the lead. A half court heave from Jacob Young was no good, and Iowa escaped with a road victory. 

A huge key for Iowa in this Top 25 matchup, is to defend the 3 point shot. Rutgers has players who are capable of stroking it from behind the arch. They are Geo Baker, Ron Harper Jr., Montez Mathis, Jacob Young, and Paul Mulcahy. Iowa will need to have great perimeter defense and have to close out on shooters. That was a big struggle in their loss this past Thursday to Ohio State, allowing Duane Washington Jr. and Justin Ahrens to torch them in the second half. 

Luka Garza
Photo- Sports Illustrated

An important thing to note for Rutgers, is to defend the post and contest looks from 3. Obviously when looking at Iowa, Senior Center and National Player of the Year Favorite Luka Garza stands out. Also, the play of Redshirt Forward Jack Nunge has been important for Iowa, scoring 12 in their win over Michigan State and 18 in their loss against Ohio State. The Scarlet Knights will also need to close out on Iowa’s shooters: Jordan Bohannon, Joe Wieskamp, and CJ Fredrick, if healthy.

This is the only Top 25 Matchup on Wednesday’s slate. Iowa has won the last two matchups in this series, both single digit wins. You can catch the game on Big Ten Network at 6:30 PM CT.