There are two early games today, both of which could have NCAA Tournament implications.
Game of the Day
#21 Iowa Hawkeyes at Minnesota Golden Gophers
- Time/TV: 1:00 PM ET (FS1)
After falling to Indiana earlier this week Iowa has now lost their last three road games and besides a win over Northwestern haven’t won on the road in conference play. Even more problematic is the Iowa defense continues to be dreadful as they gave up 104(!) to Purdue and 89 to Indiana in their last two road games. Now they play at Minnesota.
Minnesota left a lot of potential wins on the table and now at 12-11 really need to rack up some wins if they want to reenter the postseason talk. Iowa provides an opportunity for the Gophers to salvage their season, especially with a home game against Indiana and road trip at Northwestern next week. Win here and Minnesota could be 14-11 with a few more chances to add some quality wins to close the season.
Daniel Oturu has been huge all season and Marcus Carr has anchored the backcourt, though the Gophers have been plagued with inconsistency almost everywhere else. That could prove problematic as Iowa has a well balanced offensive attack that gets points from basically everyone seeing minutes. Today should also be a treat as two of the best bigs in the conference (Oturu and Luka Garza) will go head to head.
Minnesota is tough at home and has the pieces to win games like these. At the same time they can’t get consistent production past Oturu and Carr and Iowa has a relatively balanced attack that you think should win here. Of course Iowa’s defense is nonexistent and their road woes can’t be ignored.
Iowa should win on paper, but look for Minnesota to get the ‘Iowa boost’ on offense and pick up a much needed win today.
Indiana Hoosiers at Michigan Wolverines
- Time/TV: 1:00 PM ET (CBS)
Indiana bounced backed nicely from a dreadful loss to Purdue by dropping 89 on a ranked Iowa team in a big win for their NCAA Tournament resume. Now the question is if the game was the beginning of an improved offense or if it was just taking advantage of a hapless Iowa defense.
The Wolverines definitely faded after they climbed into the top ten, but a recent 4-1 surge (with wins over Rutgers and Michigan State) have helped solidify their resume. With Isaiah Livers back in action the Wolverines have found their offensive footing and that’s a good thing with a pretty rough schedule from here on out.
Indiana hasn’t been pretty all season and Michigan typically plays pretty good at home. One thing to keep an eye on is Wolverine center Jon Teske, who has shot 20.7% from the field the last three games. The senior has been slumping hard and Michigan will need him to be better down the stretch.
With Livers back in the mix the Wolverines have plenty of options on offense and some much improved perimeter shooting. That should be enough to take down an Indiana team that hasn’t looked great (besides the Iowa game) as of late.