2008-2009 Season

Game 28: Michigan at Iowa Preview

: Michigan  (17-10) at Iowa (13-13)
Where: Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City, IA
When: Sunday, Feb 22nd, 5 PM ET
: Iowa by 1
Preview: Stat Sheet, U-M KenPom Profile, Iowa KenPom Profile
: MGoBlue, WWJ-AM (950), WTKA-AM (1050)
Last Time:
Preview / Recap

Iowa looks like a team that is falling apart, one that you can write off, but just last weekend they almost knocked off Purdue in Iowa City without Jeff Peterson and Cyrus Tate. The Hawkeyes have lost 9 of their last 11 games and have had to deal with all kinds of injury and personnel issues over the last several months.  They still are not healthy and their once very efficient offense ranks tenth in the league when looking at only conference play.

Anthony Tucker was Iowa’s leading scorer early on but his season fell apart after a drinking related arrest, mono, and being ruled academically ineligible. Now Iowa is dealing with injuries to Cyrus Tate and Jeff Peterson. Cyrus is Iowa’s strongest inside presence but he has missed 10 of the last 11 games with a high ankle sprain. Lickliter and Tate don’t sound optimistic:

“Cyrus has always been a competitive person. A big heart. I just have to believe that (the injury) limiting him. There’s no question about it. He can’t tolerate the pain.”

“It’s something you can’t rush,” Tate said. “I’ve been impatient twice, and it’s cost me.”

Asked if this could be a season-ending injury, Tate said, “I’m not saying that. I’m still hoping I can be back.”

Jeff Peterson is the Hawkeye’s starting point guard who averages 10.6 ppg, 4.2 assists per game and shoots nearly 40 percent from three point range. Peterson missed last weekend’s game against Purdue but his chances sound a little better for playing this weekend:

“I hope to be back,” Peterson said. “There’s still a chance — I just don’t know how good.”

“Jeff is sore, (but) working hard,” Lickliter said. “And I’m hopeful because (the injury) wasn’t to the extent that it could have been. Now, I don’t know if he’ll be ready for Sunday, but I don’t foresee him practicing this week.

Without Tucker, Tate, and Peterson the Hawkeyes don’t have much. Matt Gatens is a freshman who can stroke the three ball (44.7% three point) and Jake Kelly is a versatile swing man who is pretty much a glue guy and does a bit of everything. Jermain Davis, Devan Bawinkel, Aaron Fuller, and Jarryd Cole round out the rotation but there really aren’t any playmakers or even potential playmakers in that group.

As a team Iowa really doesn’t do that much all that well. They love to take the air out of the ball and slow the game down and they are a good shooting team. They have hit 37.2% of their triples on the year but they are shooting only 34.2% in conference play. Similar to Michigan they love to shoot the three ball, 47.8% of their field goal attempts are three pointers. They do have some guys that can kill you from deep in Jeff Peterson, David Palmer, and Matt Gatens who all shoot over 39% from long range.

Iowa turns the ball over a lot, their turnover rate of 23.6% is second to last in conference play. They are also the worst team in the conference at forcing turnovers. These numbers shouldn’t come as a shock to Michigan fans because Michigan dominated the turnover battle in the first game, forcing turnovers on 30% of Iowa’s possessions and only coughing it up on 18.9% of their own. They don’t rebound well or do really do anything spectacular on defense.

This is a team that looks very beatable on paper. Carver-Hawkeye isn’t particularly hostile, and Michigan won there last year, but it is still a Big Ten road game. I worry about Cyrus Tate even if he is a long shot to play because he is a guy that killed Michigan last year (15.6 ppg and 9.3 rpg in 3 games). Jeff Peterson being out would be a gift for Michigan, especially because Iowa turns the ball over so often. The Hawkeyes have had plenty of time to prepare with 8 days of rest which is always good for a team thats trying to get healthy. They also have had plenty of time to watch film of the first contest between these two teams.

Pomeroy has Iowa winning 59-58 in a 56 possession game. I am cautiously optimistic but nervous at the same time. Let’s hear your thoughts, predictions, and in-game discussion in the comments.

Pre-Game Reading (updated til game time):

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