Expect a high-quality college basketball game on Thursday night as the Michigan Wolverines go head-to-head against the Iowa Hawkeyes. Both teams are in need of a resume booster at this point in the season, so they will be eager to go to battle.
Michigan Wolverines vs. Iowa Hawkeyes Preview
The Wolverines currently have a record of 9-6 on the season. They’re haunted by a loss to Central Michigan at home, however, they have begun conference play with a solid 3-1 record. The Hawkeyes, on the other hand, have a record of 10-6 and have gone 2-3 against conference opponents. They also have a bad home loss this season after dropping a gimme versus Eastern Illinois less than a month ago.
Iowa’s Recent Streak
The Hawkeyes have won two games in a row for the first time since November, beating Indiana by two points at home last Thursday. They then hammered Rutgers on their way to an 11 point victory on Sunday. This streak followed a three-game skid which included a 92-83 loss to Eastern Illinois as 31½ point favorites. This was the biggest upset against the spread in NCAA history.
Key to Stopping Iowa: Lockdown Kris Murray
The key to stopping Iowa is finding some way to slow down star forward Kris Murray. Much like his twin brother Keegan, last season’s Big Ten Player of the Year runner-up who is putting up 11.7 points per game for the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, Murray is simply dominating opponents. Moreover, a strong performance versus the Wolverines would be a personal resume booster for the junior star. His 20.9 points per game is second among Big Ten players while his 9.6 rebounds per game is fourth.
Filip Rebraca: A Formidable Second Option
Many Pistons fans may recognize Filip’s name, as his father, Zeljko, played for Detroit from 2001-2004. Alongside Murray, Filip Rebraca has proven to be a formidable second option, especially over the past month. Rebraca is a senior in his second year with Iowa. He’s averaging 14.5 points (12th in the Big Ten) and 8.8 rebounds (fifth) in nearly 32 minutes per game.
Michigan’s Poor Shooting Must Improve
Michigan’s game against Iowa on Thursday night is unlikely to resemble their last game. On Saturday, the Wolverines shot just 34.5% against Michigan State in a 59-53 loss. This was their second-worst mark of the year, with their worst being a 33.9% effort against Arizona State in New York in November. Against the Spartans, the Wolverines made just three of twenty tries, a 15% success rate.
Exploit Iowa’s Weak Defense
It’s hard to imagine Michigan shooting as poorly against the Hawkeyes. Iowa ranks last in the Big Ten in points allowed (72.1 per game) and opponents’ field goal percentage (44.6%). However, the Wolverines may not challenge the Hawkeyes much, either. Iowa entered Wednesday leading the league in offense (81.4 points per game), with Michigan’s defense next-to-last at 68.8 points per game.
Hawkeyes Not at Full Strength
Iowa is without Patrick McCaffery, who has missed the past two games as he stepped away from the team to work on his mental health. He was the team’s third-leading scorer (12.6 points per game) through 14 games.
Thursday night’s game between the Michigan Wolverines and the Iowa Hawkeyes promises to be an exciting matchup with both teams eager for a resume booster. The Wolverines will aim to bounce back from poor shooting performances and challenge Iowa’s defense, which ranks last in the Big Ten. Meanwhile, the Hawkeyes will look to continue their recent winning streak and rely on their star forward Kris Murray and Filip Rebraca’s veteran presence. The Wolverines will need to slow down Murray and limit his impact on the game if they hope to come out victorious.
Matchup: Michigan (9-6, 3-1 Big Ten) vs. Iowa (10-6, 2-3 Big Ten).
Tipoff: 7 p.m. Thursday; Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City.
TV/radio: ESPN2; WWJ-AM (950), WTKA-AM (1050).
Line: Hawkeyes by 4½.
Michigan: G Dug McDaniel (Freshman, 6.1 ppg), G Kobe Bufkin (Sophomore, 12.4 ppg), F Jett Howard (Freshman, 14.3 ppg), F Terrance Williams II (Junior, 7.3 ppg), C Hunter Dickinson (Junior, 18.7 ppg)
Iowa: G Ahron Ulis (Junior, 5.3 ppg), G Tony Perkins (Junior, 10.8 ppg) G Connor McCaffery (Senior, 7.8 ppg), F Kris Murray (Junior, 20.9 ppg), F Filip Rebraca (Senior, 14.5 ppg)
Tweet @WoodwoodSports or comment on your favorite social media platform!
The Woodward Sports Shop has ALL NEW Apparel – check it out here!