Penn State–Iowa Preview
Good old Iowa. As of late Penn Staters haven’t been too fond of those Hawkeyes. It seems like only yesterday that Jake Kelly was hitting bank shots left and right single-handedly sending the Lions to the NIT. While the NIT Championship wasn’t exactly the worst thing to happen to the program nobody is sending thank you letters to the Hawkeyes either.
In an odd twist of fate, Iowa has gone from a solid Big Ten team to a team with some serious issues. In their defense, after losing players to graduation and transfer they are in a rebuilding year, but a rebuilding year never the less. Honestly, if the Lions cannot pick up a win in Iowa they are in for a long season. You might be feeling that it has been a pretty long season already, but realistically the Lions are still in the hunt for a top 8 finish in the Big Ten. While that wasn’t how any of us planned out this season, it might just be time to adjust that old expectation meter a little bit. Not that the team isn’t capable of playing at a high level, just that the pieces haven’t come together yet.
Iowa hasn’t won more than two games in a row but that doesn’t mean that you can chalk anything up as an easy win. Matt Gantens and Anthony Tucker both average about 12 points a game. Outside of those two, there are no real obvious scoring threats. On the other hand, the same thing can be said about the Lions.
The most notable feat that Iowa has had thus far is being tied with #3 Texas at half, but for the most part that game was the result of rising to the occasion, and not an indication of consistent play.
While the Lions look for their first Big Ten win, it will be important to not look at Iowa’s record or stats, but to play the game as if they were playing MSU. Penn State is a capable team, and needs to realize that, look for a similar starting line up for Illinois. At the moment I dont know if Babb will be playing after dislocating his pinky, but indications are that he is fine. All in all the Lions are a more talented team and should come away with the win. Now if it was only that easy.