Keys to the game: Iowa vs Rutgers

(Jeffrey Becker/ USA Today sports)

The 21st-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes (19-5, 8-5) travel to Piscataway, New Jersey Saturday evening for a matchup with the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (12-12, 5-9). Tip-off is slated for 5pm CST.

Last time out

Iowa is coming off a thrilling comeback victory over Northwestern last Sunday, capped by Jordan Bohannon’s game-winning three-pointer with under a second to go, erasing a 15-point deficit to earn the win.

Rutgers beat Northwestern on the road Wednesday night, 59-56, to pick up their fifth Big Ten win of the season and climb back to .500 overall.

Projected starters


G Jordan Bohannon (11.1 ppg, 3.4 apg)

G Isaiah Moss (9.6 ppg)

G Joe Wieskamp (11.9 ppg, 4.8 rpg)

F Tyler Cook (16.5 ppg, 8.2 rpg)

F Luka Garza (13.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg)


G Geo Baker (13 ppg, 3 rpg, 4 apg)

G Montez Mathis (8.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg)

F Eugene Omoruvi (14 ppg, 7.4 rpg)

F Ron Harper Jr. (6.5 ppg, 3 rpg)

C Shaquille Doorson (3.9 ppg, 4.7 rpg)

Keys to the game

Clear the boards: Despite being ranked outside the top 150 most categories, the Scarlet Knights have a penchant for attacking the offensive glass, ranking 21st nationally in offensive rebounding. In Big Ten play, they lead the conference in that category, also ranking fourth in two-point field goal attempts. Rutgers still only averages 66.1 points per game in conference play, but Iowa has shown a weakness for allowing far too many easy buckets, allowing Big Ten opponents to convert 55.8% of two-point field goals, good for dead last in conference play. The Hawkeyes need to make rebounding the priority and keep second chances for Rutgers to a minimum.

Win at the free throw line: Iowa leads the Big Ten in free throw percentage, knocking down just over 75 percent of its attempts. Meanwhile, Rutgers enters the game on the opposite end of the spectrum, taking up last place with a 63.1 percent clip. The Scarlet Knights have just two players shooting above 70 percent from the charity stripe on the season, while Iowa has six active players who surpass that threshold, including three (Bohannon, Moss, Garza) who shoot better than 85 percent. There is a clear advantage here for the Hawkeyes.

Transition, attack the rim: While Rutgers has managed to stay out of foul trouble for the most part, Iowa has the kind of offensive attack that could put the Scarlet Knights on their heels and force them into committing fouls. As mentioned above, Iowa’s first priority must be the defensive glass, but they’ll need to make sure they’re getting into their transition game once rebounds have been secured. If those opportunities are limited, it would serve the Hawkeyes well to get the ball to the paint in their half-court offense, giving Garza and Cook the chance to go to work and get some easy points on bunnies or free throws.

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