Huskers, Hawkeyes finally set to square off

LINCOLN, Neb. – It’s hard to take the momemtum with you from one game to the next. Add in a postponement, and the Hawkeyes will have an even harder time adding to their longest Big Ten Conference win streak since 2007.

Not to mention that it gave Nebraska more time to prepare for its next guest.

The University of Iowa men march into the Bob Devaney Sports Center today for a 1:05 p.m. tipoff against the host Cornhuskers, who have had six days to get ready for the Hawkeyes.

The originally scheduled Thursday night contest got bumped by a winter storm that dumped record amounts of snow over parts of the Midwest. Once set to be televised by ESPN2, today’s makeup affair will now be found on BTN2Go – both online and mobile.

Iowa (17-9, 6-7) slides in with a three-game conference win streak, holding off Northwestern and Penn State before beating Minnesota badly its last time out. Another league win would make it four straight for the first time since 2006 – and keep the Hawkeyes in line for a chance at making the NCAA tournament.

“You can’t look one, two, three, four, five, six games down the road,” said Iowa coach Fran McCaffery. “We are literally in control of our own destiny. It’s so clich, but if we take care of business and beat the teams on our schedule, we will get in.”

Today’s game marks the first of two meetings between Iowa and Nebraska in the final two weeks of the regular season. The Hawkeyes host the ‘Huskers March 9 prior to heading to Chicago for the Big Ten Tournament.

Nebraska (12-14, 3-10) has endured four losses in its last five outings, but the outcomes are deceiving. Each of those defeats came against then-ranked teams, including a nine-point setback against then-No. 8 Michigan State last Saturday.

Dylan Talley scored a career-high 28 points in that defeat and leads Nebraska with a 13.8 points-per-game average. The 6-foot-5 senior point guard is averaging 20 ppg over the last three.

Freshman forward Shavon Shields had his first career double-double against the Spartans as well.

“It’s an important game for us,” said Nebraska coach Tim Miles. “It’s our neighbor. Anytime you get a game with a team that is your neighbor … it feels like it is a rivalry game, and I think it’s really important.”

Roy Devyn Marble has rebounded from an injury-plagued patch of games to play some of his best ball yet. The 6-foot-6 junior guard has led the Hawkeyes in scoring each of the last three games and is averaging 19.9 points during that stretch.

True freshman point guard Mike Gesell, who will return to his home state with today’s game, has scored double digits in four of the Hawkeyes’ last five. The South Sioux City, Neb., native is averaging 9.1 points and 2.8 assists per game.

Iowa is 24-0 over the last three seasons when holding its opponent to fewer than 60 points.

“They’ve done a good job changing defenses, they play at a good tempo – I really like their team,” Miles said of the Hawkeyes. “You have to prepare for them, there’s a lot of different things they’ll do to you. As soon as you solve this problem they’ll change defenses. They were able to do that against Minnesota, and do that effectively too.”