IOWA HAWKEYES vs.
MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS
|TIME||1:30 pm CT|
|WHERE||Breslin Center, East Lansing|
|STREAM||Fox Sports Live|
TALE OF THE TAPE
|126.2 (1st)||OFF. EFF.||107.0 (89th)|
|99.3 (120th)||DEF. EFF.||93.1 (34th)|
|55.2 (23rd)||eFG%||48.5 (236th)|
We enter the final handful of Big Ten games and (barring a reschedule of Iowa-Nebraska) the easiest game left on Iowa's schedule looks like a trip to East Lansing. Just the way we saw this season going down, right? The Hawks and Sparty tip at 1:30 Saturday on Fox, with Gus Johnson and Jim Jackson on the call.
We're only eleven days removed from the last time Iowa played Michigan State, a six-point home win for the Hawkeyes. Not much has changed in that time: Sparty beat Nebraska last weekend and squeaked past Penn State mid-week, both at home. Izzo's squad is still absurdly inefficient on offense, with poor shooting and not enough rebounding to make up for it. They still have the nation's leading assist rate, a stat that bodes particularly bad things for an Iowa defense that crumples in the face of effective ball movement. At least Iowa has shown an interest in playing man-to-man defense in the last couple of weeks, which would probably help with everything in this paragraph.
Regardless, it's Michigan State in the Breslin Center. Iowa has won there exactly once under McCaffery, and been within single digits one other time (last year). There aren't fans, but there is still Izzo and his Rasputin-like hold on Big Ten officials (particularly Bo Boroski and Steve McJunkins, neither of whom was working last night). If it weren't for all of that -- the history there, the referees, the Izzo thing -- this would look like a final walk-through before the real challenge starts. Instead, Iowa had better be prepared for a war.