The Iowa basketball team will do something Wednesday night it hasn’t done since Dec. 21.
Play an unranked opponent.
Riding a three game losing streak, the Hawkeyes host Northwestern tonight at 7:30 (CST) inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The game can also be seen on the Big Ten Network.
Although Northwestern (10-4, 1-3) is unranked, the Wildcats have played extremely well this season.
While the squad still runs its trademark “Princeton-style offense,” the Wildcats are a much more explosive offense than in years past.
Northwestern averages 77 points per game and has scored at least 90 points four times this season. The Wildcats had only scored 90 points in a game twice in the last 10 seasons.
Junior John Shurna is a major reason for the increased offense.
One of three Wildcats averaging double figures, Shurna averages 20.4 points per game and is a 58 percent shooter from 3-point range. Teammates Michael Thompson and Drew Crawford average 14.9 and 13.2 points per game, respectively.
“If you don’t play with a great level of concentration, they’ll carve you up,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said Monday during the weekly Big Ten coaches teleconference.
Iowa (7-8, 0-3) will look to put its 75-52 loss to Purdue behind them as it tries to get McCaffery his first conference win. The Hawkeyes turned the ball over 16 times and shot a dismal 36 percent from the field in their Jan. 9 loss to the Boilermakers.
History dictates that this game will be close. Nine of the last 11 meetings between Iowa and Northwestern have been determined by 10 points or less, and six of those games have come down to five points or less.
Projected Starting Lineups, according to Iowa release: