It’s been a good, but also somewhat disappointing season for the Iowa Hawkeyes. Based on how the team has performed over the last seven years, you would think that the fan base would be extremely thrilled about being ranked 15th in country heading into Saturday’s game against Illinois. But after another heartbreaking loss to a top 10 team, Iowa fans don’t know quite what to expect anymore.
Overall, Hawk fans are happy with where the team is at. Iowa is still in good shape for a tournament run this March, but now a Big Ten title seems like a bit too much to ask. However, there’s still a ton of basketball yet to be played. For now, the Hawks sights are just set on Saturday and their game in Champaign.
When it comes to the town of Champaign, IL and the Hawkeyes, this stat may surprise you – Iowa hasn’t won on the road at Illinois since 1999. That’s right, no Hawkeye wins in the Land of Lincoln since the days of Dr. Tom Davis. Iowa beat Illinois on Feb 21, 1999 by a score of 78-72.
So here they are 15 years later with a much different head coach at the helm and a lot at stake as they try to forget about their failures against MSU.
Frankly, it’s a game the Hawkeyes should win. Illinois is a solid ball club, but they’re simply not on the same level as Iowa when it comes to talent and depth. But if there’s one thing that can close that talent gap, it’s the home crowd in Champaign. The State Farm Center is flat out a tough place to play.
Make no mistake about it – this is a huge game for Iowa. The Hawkeyes will be attempting to improve to 5-0 this season in games following losses. If they can’t pull out a win on the road in Champaign, then fans really won’t know what to think.