Iowa,Michigan State Meet Up for 3rd Time This Season

Posted: March 9, 2011 by Austin Bramley in Hawkeye Basketball, Spartan Basketball
Tags: , , , ,

The Michigan State Spartans and the Iowa  Hawkeye’s will match up for the third time this season in the first round of the Big Ten tournament at Conseco Field house  on Thursday afternoon at 4:30 pm ET.

Michigan State enters the tournament as a seven seed and the Hawkeyes will get the tenth seed. The first time these two teams played was back on February 2nd in Iowa City as the Hawkeyes pulled off the upset and won 72-52.  Iowa contributed to Michigan State’s worst stretch of the season as they lost 5 of 6 at one point. Michigan State opened up a can of payback on the Hawkeyes when they dribbled into Iowa City and beat Iowa by 19, 85-66.

By now if you have been following college basketball you have realized that Michigan State isn’t the team that they were supposed to be. I know it may be hard to believe but the Spartans were actually ranked #2 in the country at one point. Michigan State looked like they could make another run to the final four, until January 18th hit at they lost 8 of their final 13 games.  Tom Izzo will never use this as an excuse but the Spartans are a younger team then they have been in the past. It also doesn’t help that they lost Korie Lucious to a suspension until he later transferred to Iowa State. Lucious may have not been contributing to the team on the floor but it’s safe to say he was causing some distraction.

The Spartans haven’t been able to put up the statistical numbers that count.  They rank 165th in the country in points per game at just above 69 points a night. They also rank 76 in the country in rebounds averaging 36.9 boards per game.  Tom Izzo’s squad cant seem to buy a bucket, they average 43% shooting on the year, that ranks 166th in the nation.

one of Michigan State’s stars on the court this year is Kalin Lucus. The 6’1 senior guard averages 17 points per contest and also put up 17 points against Iowa in both contests. Draymond Green could do the most for the Spartans, he only averages 12 points a game but grabs 8 boards as well. Green had 11 points vs Iowa in the first game and 12 points in the second. Green and Lucus run the show for the Spartans.

If there is one thing consistent about the Hawkeye’s this season it has to be that they are consistently inconsistent. Iowa could not get a very big win streak going all year in fact they only had two, 2 game win streaks.  They had back to back wins against Idaho State and Northern Iowa as well as back to back conference wins against Michigan State and Indiana.  Unlike Michigan State, Iowa wasn’t supposed win many games this year. The reason for that is because Iowa has embraced a new system, a new head coach in Fran McCaffery and is very, very young. Now I am not making excuses, Iowa has looked like a very bad team at times this season and you sometimes wonder if the Dr. Tom Davis like days will ever reach Iowa City again. Matt Gatens, the 6’5 junior for the Hawkeyes believes that they are right there with other great Big Ten teams in the league, but they just haven’t been able to turn the corner.  “We have been with a lot of the greater teams in the Big Ten all year, we just haven’t been able to turn that corner. [Saturday] was a prime example against Purdue and we just hope to carry that momentum into the Big Ten tournament”.

Speaking of carrying momentum, Iowa had some much-needed momentum with the win over Purdue. ” Celebrating with the fans after the game was awesome. Yeah know its something you see on T.V all the time and I’m glad we were able to do that with our fans. Hopefully in the future that happens at lot more at Carver” Gatens said.

Gatens is the leading scorer for the Hawkeyes with just over 12 points per game.  Jarryd Cole could be the most respected senior in Iowa basketball history and he leads the team in rebounds at with 6 a game. Iowa is a team that lacks senior leadership. That doesn’t go a against the leadership that Cole has provided because he has done a tremendous job, what I mean by “lacks senior leadership” is Iowa has two seniors on the team and only one who sees the floor. Otherwise Iowa has junior Matt Gatens( who is a team captain) and a bunch of up and coming underclassmen. Roy Devyn Marble and Melsahn Basabe are two highly talented freshmen that you will come to know in the up coming years. You may recognize Marble. His dad Roy Marble sr. was an excellent basketball player at Iowa and in the N.B.A. Basabe is Iowa’s 2nd leading scorer and has already matured as a freshmen.

The games between the Hawkeyes and Spartans haven’t been close this year but if I trusted my gut, I  would say this one will be.  Iowa is looking to take the next step with another big win and Michigan State would love to sneak into the tournament and play the “Cinderella” role. Of course can you really call Michigan State a “Cinderella” team? Tune into ESPN on Thursday at 4:30 to see what happens between Sparty and Herkey.

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