If the Iowa Hawkeyes want to maintain sole possession of the Big Ten lead they will need to win in a place that has provided mostly heartbreak in recent years. The Hawkeyes have lost four of their last five game’s in Northwestern’s Welsh-Ryan Arena and they take the nation’s number 18 ranking into Wednesday night’s contest.That includes the past two years when Northwestern won on buzzer beaters. Iowa coach Steve Alford says they were up 13 with three minutes to play and he says they played pretty well.
Alford says they just have to go and change things. He says he hopes the veteran nature of his team will be a plus. He says they’ve been through it all and have played that way in 23 games and he trusts them. He says they just have to go and play their style.
Iowa already has two road wins and with four of their next five away from home they will need some more to stay in the title chase. He says so far they’ve handled the challenges very well, whether it’s taking on back-to-back ranked opponents, or going on the road and coming home. Alford says now they face the challenge of two tough road games, and he says he’s anxious to see how that will go.
Wildcat coach Bill Carmody says Iowa is a physical team and it will be a struggle for them, but he says he looks forward to the challenge. Carmody says despite the record his team has been playing well. He says he knows his guys think they can beat Iowa at home, and he says they don’t think that they’re so bad that they can’t beat the Hawkeyes, even if Iowa comes in at number one in the conference.
Carmody says their mastery over Iowa in Evanston is evidence of just how important home court advantage is. He says it is an equalizer of sorts, but he says Iowa has a veteran team, and that will make it a tough game. Iowa is 7-2 in the Big Ten and 18-5 overall. Northwestern is 3-6 in the conference race and 10-10 overall.