The Iowa Hawkeyes return to Big Ten action tonight when they host 19th ranked Minnesota. The Hawks picked up their first Big Ten victory with a 65-60 win over Indiana and now host a Minnesota team that is off to a 13-1 start under second year coach Tubby Smith.
Iowa coach Todd Lickliter says they are a balanced team that competes at a high level and are well coached. He says to have any chance the Hawkeyes must limit easy baskets by the Gophers. Lickliter says they score in transition at the rim after the other team makes a basket, so the guards have to sprint the floor and get back. He says even when you score, they still come at you.
Junior college transfer Devan Bawinkel has emerged as a three point threat for Iowa. He is shooting better than 46% from behind the arc in the last five games but still has not attempted a two point shot or a free throw all season. Lickliter says it’s great the Bawinkel knows his strength and contributes and stays away from things that he isn’t successful at. He says Indiana got to where they were not leaving Bawinkel on defense because of his outside threat.
Iowa is 11-4 overall and both teams are 1-1 in the Big Ten. The Gophers are coming off a win over Ohio State and coach Tubby Smith hopes the aggressive style they showed in that game carries over. Smith says they will see, as he says talk is just talk, but he says they need to continue playing that way.
Gopher forward Lawrence Westbrook says depth s a strength of the team, as he says they don’t even look at it as starters and the bench, as everyone plays a lot of minutes.