Earlier this month when Ohio State and Iowa met on the court for the first time this season, these two were teams trending in opposite directions, and that was reflected in the outcome as OSU won 89-85 on the road. The Buckeyes were in the midst of a stretch of 10 wins in 11 games that carried them from unranked to No. 4 in the AP poll. Iowa, on the other hand, was mired in a stretch of four losses in five games that would drop them No. 4 to No. 15
Now, as they prepare to meet again Sunday on CBS, both have stabilized a bit from the more extreme ebbs and flows of the season and are looking to build momentum entering the final week of the regular season and into the postseason. No. 4 Ohio State (18-6, 12-6 Big Ten) has lost two straight close games in which late-game execution has been an issue, while No. 9 Iowa (17-7, 11-6) just had a four-game winning streak snapped by No. 3 Michigan.
The Buckeyes entered the weekend projected as a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, according to CBS Sports Bracketology expert Jerry Palm, while the Hawkeyes entered the weekend projected as a No. 3 seed. Both teams could use wins to solidify those positions, though, and with each ranking among the tops in scoring in the Big Ten, this matchup could feature some serious fireworks.
When: Sunday, 4 p.m. ET
Where: Value City Arena in Columbus, OhioTV: CBS | Live stream: CBSSports.com, CBS Sports App (Free)OTT: CBS Sports App (Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV, Chromecast)
Iowa: Just when it looked like Iowa was really rolling again, the Hawkeyes produced a dud Thursday night at No. 3 Michigan in a 79-57 loss that was their most-lopsided of the season by a wide margin. The loss was followed by bad news Friday, when the program announced that redshirt sophomore Jack Nunge will miss the rest of the season after suffering a torn right meniscus in the first half of the Michigan loss. The 6-foot-11 Nunge is in his fourth season with the program but has been plagued by injuries. His loss will be a hit to the team’s depth, as he was the team’s leading bench scorer. But Iowa still has Luka Garza, who remains a frontrunner for national player of the year. Expect Garza to be hungry after a rare off night against the Wolverines.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes entered the weekend clinging to that final No. 1 seed spot in Palm’s latest Bracketology, despite losing consecutive games to Michigan and Michigan State. Those defeats have brought Ohio State back down to earth after it rattled off seven straight wins and 10 out of 11 dating back to Jan. 9. Coach Chris Holtmann appeared especially exasperated with the officiating in Thursday’s loss, but the OSU offense also went cold in a clutch situation. The Buckeyes will obviously need to get better at closing out games if they are going to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. Of course, Ohio State was without starting forward Kyle Young against Michigan State because of a concussion he suffered in the Michigan game. Young is a key piece for this team, which is relatively small on the front line, and his return will be key for the Buckeyes whenever it happens.
Game prediction, pick
Ohio State has been in the game with a chance to win it late during both of its two recent losses. There aren’t many teams in America playing better offense for most of the game than the Buckeyes, and they will find their groove again against an Iowa defense that remains susceptible. Prediction: Ohio State 86, Iowa 80
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Published: 2021-02-28 20:45:17
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