Lindsey Fox / Asst. multimedia editor
Ohio State men’s basketball team has a history of recent success against Iowa, and it will look to continue it when it travels to play the Hawkeyes this weekend.
No. 6-ranked OSU (14-2, 2-1 Big Ten) plans to advance its current six-game winning streak against the Hawkeyes (10-6, 2-1 Big Ten), and a three-game winning streak in Iowa City, Iowa, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena Saturday.
The Hawkeyes might be well-positioned to end OSU’s streak.
While unranked, Iowa has heated up since its Big Ten schedule began Dec. 28, against Purdue. The Hawkeyes lost to the Boilermakers, 79-76, but then won road games at Wisconsin and Minnesota on Dec. 31, and Jan. 4, respectively.
Iowa is 5-1 in its last six games, and coach Thad Matta said the team appears to be coming together.
“They seem to have a great flow,” Matta said. “And have a very good offensive team.”
Iowa is currently averaging 77 point per game — the third-best average in the Big Ten.
Matta said a fast start against the Hawkeyes will be key for the team.
“We obviously always talk about trying to get off to a good start,” Matta said. “Last year up at Iowa we got off to a horrific 20-minute start.”
OSU eventually won the Jan. 4, 2011, game against the Hawkeyes to which Matta was referring, 73-68, but not before the team had to come back from a 35-29 halftime deficit.
Sophomore guard Aaron Craft said he recalls last year’s trip to Iowa City well.
“They had a great crowd. It’s a great place to go play, and we came in and it definitely was one of our first times when we went in and they played really well,” Craft said. “We had guys that did things that they don’t usually do, but we did a good job of playing through it.”
Matta said he is expecting another rowdy, sell-out crowd backing the Hawkeyes Saturday.
“We’re playing a really, really good opponent,” Matta said. “Iowa has pretty good players … It’s the rigors of the Big Ten.”
Craft agreed, saying, “Iowa is playing very hot right now,” and added that OSU will be successful when it begins games with emotion and fire.
“(Iowa is) making shots and playing really well,” Craft said. “I think this year, as long as we go in with the understanding … that it’s still going to be a tough place to play. They’re going to have a lot of people there, and we have to come ready to play.”
The Buckeyes and Hawkeyes will tip off at 2 p.m., and the game will be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network.