By Pat Harty
IOWA CITY, Iowa – There are times when having a quick turnaround could maybe work to a team’s advantage.
Fran McCaffery is certainly hoping that is the case for the Iowa men’s basketball team as it prepares to face Iowa State on Thursday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, and barely 48 hours after having lost to Duke 74-62 in the Jimmy V Classic this past Tuesday at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The game against Duke didn’t start until after 9 p.m. CST on Tuesday and it ended after 11 p.m.
It would be easy to assume that Fran McCaffery is worried about having to play so soon after arriving home from a road trip that stretched halfway across the country.
But that is hardly the case.
“We don’t look at it one way or the other,” Fran McCaffery said Tuesday after the Duke loss. “It’s the next game. When is it? We’ll show up and be ready to play.
“I think there’s a lot more made about fatigue. These are young kids. Games are forty minutes long. They could have played eighty minutes. Get on a plane and rest. Get up tomorrow and you feel good.”
Another good thing about having a quick turnaround is the players won’t have time to dwell on the Duke loss. They also don’t have to wait long for a chance to redeem themselves.
And though Iowa only made 3-of-16 shots from 3-point range against Duke, Fran McCaffery doesn’t seem too worried about his team’s shooting, either.
It was just one of those off nights that teams have sometimes.
“We have good shooters that didn’t make shots tonight,” Fran McCaffery said. “I thought we moved the ball and shot open shots, and they didn’t go in.”
Iowa junior forward Kris Murray only took nine shots against Duke and was held to just eight points, which is 13 below his average.
“They just kind of stuck with me the whole entire night,” Kris Murray said. “Every time I drove in, they showed multiple defenders so it’s just something I have to adjust to in the future, just be able to make plays off that.”
“They’re definitely a really good defensive team.”
Iowa State, meanwhile, is also a good defensive team under second-year head coach T.J. Otzelberger, who led the Cyclones to the Sweet 16 last season after Iowa State had finished 2-22 the previous season.
Iowa State is fifth in the country and first in the Big 12 in forced turnovers (20.75) and steals per game (11.6).
The Cyclones are also tops in the Big 12 in and ninth nationally in scoring defense (56.8). They are also first in their league and 15th in the country in 3-point percentage defense (.263).
Iowa State enters Thursday’s game with a 7-1 record. The Cyclones have played two games against ranked opponents, both at the Phil Knight Invitational. Iowa State knocked off top-ranked North Carolina (70-65) and fell to No. 20 Connecticut (71-53).
“We’re going to play Iowa State, our in-state rival, so we’re definitely going to be excited for that,” said Iowa senior forward Filip Rebraca said. “Just get some rest, get some rest [Wednesday].”
Iowa has won four of the last six games in the series and the home team has won 16 of the last 19 games in the series.
Iowa State (7-1) vs. Iowa (6-2)
When: Thursday, 7:01 p.m.
Where: Carver-Hawkeye Arena
Radio: Hawkeye Radio Network
Series: Iowa holds a 47-28 advantage in the series. Iowa has won four of the last six overall meetings. The home team has won 16 of the last 19 in the series, dating back to 2004, with the Cyclones winning in Iowa City in 2010 and 2015 and the Hawkeyes winning in Ames in 2019. Iowa holds a 30-7 edge in games played at Iowa City, with the Hawkeyes winning seven of the last nine meetings in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, including three straight. Iowa beat the Cyclones, 101-77, in the last game contested between the two teams in Iowa City in 2020.
Thursday is Iowa’s annual “Black Out.” Fans are encouraged to wear black clothing to the game. The Hawkeyes will be wearing their black uniforms on Thursday.