Iowa faces another top-15 opponent at Purdue
One down, one to go.
The Iowa men's basketball team entered the week with a significant opportunity on the table — leading off the Big Ten season by defeating two top-15 teams.
Following an 83-70 win over No. 1 Michigan State Tuesday, the Hawkeyes' first win over the top-ranked team in the nation since 1999, Iowa (10-3, 1-0 Big Ten) travels to West Lafayette, Ind., to take on No. 14 Purdue (13-1, 1-0). The Boilermakers upended Wisconsin 61-55 Tuesday.
Iowa handled Michigan State in the absence of the Spartans' best player, Denzel Valentine, who is out with a knee injury. But the Hawkeyes played most of the first half without their top scorer, too, as Jarrod Uthoff picked up his second foul only 6:25 into the game. Still, coach Fran McCaffery's club took a 14-point lead into halftime and never looked back.
Now, Purdue awaits.
A.J. Hammons leads the Boilermakers this season. Hammons, a senior center, averages nearly a double-double with 14.2 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. The Iowa frontcourt of Uthoff and Adam Woodbury will have a tough assignment to contain Hammons.
If there are any concerns going into Saturday, though, confidence shouldn't be one following Tuesday's victory.
"I would like to think it's a great confidence builder," McCaffery said. "We got another Top-15 team going Saturday. So, hopefully, we learned lessons of how to compete, how to execute and how to not take a possession off, and we carry that over to Purdue."