Iowa basketball draws Northwestern rematch in 2022 Big Ten Tournament

Chad Leistikow
Hawk Central

INDIANAPOLIS — Just a week-and-a-half ago, the Iowa men’s basketball team overwhelmed Northwestern on its senior day. The Hawkeyes canned 13 3-pointers and rolled to a 21-point home victory.

But the Wildcats were playing short-handed that Monday night in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. As many as four players were experiencing flu symptoms. Standout point guard Boo Buie only played three minutes, and star forward Pete Nance was also ill and scored just four points in 29 minutes as Iowa rolled, 82-61.

Northwestern and Iowa are about to meet again. This time, the Wildcats look healthier and will enter the matchup with the momentum of a two-game winning streak.

No. 12 seed Northwestern’s comeback win against 13th-seeded Nebraska, 71-69, Wednesday at Gainbridge Fieldhouse advanced the Wildcats (15-15) to Thursday’s round-of-12 matchup at the Big Ten Conference tournament against Iowa (22-9). The game will tip off at approximately 1 p.m. CT and be televised by Big Ten Network.

Iowa guard Tony Perkins runs up court alongside Northwestern star Pete Nance in the Hawkeyes' Feb. 28 win, 82-61.

Northwestern trailed Nebraska at halftime, 39-25, before rallying. The Wildcats were led by their stars; Buie had 16 points and three assists while Nance added 14 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. That signals this will be a very different rematch with Iowa this time around.

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Thursday will mark Iowa’s first Big Ten tournament meeting against Northwestern since losing the 2014 opener to an abysmal Wildcats team, 67-62. That loss dropped Iowa into a First Four NCAA Tournament game against Tennessee, which it lost.

This will be a Quadrant 2 matchup for the fifth-seeded Hawkeyes as far as the NCAA NET is concerned. The winner of Thursday’s game will face fourth-seeded Rutgers at approximately 1 p.m. Friday in a quarterfinal. Iowa probably needs to win two games to feel good about being a No. 6 seed or better in the NCAA Tournament.

Follow Hawkeyes columnist Chad Leistikow (@ChadLeistikow) and reporter Kennington Smith (@SkinnyKenny_) as they cover every game the Hawkeyes play in Indianapolis this week and during the NCAA Tournament.