Iowa with a huge Big Ten opener against Ethan Happ and Wisconsin at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday. It will be the second game of a critical four-game stretch — one that could be resume-building for the black-and-gold.
A good showing in the next week could put Iowa on the path toward the NCAA tournament.
Four games against Power 5 opponents — a stretch that could foreshadow the outcome of the Hawkeyes season.
A one-point win over Pittsburgh kicked off the quartet on Tuesday.
“This was a big night for us,” Iowa junior guard Jordan Bohannon said. We knew it was going to be a battle, it was going to be a macho game coming in. But we just had to keep up with their physicality and I think we did that tonight.”
The Hawkeyes now turn their attention to a pair of big ten contests, before finishing the stretch against rival Iowa State. Tyler Cook says the team is sticking to a one-game-at-a-time mentality after losing these same contests last season.
“I think if you look at a stretch of games and think, ‘OK, this is going to be tough,’ you lose focus on the next game and that’s very important,” Iowa junior forward Tyler Cook said. “We’re just gonna focus on Wisconsin coming in here on Friday. We will take care of what’s next when it comes.”
The veteran Hawks are downplaying the significance of this stretch of games. But freshman Joe Wieskamp knows two or three more wins could be the springboard for this entire season.
“This is a huge stretch for us and we know it,” Wieskamp said. “Four huge games in a row, so we’ll get locked in tomorrow, watch a lot of film on Wisconsin and just get focused on that game.”
“We talk about one game,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said. “I know it sounds like that’s what coaches are supposed to say, but we haven’t mentioned anybody else. We did the same thing when we played Alabama State.”
Iowa’s next three opponents are a combined 17-3 on this young season. That includes the Badgers and potential Big Ten player of the year Ethan Happ, who come here to Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday night.