A rested Iowa will put its four-game winning streak on the line when it plays slumping Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday.
The Hawkeyes (12-6, 4-3 Big Ten) have not played since an 81-67 win over Maryland on Sunday because their game vs. visiting Northwestern on Wednesday was postponed to Jan. 31 due to COVID-19 issues within the Wildcats’ program.
“Just get ready for the next one. We’ve done this before. No big deal,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said Thursday, noting the Hawkeyes had a game at Ohio State postponed last season because of travel and weather issues.
Meanwhile, the Buckeyes (10-8, 2-5) will play for the third time in a week, having lost 68-64 in overtime at Rutgers on Sunday and 63-60 at Minnesota on Wednesday.
Ohio State has lost five in a row; the skid ties for the longest in coach Chris Holtmann’s six-season tenure with the Buckeyes.
“We’re working every day, we’re putting in the work, so it hurts a lot,” Ohio State guard Tanner Holden told the Columbus Dispatch. “It hurts everybody in the locker room to lose five in a row and every one by single digits. You’re right there. It really just comes down to a couple of plays.”
He’s right about that. The Buckeyes have been within a possession of the lead inside two minutes left in regulation in all five games but let victories slip away.
“They’re a really impressive team,” McCaffery said. “They were sitting there at 10-3 with a loss at Duke, in overtime to North Carolina and to a ranked San Diego State team, and then they lose five (straight) games by a total of 19 points.”
The Hawkeyes won’t take the Buckeyes lightly, Iowa forward Payton Sandfort said.
“Obviously they’re a very talented team,” he said. “They’re going to be desperate, they’re going to be playing really hard. It’s a big road game (for us) and will be a big environment. We’re going to have to bring all we’ve got.”
— Field Level Media