Tonight will be the 75th contest between in-state rivals Iowa and Iowa State. The Hawkeyes lead the series all-time 47 to 27. However, since 2010 the series has been very tight. In the last 10 matchups, the series is split 5-5. Currently, the Hawkeyes have won the last 3 matchups, including breaking the record for the largest margin of victory in series history with their 105-77 win in Iowa City last December.
Going into the season most thought that this season’s matchup wouldn’t be very good. Iowa State is coming off a year where they went to 2-22 and were winless in Big 12 play. The Hawkeyes, while they were one of the nation’s best teams last year, lost the majority of their scoring. Most notably the Hawkeyes saw departures of Wooden Award Winner Luka Garza, All-Big 10 guard Joe Wieskamp, CJ Fredrick, and Jack Nunge. Iowa State also saw a lot of roster turnover bringing in 6 transfers this year.
Bigger Matchup Than Expected in 2021
To this point in the year, the season has been a happy surprise for the Cyclone and Hawkeye faithful. Going into tonight’s matchup the Hawkeyes are 7-2, however, they have dropped their first two Big 10 games. It is worth noting their first two conference games have included a road game at the now number 1 team in the country, Purdue and they also hosted a 1 seed from last year’s NCAA Tournament in Illinois. They played both teams very tight. Sophomore forward, Keegan Murray, also leads the nation in scoring averaging 23.9 ppg. Iowa’s most notable win this year was a hard-fought win at Virginia.
Iowa State’s Turnaround After 2020 Season Is Incredible
Iowa State is one of the biggest surprises in all of college basketball. After winning 2 games last year they are currently 8-0 and ranked 17th in the AP Poll. This season’s highlights include wins over at the time #25 Xavier and then a win over at the time #9 Memphis to win the Pre-Season NIT Tipoff Tournament out in Brooklyn over Thanksgiving. They’ve also won a true road game against a good Creighton squad last Saturday. The Cyclones are also only giving up 60 ppg to this point in the season. Iowa State also ranks 8th in the country in forcing 19 turnovers per game.
Who Has The Edge?
Tonight’s matchup is going to be a very interesting one to watch. It will be fun to see which strength breaks down first. Will it be Iowa’s offense that ranks 5th in the nation averaging 90 ppg? Or will it be the Cyclone defense that I just noted is only giving up 60 ppg? Certainly, keep an eye out for Keegan Murray tonight for the Hawkeyes. For the Cyclones, look for Senior leader Izaiah Brockington to have a big night. The Penn State transfer is very familiar with this Hawkeye team, it will be interesting to see how he reacts to the intensity of the Cy-Hawk rivalry.