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Indiana State (18-14) at Iowa (21-12)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, March 20, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Carver-Hawkeye Arena (15,500) -- Iowa City, Iowa. Television: ESPN2. NIT Record: Indiana State 1-2, Iowa 5-6. Series Record: Iowa leads, 1-0.
GAMES NOTES: The Iowa Hawkeyes will host the Indiana State Sycamores in the first round of the National Invitational Tournament at Carver-Hawkeye Arena when the two teams clash on Wednesday night.
The winner of this contest gets the chance to face either Stony Brook or Massachusetts in the next round.
The last time Indiana State earned a spot in the NIT was during the 1978 season. The Sycamores are 1-2 all-time in the tourney as they get set to take their 18-14 overall record into Wednesday's contest. Indiana State lost six of its last eight games of the regular season, including a 64-53 setback to eventual champion Creighton in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.
Iowa has had a much shorter wait between NIT bids with the Hawkeyes also hosting a first round contest a year ago. The Hawkeyes won that contested but fell to Oregon, a NCAA Tournament team this year, in the second round. During this campaign the Hawkeyes have gone 21-12 overall with wins in four of their last six though they lost a tight, 59-56, contest against Michigan State in the Big Ten Tournament.
It's been awhile since these teams last met with the lone meeting coming in Iowa City on Dec. 16, 1940, with the Hawkeyes posting a 39-37 victory.
Though Indiana State pulled off an upset of Creighton earlier this season, the result wasn't nearly as favorable for the Sycamores in the MVC Tournament as the Sycamores suffered a 64-43 setback. The Sycamores connected on just 26.5 percent of their shots from the floor and were outscored 27-3 from beyond the arc.
Indiana State is among the lower half of the MVC in terms of offensive success this season as it ranks eighth in points (66.5 pg) and assists (11.8 pg) while shooting the ninth best percentage from the field (.430). Defensively they held they have held their own holding teams to 65.8 points per game on 41.6 percent shooting. Jake Odum (13.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 4.6 apg) runs the show for the Sycamores as the lead playmaker both as a scorer and distributor. Manny Arop (12.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg) and R.J. Mahurin 1!0.2 ppg) are the prominent targets for Odum when he passes the ball.
Iowa led by 13 points early in the second half against Michigan State but really struggled in the final 20 minutes to surrender the contest. The Hawkeyes hit just 41.7 percent from the field in the second frame and were guilty of 19 turnovers in the game overall.
Controlling the boards and moving the ball are the strengths for Iowa. The Hawkeyes led the Big Ten in assists (15.2 pg) and rebounds (39.4 pg) during the regular season while ranking among the top 30 teams in the country in both categories. There is no one man distributor for the Hawkeyes but there is certainly a primary scorer in Roy Devyn Marble (14.1 ppg), who despite shooting 39.9 percent from the floor has shown the most explosive ability on the offensive end. Aaron White (13.2 ppg, 5.9 rpg) is a reliable scorer up front while Mike Gesell (9.1 ppg) has been too erratic with his shooting.
The Big Ten was arguable the best conference in the nation this season and the Hawkeyes cut their teeth in that league all season. The Hawkeyes' experience and ability to control the glass will carry them to the next round.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Iowa 71, Indiana State 63
03/20 10:31:32 ET