This is a stopgap game, a game that we have to play in order to get the game we really want (and need) to play. Of course, we can't play that game unless we win this game. Northwestern is the team we wanted in this round, a team Iowa had pasted earlier this season and a team that, on paper, was a perfect match-up for the things Iowa does well (and not so well, for that matter).
But Northwestern is not going to roll over and die for us, either. They've played with admirable fire down the stretch, even as they kept running out of scholarship bodies and the losses kept piling up. This is a game Iowa "should" win, but it's a game they stand a very good chance of not winning if they come in expecting to simply beat Northwestern by showing up. It will still require effort to break down Northwestern's 2-3 zone, it will still require smart plays on offense and full effort on defense, it will still require not being hopelessly sloppy with the ball. Let's hope they're up to the challenge.
The game is on ESPN2 at approximately 8pm CT.
The usual rules apply: no links to illegal online streams, no porn, no religion, no slurs, no politics, etc.