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ALONG CAME ... NORTH DAKOTA

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Can Iowa string together four straight wins?

NCAA Basketball: Iowa at Northern Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

After consecutive wins over Stetson, Iowa State and Northern Iowa, the Hawkeyes now find themselves in a position to go in to the Big Ten season with a full head of steam with games against North Dakota and Delaware State in-between the conference opener against Purdue.

And there’s even more good news for Iowa: after its win against UNI, Fran McCaffery said there’s a chance Tyler Cook could play this week.

I’m in the camp that Iowa should give him another week to recover, but Fran knows better than us; if he can play, he can play.

On Tuesday, North Dakota comes to Iowa City looking for its first real win of the season. If the Iowa team we saw these last two weeks shows up, great. If the other Iowa team takes the floor ... well not so great.

Get to know the Fighting Sioux Hawks

North Dakota is 5-4, with wins over bluebloods such as Crown College, Mayville State, Presentation College (seriously that’s a real school look it up), CSU Bakersfield and North Dakota State. On Dec. 10 it lost to Northern Iowa 78-70, so that may spell good things going in to this game.

Scoring for UND sort of starts and ends with Quinton Hooker, a senior guard who averages 17 points a contest and is shooting 42 percent from long range. He’s averaging 4 rebounds and 3 assists per game, so shooting is really his forte here.

After Hooker there’s Geno Crandall, who’s averaging 13 a game. The only other North Dakota player to average double-figures is Conner Avants with 10 per contest.

Iowa holds a slight advantage in the size department, but in general both teams match up well.

In conclusion

I hate to use the cliché here, but I truly believe the loss to UNO was a wake up call. Do I think Iowa is an tourney team? Not necessarily, but I don’t think the Hawkeyes suffer from any more embarrassing losses until the Big Ten Tournament rolls around.

I kid, I kid. Sort of.

Then again, these games could be a bit of a crapshoot. Carver will be absolutely empty what with the students being on break, but Iowa should beat North Dakota anywhere, and blaming a loss a crappy fan attendance is poor form.

I envision a game similar to what we saw with UNI, where Iowa leads just about the whole time, asserts dominance early and often, and never looks back.

Prediction: Iowa 90, UND 70.