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ALONG CAME ... NEBRASKA-OMAHA

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Iowa NEEDS a confidence-boosting win

NCAA Basketball: Iowa at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

So Iowa basketball is in a bit of a slump right now. Fran McCaffery’s squad has lost four of its last five, including three-straight to Virginia, Memphis and Notre Dame; all while Iowa State looms next week.

With Nebraska-Omaha coming to town tomorrow (and Stetson on Monday) Iowa has the opportunity to pick up some much-needed momentum before our date with the Cyclones.

Since Tyler Cook is out for a few weeks, McCaffery experimented with a new lineup against the Irish, starting Cordell Pemsl over Dom Uhl, while Jordan Bohannon and Isaiah Moss also got their first starts of the year.

This game should be an easy win for Iowa, but who knows really with this lineup of youngbloods and their sloppy ball handling and poor defense.

Get to know the Mavericks

UNO is 3-4 on the year, with wins against Santa Barbara, Buena Vista and Cal State Fullerton. That’s not exactly the best resume.

Omaha has four starters who are averaging double-digits, but that’s kind of it when it comes to their scoring. Junior forward Tre’Shawn Thurman seems to be the go-to guy for UNO, as he averages 14 points and 8 rebounds a game. He can’t really shoot the three though, so there’s that.

Overall, the Mavericks are a pretty poor three-shooting team, which should spell better things for Iowa, as we all watched Notre Dame sink 45 percent of its long balls against the Hawkeyes.

The 6-7, 230-lb Thurman could prove to be a mismatch on some of Iowa’s forwards, but I believe our own Nicholas Baer should be able to douse this fire. After Thurman there’s 6-5, 185-lb guard Zach Johnson, who might be the best shooter the Mavs have to offer. Johnson is averaging 12 points a game and boasts a .44 FG percentage. Again, I think Iowa has enough raw talent alone to make Johnson, and the rest of this Maverick team, a non-factor.

In conclusion

I don’t see any Vegas odds for this game as of this writing, but I’ll update that later in the comments. Anyway, I see Iowa as a double-digit favorite, and I think that’s right.

The Hawkeyes need to take this time to get their house in order, tinker with some more lineups, and build a rapport with each-other as Iowa State, and eventually the Big Ten season looms.

Give me some more deep balls from 3OHANNON while Peter Jok rounds back in to form after a slumpy performance against Notre Dame. I think Cordell Pemsl continues to wow us and make us wonder more why he was getting so few minutes earlier in the season, while Nicholas Baer does Nicholas Baer things.

Final prediction: slightly less yelling at the TV than against Notre Dame, but still some four-letter words here and there. Iowa 90, UNO 70.