With college football officially in the rearview mirror, Iowa Hawkeye fans can fully devote their collegiate attention to basketball for the next several months. While that obviously means tuning in to all of Iowa’s games, it also means being aware of other games going on around the country. This is, after all, an Iowa team with its sights set on winning not just a Big Ten Championship, but also a National Championship.
So, each week until Selection Sunday, we’ll be highlighting games to watch every weekend with a tie in to our Hawkeye rooting interests.
Here’s what to watch in week 9 of the college basketball season.
The Iowa Hawkeyes have the weekend off thanks to COVID-19 issues with the Nebraska Cornhusker program, marking the second game in as many weeks Iowa has had postponed due to issues at other schools. Despite not Iowa hoops on your television sets, there’s still plenty to soak in which could impact your Hawkeyes come March.
This week is perhaps the weakest Friday night lineup we’ve seen in a bit, but that one matchup is key for Iowa fans. It pits #7 Michigan against a Purdue Boilermakers squad that is riding a heater. Our most hated rival has won four in a row despite playing four of their last five on the road.
Iowa fans should be rooting for our rivals to get their fifth straight win to give Iowa a chance to get back on the 1 line in both the NCAA Tournament and in the Big Ten standings - a feat that is much more difficult after the loss Thursday night. Not only would a Michigan loss knock them down a peg, a Purdue win would bump them up into a Q1 win for Iowa. Boiler up!
As we’ve come to expect, Saturday is set to be a big day for college hoops and Iowa rooting interests. There are still three Big Ten games despite the postponement of the Illinois-Michigan State game (in retrospect with Fredrick out, perhaps it’s GREAT the Big Ten didn’t move Iowa’s matchup with Illinois up to this weekend?).
That includes #17 Minnesota hosting Maryland. Iowa fans need a win from Minnesota to bump them back up to Q1 in the win column. That’s a 1pm CT tip on BTN. Later in the day, #15 Ohio State is at #10 Wisconsin. Both these teams are on Iowa’s schedule twice down the stretch, but Wisconsin is now tied with Iowa in the Big Ten standings and likely to jump them in the polls next week with a win. We’re on the Buckeyes here. Catch that one at 3pm CT on CBS.
Then things wrap up with Northwestern at Penn State. As noted in the weekly bracketology update, Northwestern is on the verge of falling out of a Q1 road win and Q2 home win so Iowa needs the Wildcats to get a W. This one isa 6pm tip on BTN.
Outside the conference, #8 Houston is hosting Cincinnati at 11am on CBS. It’s not going to happen, but Iowa fans should be rooting for the Bearcats and Houston is currently a 2 seed and likely to jump Iowa in the polls
Other games worth watching on Saturday (team to root for bolded):
- #9 Kansas at Oklahoma - 11am on ESPN
- #23 UConn at #11 Creighton - 11am on FOX
- #2 Baylor at Oklahoma State - 1pm on CBS
- Providence at #3 Villanova - 1:30pm on FOX
- #19 Missouri at #6 Tennessee - 7:30pm on SECN
With all the action on Saturday and the NFL Championship games on Sunday, things are a really light on college hoops. We already know Iowa’s matchup with Nebraska is on hold. That leaves just a matchup featuring Rutgers at Indiana in the Big Ten. That’s an 11am tip on BTN and Hawkeye fans should be on the Hoosier train now as they make a push for a Q1 loss.
Outside of that, there are a grand total of zero games featuring ranked teams and none that will really impact Iowa’s resume or seeding. Enjoy the NFL matchups and we’ll check back in next week and every week through Selection Sunday.