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Point/Counterpoint: Which team will finish with more wins, football or men’s basketball?

BY DI STAFF | NOVEMBER 30, 2009 7:20 AM

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FOOTBALL

It’s no secret.

The Iowa men’s basketball team is not up to par with the rest of the Big Ten, and wins are going to be about as hard to come by as finding a sober freshman downtown.

But will the basketball team win more games than this year’s football squad?

The Hawkeyes have two wins, which means they need to win eight or nine of their next 26 games to surpass the 10 or potentially 11 wins of the football team.

That task is going to be much easier said than done for this group. As far as the remaining nonconference schedule goes, the basketball team will face some squads that are worse on paper, and it will need to capitalize on those opportunities.

If plans go accordingly, Todd Lickliter and Company should handle Drake, South Carolina State, Tennessee State, and Prairie View A&M.

Teams that will give the Hawkeyes trouble will be Virginia Tech, Iowa State, and Northern Iowa.

I don’t see the Hawkeyes beating the Hokies or defeating a strong Cyclone group in Ames. Assuming Iowa can claim victories against the other nonconference foes, it should have seven wins without facing anyone in the Big Ten.

This leaves Iowa the task of having to win four or five conference games to surpass the win total of the football team.

With six conference foes ranked in the Top 25 — two in the top 10 — the Big Ten gauntlet is going to be like trying running down a hallway filled with rabid gorillas.

Penn State and Indiana appear to be Iowa’s companions in the bottom of the conference and the team’s best shot at getting some wins.

With only one game against the Nittany Lions at home and two games against the Hoosiers, the Hawkeyes will be fortunate to steal two more wins.

Iowa would have to pull off two or three upsets against the rest of the conference, which seems nearly impossible considering the team’s play thus far.

While upsetting a superior team at least once in a season is commonplace in college basketball, doing it numerous times is not so prevalent — especially with such a young squad.

The football team will win this battle, but it will be very close.

— by Clark Cahill

MEN'S BASKETBALL

With the Iowa football team ending 10-2 overall in the regular season, it has a chance to capture victory No. 11 during a yet-to-be determined bowl game in January.

The Iowa men’s basketball team has 32 guaranteed games on its 2009-10 schedule. Unfortunately, the issue of which Hawkeye team will win more games this season is a legitimate question.

But despite doubters, I am confident that the Hawkeye hoopsters can win 11-plus games.

With Iowa’s slow-it-down, 3-point shooting style, the squad has a chance to win any game if it shoots well enough. The Hawkeyes can take teams out of their element by controlling the pace of the game.

Plus, Iowa seems to play well inside the friendly confines of Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

At 2-4 overall, though, with wins over Bowling Green and North Carolina Central, Iowa certainly squandered a couple opportunities to reach double-digit wins by losing at home to Texas-San Antonio and Duquesne.

But while the offense has struggled early, the Hawkeye defense has been a bright spot, holding four of the team’s six opponents to 63 points or less.

There are several games the Hawkeyes will be favored in, including home games against Prairie View A&M, South Carolina State, Tennessee State, and Drake.

A middle-of-the-pack ACC team in Virginia Tech looks like a possibility Tuesday night at home, too.

And anything could happen in the rivalry game against Iowa State in Ames.

Iowa must take advantage of its nonconference schedule, though. Wins will be extremely tough to come by in the Big Ten this season with six ranked conference teams.

That said, Penn State at home is a tossup. Northwestern, with the Wildcats’ best player out for the season, is also winnable at home.

And I’m not sold on Indiana turning its program around in one season with a bunch of hyped-up freshmen.

Upsets are what make college basketball great, and Iowa’s style will keep the Hawkeyes in many games. A home and a road upset are in the future somewhere as well.

Count ’em up, and I optimistically see 13 wins for the Iowa basketball team, edging out the football team by two.

— by Robbie Lehman


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