Iowa's three-game marathon starts at Minnesota

BY BEN ROSS | FEBRUARY 25, 2014 5:00 AM

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Happiness is health and a short memory, and both those things ring true for the Iowa basketball team heading into Minnesota.

The health part comes in the form of Melsahn Basabe. Iowa was without Basabe in its loss to Wisconsin, but the team expects the senior will make the trip to Minnesota so long as he is no longer battling illness. His presence was missed against the Badgers, and Iowa looked like a crippled squad without him.

“It’s tough; Mel is an energy guy,” Iowa guard Mike Gesell said after the loss. “We have to learn from it and put it behind us. We can’t let it affect us one or two games down the road.”

Iowa heads to the Twin Cities to take on a slumping Gopher squad that has dropped six of its last eight games. Minnesota is still on the cusp of making it to the NCAA tourney, and back to back wins over Iowa and Michigan (its next two games) would be nice bumpers to pad its résumé come March.

The Hawkeyes are going to play three games in six days this week because its contest at Indiana has been rescheduling to Thursday. The Hawkeyes’ next three bouts are more than winnable (Minnesota, Indiana, Purdue) and with a NCAA Tournament berth all but wrapped up for the No. 20 Black and Gold, now is as good a time as any for Devyn Marble to build his case as Big Ten Player of the Year.

“It means we have to move on and get a win at Minnesota,” Marble said after the Wisconsin loss.

The senior guard is the only player in the Big Ten to score at least 10 points in each conference contest, and Marble put out a double-double against the Badgers.

The aforementioned short memory, though, may be the most important part of Iowa’s equation to win basketball games.

Iowa has yet to lose two contests in a row this season, and rebounding after a loss seems to be a theme for the squad so far. It’s most noteworthy triumph following a loss came in a 18-point win over Michigan on Feb. 8. Prior to that, Iowa fell in a frustrating game against Ohio State at home.

“We feel bad, but we have to focus for a tough game on Tuesday,” Iowa center Gabe Olaseni said after the loss to Wisconsin. ”We can’t feel too bad for too long.”

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