Hawks seek to respark magic


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After suffering its first losses in succession in 2013-14 to Wisconsin and Minnesota, the Iowa men’s basketball team will travel to Bloomington, Ind., to take on Indiana (15-12, 5-9 Big Ten).

Tonight’s matchup wasn’t originally scheduled; the two squads were forced to postpone their first attempt to play on Feb. 18 because of falling debris in Assembly Hall.

Since the postponement, Indiana has beaten Northwestern and lost to Wisconsin, while Iowa has dropped two games in a row for the first time all year.

“We got to get back to doing what we do,” senior guard Devyn Marble said following the team’s 95-89 loss to Minnesota Tuesday night. “We’re not defending the way we’ve previously been defending in these past two games.”

Part of Iowa’s recent slip could be attributed to the absence of senior forward Melsahn Basabe, who is averaging  8.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 1.0 block in conference play this season. Basabe, a Glen Cove, N.Y., native, has been kept out of Iowa’s last two games because of an illness. 

“No excuses on our part, but Melsahn is one of our top players,” junior forward Aaron White said in a release. “To have him not be able to go because of sickness is tough. Other guys have to step up, and we didn’t have enough guys step up [against Minnesota].”

In Basabe’s absence, Hawkeye frontcourt players Adam Woodbury, Gabriel Olaseni, and Zach McCabe have shot just a collective 41 percent from the field.

In addition to that, the trio has grabbed just 18 rebounds combined over the past two games, even with the uptick in available boards thanks to the Basabe’s illness. This season, Woodbury, Olaseni, and McCabe have combined to average over 12 rebounds per game this season.

Although Iowa is at its lowest point of the season thus far, it will take on a team that’s a mess of sorts Thursday night. Indiana has dropped four of its last five games, which has all but ruined its NCAA Tournament hopes.

“We’ve just got to get ready to play,” Indiana head coach Tom Crean told Rivals.com following the Hoosier’s loss to Wisconsin on Tuesday night. “It’s going to be two teams that are coming off of a loss, and they’re going to be really hungry to win. We’re looking forward to getting home.”

In games decided by single digits, Iowa is just 4-8 this season, which has many wondering if Iowa’s talent — both in the eye test and in its per game metrics — is missing something or is deceiving in some way.

But with two more games scheduled this week, the Hawkeyes have a chance to erase the uncertainty that now surrounds them in quick fashion.

What may be unfortunate for Indiana is the fact that the Black and Gold haven’t been this hungry to get back on the court all season.

“It’s a quick turnaround, but that’s the beauty of basketball,” sophomore guard Mike Gesell said. “You have an off night [against Minnesota], and you get another chance to prove yourself right away. We just have to remain positive and not let [the loss] affect us Thursday.”

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