After gaining ground in the standings this weekend, Iowa would appear to have a good chance to continue its climb against one of the Big Ten's bottom feeders.
Coach Fran McCaffery, though, knows better than to overlook Tuesday night's matchup at Indiana.
The No. 15 Hawkeyes try to avoid a letdown in Bloomington, where the Hoosiers have already surprised two of the league's best teams.
Playing its first game in a week, Iowa (19-6, 8-4) came out rusty before pulling away in Saturday's 82-70 victory at Penn State. Melsahn Basabe led four Hawkeyes in double figures with 16 points and Roy Devyn Marble scored 15 as Iowa outscored the Nittany Lions 51-37 in the second half.
"With 13 minutes to go, we're going to throw it in, we're going to attack, we're going to push it," McCaffery said. "That's the aggressiveness with which we have to play. We kept our attack mentality."
The Hawkeyes are now on the verge of winning four straight road games in conference play for the first time since 1986-87. They sit 1 1/2 games behind Michigan and Michigan State for the Big Ten lead after both schools lost Sunday.
"That's a veteran team," Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said of Iowa. "They're mature guys, they're men, their bodies are developed. A lot of guys can make plays, they share the ball, they make assists.
"Frannie does a good job. Those guys have bought into Iowa basketball."
Despite his team's recent road success, McCaffery knows winning at Assembly Hall won't be easy. The 10th-place Hoosiers (14-11, 4-8) are 12-3 on their own court, including wins over then-No. 3 Wisconsin and then-No. 10 Michigan.
"It is a very difficult place to play at Indiana," McCaffery said. "We have had a road toughness about us that I've been impressed with. They will lock into the game plan and we'll be ready."
Indiana is hoping to avoid losing four straight for the first time since 2010-11 after falling 82-64 at in-state rival Purdue on Saturday. Sophomore Yogi Ferrell had 27 points but shot 6 of 17 as the Hoosiers were limited to 32.2 percent from the floor, their second-lowest mark this season.
Star freshman Noah Vonleh finished with 14 after playing through early foul trouble.
"You need to get after it. You need to work at it," coach Tom Crean said of getting back on track with a young team. "We have a lot of hard workers in here and a lot of guys that put a lot of time and effort into it. You don't want to press too hard. You don't want to feel an outside, unneeded pressure that can wear you down physically and mentally."
Indiana has taken three of four from Iowa, including back-to-back home wins. Ferrell had 19 points and five assists in a 73-60 victory March 2.
All six of the Hawkeyes' losses have come against teams currently ranked in the Top 25.
"Iowa is very hard to get ready for, and that's why they are so successful," Crean said. "You can see with them being as old as they are and as experienced as any team in this league, that they are playing that way. They are extremely unselfish with one another and cause so many issues with their versatility. We have a great task in front of us and that's what we are looking forward to (Tuesday) night."
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