Drake-Iowa Preview


An Iowa defense that had been mostly dominant is suddenly looking vulnerable.

Perhaps some extended rest and a short bus ride to Des Moines can help them work out the kinks.

The 23rd-ranked Hawkeyes look for a fourth straight win over intrastate foe Drake in Saturday night's neutral-court game.

Iowa (8-1) took a 98-93 home win over Notre Dame on Tuesday - its first win in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge since 2005. But the Hawkeyes allowed the Fighting Irish to shoot 51.5 percent, including an 8-for-17 mark from 3-point range.

This came after they allowed Villanova to score 16 points in overtime in last Saturday's 88-83 loss in the Battle 4 Atlantis championship game.

Opponents had averaged 57.1 points while shooting 32.7 percent - including 18.5 percent from 3-point range - in their first seven contests.

A grueling schedule, however, may have something to do with this trend. Coach Fran McCaffery's club was playing its fourth game in sixth days, and an unscheduled stop on the flight home from the Bahamas saw the team return eight hours later than expected on Sunday.

"I think it says a lot about our team," McCaffery said. "Without a doubt, that's the worst travel day I've been involved in in 31 years. I've never been through anything like that."

Fatigue seemingly caught up with the Hawkeyes early in the second half when they surrendered a 14-3 run that allowed Notre Dame to take a two-point edge. Roy Devyn Marble responded by scoring Iowa's next 13 points, finishing with 17 while helping Iowa pull ahead.

"He's a guy that can step up and do that for us every night," point guard Mike Gesell said.

Second-leading scorer Aaron White (13.8 ppg) was also crucial with 20 points on 7-of-9 shooting after scoring nine and committing five turnovers against Villanova.

The Hawkeyes might need strong performances again from Marble and White against a Drake team that has been shooting well.

The Bulldogs (6-1) shot 52.8 percent from the field while knocking off Fresno State, Northern Arizona and Cal State Bakersfield in consecutive days to win last week's Fresno State Classic. It marked the first time in the program's history the team had won three games to win a tournament in three days.

"For this group to come together in a short amount of time and win a championship is something special," first-year coach Ray Giacoletti told the school's website. "It's great to be on the road and get three wins."

Leading scorer Richard Carter (20.6 ppg) had 18 points, though he was 0 for 4 from long distance after going 11 for 24 in his first six games.

The Bulldogs have allowed their last four opponents to hit 41.0 percent of their 3-point attempts and could be vulnerable against an Iowa team that is 27 of 53 (50.9 percent) from long range over the last three games.

The Hawkeyes defeated the Bulldogs 82-68 in their last meeting in 2011 for their third straight win in the series after losing the previous three matchups.