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Pre-game notes: Iowa vs. Michigan

Scott Dochterman, CR Gazette –

Michigan and Iowa are scheduled to play one another for the only time this season. Next year, the teams will play only once with a game at Crisler Arena. From 2008 through 2010, the schools played three times, including the first round of the Big Ten Tournament. Michigan won all three of those meetings.

      The teams’ last three meetings at Carver-Hawkeye Arena ended in overtime. Iowa won the 2009 battle 70-60, while Michigan has taken the last two games in Iowa City. No basketball program owns a great wins vs. losses disparity over Iowa than Michigan. The Wolverines hold a 32-game advantage over Iowa at 89-57. Michigan’s wins are the third-most against Iowa. Minnesota has won 100 games against Iowa, and Indiana has won 94 meetings. But the Gophers hold only an 11-game advantage, and the Hoosiers’ margin stands at 23. Michigan assistant coach LaVall Jordan was an Iowa assistant for three seasons under former Iowa Coach Todd Lickliter.

Michigan is the fourth ranked opponent in Iowa’s first six Big Ten games. It’s been a grind for the Hawkeyes, who are 2-3, but Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery said the team is continuing to persevere.

Here are his comments:

“Obviously, we had two really good wins,” McCaffery said. “We had a tough loss at home. We got drilled twice by two really good teams. That’s upsetting, but it’s part of the process. You’ve got to go through it. Those teams are phenomenally talented, and we didn’t do what we needed to do.

“So, again, you look at our schedule and you figure you’ve got what, four or five ranked teams out of the last five games we’ve played? That’s pretty impressive. So we’ve got another chance. We’ve got another chance to play against a team that is ranked, and play better, and focus harder. You know, those moments in the game where we didn’t — the game starts to get away from us a little bit. All right. You’ve got to bring it back.

“We did that against Wisconsin. We did that against Minnesota. We’ve done that at various times throughout the season. We didn’t do it against Creighton. We did it a little bit at Iowa State, but we got it to eight or whatever, but we never got it back to even. You can’t let it get to 23 at Iowa State.

“You can’t let it go, for example, the last four minutes of the first half, we got it 30‑22. We did a lot of things early that were not conducive to winning. But we sort of clawed back in, 30‑22. They go on a 16‑0 run. There is the game right there. You can’t spot a team eight and then let them go on a 16‑0 run.

“You’ve got to get the next five. Even if we get five and they get two. We go into halftime and you’re down six or seven, whatever, that’s a maturity that we have to develop and the only way to get there is to go through it.”

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