Iowa Vs. Northwestern: Wildcats Hang Tough With Good Teams

By Scott Dochterman, Reporter

Iowa forward Aaron White, right, looks to a pass against Northwestern guard Alex Marcotullio during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Evanston, Ill., Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013. Iowa won 70-50. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

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By Grant Burkhardt

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Iowa enjoyed success against Northwestern this year, beating the tar out of the Wildcats by a combined 34 points in two meetings.

But those wins came after five straight losses, where Northwestern’s strangling 1-3-1 zone trap defense choked the life out of Iowa’s offense. So where does Iowa stand entering its third meeting with the Wildcats tonight (8 p.m. ESPN2) at the Big Ten Tournament? Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery says somewhere in the middle.

“We have to show (the players) those (wins) so we see what worked for us, what they tried to do to us, what we tried to do to them, all those kinds of things,” McCaffery said. “Then we have to show them the recent games. For example, Michigan State, Ohio State when they played really well.”

Sixth-seeded Iowa (20-11, 9-9 Big Ten) is looking to boost its profile and gain a possible NCAA tournament bid. Northwestern (13-18, 4-14) is seeded 11th and has lost eight straight games, the first in the span was by 14 points at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Northwestern has challenged against the league’s better teams during its eight-game losing streak. The Wildcats were tied late at Michigan State on Sunday before losing by 10. Both games against Ohio State were 10-point losses, but Northwestern was in both games.

With the Wildcats’ tenacious effort against ranked teams, Iowa forward Melsahn Basabe said the Hawkeyes will hold nothing back.

“We’ll come in there with an attack mentality,” Basabe said. “We know how to guard them; we’ve had success with them. We know what works against them. But we also need to be aware that they are a good team and you have to eliminate some things from their game plan so that we could be the victors. I think our minds will be right.”

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