College Basketball
Michigan-Iowa Preview
College Basketball

Michigan-Iowa Preview

Updated Mar. 5, 2020 1:36 a.m. ET

Following perhaps Iowa's biggest win of the season, coach Fran McCaffery hopes his team isn't satisfied as it tries to extend its longest Big Ten winning streak in 46 years.

The 16th-ranked Hawkeyes will try to open 5-0 in the conference for the first time in 19 years with their 11th straight league victory Sunday against upset-minded Michigan, which hopes to have star guard Caris LeVert back from a lower left leg injury.

After beating a top-ranked Michigan State team that didn't have star Denzel Valentine on Dec. 29, Iowa not only proved it could beat the No. 4 Spartans with him playing but did it in dominant fashion at East Lansing. The Hawkeyes halted an 18-game losing streak there in Thursday's 76-59 win and led by double digits for the game's final 30 minutes.

Peter Jok came up big with 23 points, and Jarrod Uthoff contributed 15 despite shooting 5 for 18. Jok made three of nine first-half 3-pointers by the Hawkeyes (13-3, 4-0), who led by 22 at halftime en route to their sixth win in a row and first in East Lansing since 1993.


After extending its longest Big Ten win streak since a 14-game run in 1969-70, Iowa hopes to keep pace with Indiana atop the conference by notching its first 5-0 league start since '96-97.

"The key will be to come out Sunday with the same focus and determination," McCaffery said. "We might not make nine (first-half) 3-pointers, but we have to do the other things we do to help our team win. We have the maturity and intelligence to make that happen."

That will be a lot easier to accomplish if LeVert remains sidelined. The Wooden Award nominee, averaging team highs of 17.6 points and 5.2 assists, is day to day.

Without the senior guard, Michigan has won two of its last three games. Following an 87-70 loss at then-No. 20 Purdue on Jan. 7, it stunned No. 3 Maryland 70-67 on Tuesday.

Muhammad-Ali Adbur-Rahkman totaled 39 points in his first two games as LeVert's replacement before finishing with just five on three field-goal attempts Tuesday. Zak Irvin led the Wolverines with 22 points and Duncan Robinson added 17.

"If you take a first-round draft pick out of the lineup, they're different, but what's helped them is he was out last year," said McCaffery of LeVert, who dealt with a nagging foot injury over the previous two seasons.

Michigan, which went 12 for 29 from beyond the arc versus Maryland, ranks among the national leaders in 3-point field goals (186) and percentage (42.6). Iowa, however, is one of the best in the country guarding the 3-point line, holding opponents to 29.6 percent.

The Wolverines (13-4, 3-1) have dropped their past two visits to Carver-Hawkeye Arena by a combined 34 points. Making matters worse, the Hawkeyes have won 11 straight home games overall by an average of 19.5 points.

"Any team that can go into Iowa and win, whether it's us or someone else, has a great opportunity to contend for a championship," Michigan coach John Beilein said. "That's what we're trying to do. ... We want to seize this opportunity to play a terrific team."

The Wolverines will try to contain Uthoff, who has averaged 21.7 points over his last three games.

Iowa's Mike Gesell has totaled 47 points in two Big Ten home games, going 22 of 26 from the free-throw line.


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