Ohio State Basketball: Previewing second battle with Iowa

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - FEBRUARY 07: Keita Bates-Diop /

It would be a huge week for the Ohio State basketball team with the win over Purdue and then backing it up by defeating Iowa.

The Buckeyes are just three days removed from their stunning 64-63 victory on the road against No. 3 Purdue. Today, Iowa puts Ohio State’s focus to the test. Iowa get their second shot at the Buckeyes, given the better part of a month to make adjustments.

While the Buckeyes already handled the Hawkeyes in Iowa in a 92-81 victory, this pairing reeks of a trap. It’s hard not to draw a parallel to the Buckeye hoopers’ classmates in helmets. Ohio State football won a huge game against Penn State earlier this year, only to fall at Iowa in a nauseating loss.

On the other hand, while JT Barrett was a college football star, he wasn’t the dominant force that Keita Bates-Diop continues to be this season for the basketball team. With Bates-Diop, Ohio State owns the Big Ten’s leading scorer at 20.2 PPG and third-place rebounder, grabbing 9 RPG.

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Tack on his 27 points and 13 rebounds in the last game against Iowa and suddenly the Hawkeyes odds don’t seem great. Bates-Diop was way too much for Iowa last time out and there’s not much of a reason why that trend won’t continue tonight.

Furthermore, this Iowa team isn’t playing great basketball at the moment. They’re 3-7 in their last ten games, 12-14 overall, and rank No. 312 in points allowed (78.3 PPG). While the Hawkeyes chased No. 3 Michigan State, the 96-93 loss proved their defense is too poor to survive late runs.

As a whole, the Buckeyes have a very winnable conference game on their home floor. If the Buckeyes manage to lose it will be because of a tremendous loss of focus. However, the Buckeyes continue to show focus against inferior opponents, which is a credit to their maturity.

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Tipping-off at 6 PM, you can tune to the Big Ten Network to watch the first place Buckeyes attempt to hold court against the Iowa Hawkeyes.