With a battle between the Maryland basketball team and Iowa on tap for Thursday, we decided to catch up with Dylan Burn, who is the Editor of Dear Old Gold.
In terms of a game between a pair of top 10 teams in the Big Ten, these aren’t the two teams many expected. Obviously, Maryland was tabbed as the favorite to win the league, but Iowa certainly wasn’t thought of as a top team.
The Hawkeyes are led by fifth-year senior Jarrod Uthoff, who leads the Big Ten in scoring with 18.9 points-per-game. Uthoff is one of the most dynamic scorers in the country and certainly will be a matchup problem for the Terrapins. Combine that with guard Peter Jok and Iowa has one of the most one-two punches around.
Below is our Q&A with Dylan, so let’s see what he had to say:
1.) Iowa ranks in the top five in nearly every statistical category in the Big Ten. Overall, what makes the Hawkeyes so impressive as a unit?
DB: Overall, I think it’s the veteran presence on the team. They start four seniors and a junior. Three of the seniors have seen significant minutes since their freshman seasons and the other one is Jarrod Uthoff, who is a fifth year player right now. When you have guys that have been around the block once or twice, you usually can expect to have success. You mix in some youth coming off the bench that provides a lot of energy when the starters get out slow, and Iowa is pretty tough.
2.) After Jarrod Uthoff and Peter Jok, there’s a significant drop-off in production. Who would you say is Iowa’s most important player out of the supporting cast that follows Uthoff and Jok?
DB: As far as a third option for the Hawkeyes, it’s really been hit and miss. Some nights, Mike Gesell will have a great night, other nights it’ll be Adam Woodbury, and then even Anthony Clemmons factors in as well. As far as most important, it have to be Gesell. Iowa seems to get a little flustered when Gesell leaves the floor, which is something they can’t afford on Thursday night.
3.) Who’s your x-factor for Thursday’s game and why?
DB: My x-factor is going to be Clemmons. I’m assuming he’ll draw the assignment of guarding Melo Trimble. Clemmons shut Michigan State’s Bryn Forbes down, so if he can do the same to Trimble, maybe get him off his game a little bit, it gives Iowa a much better shot.
4.) Give us your prediction for the game.
DB: Man, this is such a tough game to predict. It’s two teams that were expected to have very different years and here we are in the middle of January and it’s the Big Ten’s premier game. Maryland is the slight favorite and I think they end up pulling it out, 71-69.