Opponent: Iowa Hawkeyes
Conference: Big 10
Current Record: 5-0 (0-0), 14th AP, 15th Coaches
Last Game: Nov 21, W 105-78 vs Alabama State
2017 Season: 14-19 (4-14), 13th
Key Losses: Um, their tenth-leading scorer (Brady Ellington) transferred to Drake. They didn’t lose much.
Key Returnees: Everyone. They return their top nine scorers from last season.
Iowa had an uncharacteristically down year in 2017. They were terribly defensively, finishing 274th nationally in opponent shooting percentage (46.2%). Pre-season polls predicted more of the same as seemingly no one had them finishing higher than 9th in the Big 10 and at worst 13th. That was probably a mistake, as Iowa has rolled through the first part of their schedule, including two quality wins over Pac-12 favorite Oregon and UConn in the 2K Empire Classic. Three of Iowa’s starters were starters for their 19-win 2016 team so it’s strange that most projections viewed last season as the norm instead of the exception. Their frontcourt is led by 6’9” Tyler Cook and 6’11” Luka Garza who are both averaging over 16 points per game while shooting around 60%. Add in top 50 recruit G/F Joe Wiescamp and a three-year starting backcourt tandem in Isaiah Moss and Jordan Bohannon and Iowa has the talent to compete for a Big 10 championship.
Last Meeting: Dec 30, 1976. Pitt 80 Iowa 103
What we might’ve said in the recap: “Lol. Don’t care. Bring on Georgia.”
Prediction: Garza and Cook will be one of Pitt’s most difficult matchups this season. Garza in particular is a matchup nightmare as a 6’11” center who’s shooting nearly 50% from three this year. It’s hard to imagine Pitt winning this game. I’m picking against them because it might be good luck to do so. If Pitt wins this game, then Capel might have them competing in the ACC sooner than we thought. However, something like a 15-point loss shouldn’t be reason to sound the alarm. Iowa 84 Pitt 72
Hail to Pitt.