The Iowa Hawkeyes are slated to get their first taste of NCAA tournament basketball Friday afternoon as they take on the Temple Owls at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY.
The seventh seeded Hawkeyes fell from a number four AP poll rating to a 25 rating, dropping from the tournament committee’s good graces in the process. Despite team struggles, the centerpiece of their offensive attack, senior forward Jarrod Uthoff, has been consistent throughout.
Tenth seeded Temple led the American Athletic Conference with an in conference record of 14-4 picking up major wins against Cincinnati, Connecticut and Saint Mary’s University. The defensive oriented Owls will lean on their senior leaders Quenton Decosey and Jaylen Bond to stop the streaky Hawkeyes.
Temple simply does not have a legitimate threat inside to match the sheer size of Iowa’s 7’1” senior center Adam Woodbury. In order to score on Temple’s dominant defense, Iowa must utilize his inside presence to spread the offense for the Hawkeyes and give their streaky shooters a chance to finally regain their stroke.
In such a marquis matchup, the nerves will be running big time for the Owls. However, they will find comfort in the crowd. The Owls have 4 players that live less than an hour outside Brooklyn. Temple’s proximity to New York will bring students to the game. Villanova plays right before Temple, and the fans that stay will adamantly support the Owls in hopes of seeing a cross-town matchup.
Despite recent struggles, Iowa will shift the momentum against the Owls. The Hawkeye’s inside presence and shooting ability will simply overwhelm this veteran Temple team.