The first meeting between Iowa and Ohio State ended with a double-digit road victory for the Hawkeyes. That was the second loss in a four-game losing streak for the Buckeyes. That skid continued until the end of January when the Buckeyes lost to Penn State at home in overtime.
On Saturday, Ohio State looked like it was starting to turn it around, defeating No. 14 Wisconsin on the road. Three days later, the Buckeyes capped off its two-game road trip with a 76-69 victory over Iowa on Tuesday night inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena, returning the favor from three weeks ago.
The Ohio State perimeter defense allowed Iowa to shoot a dismal 3-of-20 from 3-point range. That defensive pressure made the Iowa offense stagnant at times, and its two leading scorers — Roy Devyn Marble and Aaron White, averaging 16.3 points and 13.5 points per game, respectively — being held for a combined 18 points off 7-of-20 shooting from the field.
Aaron Craft played his best game of the season with 17 points, three rebounds, six assists and six steals.
These are two impressive wins by Ohio State, grinding out a must-win at Wisconsin on Saturday and pulling out another good win three days later at Iowa. It shows that Ohio State may be back on track for the final month of Big Ten play. For the Hawkeyes, it’s the second consecutive home loss.
Last week, Iowa welcomed in a shorthanded Michigan State lineup, and let a potential marquee win go back to East Lansing with a 71-69 overtime victory.
Iowa has all the tools to make a deep run in March. The Hawkeyes have talented scorers, versatile bigs and depth with the ability to get up and down the floor. To date, Iowa has missed chances to pick up signature wins over Villanova, Iowa State, Wisconsin and Michigan this season. None of those games were at home, which made the loss to the Spartans all the more frustrating.
On Jan. 12, a win at Columbus was a great one for Iowa, but it wasn’t held is such regard as Ohio State continued to slide down and out of the rankings, losing five out of six games during that stretch.
Iowa has the talent, the kind of talent some think make them a Final Four-caliber team, but without a marquee win over an elite program there is questions as to just how good the Hawkeyes actually are.
They get another chance earn a statement win on Saturday at home against No. 10 Michigan, a team that previously defeated Iowa and is coming off an upset loss at Indiana.