Your pre-game primer for the Iowa basketball team’s next game:
When: 8 p.m., Friday
Where: United Center, Chicago
Quad-City area radio: WOC (1420 AM), KROS (1340 AM), WMT (600 AM)
The starting five:
1. The sixth-seeded Hawkeyes and third-seeded Spartans are both relatively young teams with just one scholarship senior on their rosters. While Eric May comes off the bench to 4.9 points and 3.8 rebounds for Iowa, Derrick Nix is Michigan State’s only senior. Nix has gone from averaging 2.3 points and 2.1 rebounds as a freshman to 9.3 points and 6.3 rebounds this season. His play complements the 12.1 points Adreian Payne has averaged over the last 16 games.
2. Iowa has reached the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tourney for the second straight. Michigan State has knocked the Hawkeyes out of the event in each of the past two seasons, beating the Hawkeyes 92-75 in the quarterfinals a year ago after defeating Iowa 66-61 in the opening round two years ago at Indianapolis.
3. Devyn Marble led Iowa with 19 points in Iowa’s 73-59 victory over Northwestern in Thursday’s opening-round game. It was the eighth time in nine games the junior has scored in double figures. Marble has averaged 17.8 points over that stretch. The Southfield, Mich., native did not play in Iowa’s only regular-season game with the Spartans, sitting out because of an ankle injury.
4. The play of Big Ten freshman of the year Gary Harris has been important for the Spartans. Harris has helped Michigan State become the third-best 3-point shooting team in the Big Ten during conference play. His scoring average of 13.2 points per game ranks third in MSU history among freshman, trailing only the 17 points averaged by Earvin “Magic’’ Johnson and the 15.8 that Shawn Respert averaged as a freshman.
5. Iowa and Michigan State are meeting for just the second time this season. The Spartans won a 62-59 game in Iowa City on Jan. 10, overcoming a three-point deficit in the 1 minute, 4 seconds. Gary Harris hit three free throws after being fouled to tie the game and a dunk by Branden Dawson pushed MSU ahead 58-56. The Hawkeyes hit just 3-of-6 free throws in the final :34 at the foul line, while Keith Appling hit four free throws in the final :20 to seal the win. Dawson led the Spartans with 17 in that game, while Zach McCabe and Melsahn Basabe led Iowa with 15 and 14 respectively.
Iowa (21-11, 9-9)
Aaron White, 6-8, soph., 13.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg
Melsahn Basabe, 6-7, jr., 7.1 ppg, 4.7 rpg
Adam Woodbury, 7-1, fr., 5.0 ppg, 4.8 rpg
Mike Gesell, 6-1, fr., 9.0 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 2.9 apg
Devyn Marble, 6-6, jr., 14.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 2.8 apg
Michigan State (24-7, 13-5)
Branden Dawson, 6-6, soph., 9.7 ppg, 6.0 rpg
Derrick Nix, 6-9, sr., 9.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg
Adreian Payne, 6-10, jr., 10.1 ppg, 7.5 rpg
Keith Appling, 6-1, jr., 13.5 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 3.7 apg
Gary Harris, 6-4, fr., 13.2 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 1.4 apg