Your pre-game primer for the Iowa basketball team’s next game:
When: 8 p.m., Thursday
Where: United Center, Chicago
Quad-City area radio: WOC (1420 AM), KROS (1340 AM), WMT (600 AM)
The starting five:
1. Freshman Kale Abrahamson of West Des Moines Valley moved into the Northwestern lineup after the team’s second-leading scorer, Jared Swopshire suffered a season-ending right knee injury in the Wildcats’ 14-point loss at Iowa on Feb. 9. Abrahamson scored 16 points in Northwestern’s 71-61 loss Sunday at Michigan State, the eighth straight loss suffered by the Wildcats. Swopshire is one of five Northwestern players currently sidelined because of season-ending injuries – a group that includes top returning scorer Drew Crawford – or in the case of JerShon Cobb, for violating team rules.
2. Josh Oglesby has scored in double figures in three Big Ten games this season, twice against Northwestern. The sophomore scored 12 of his season-high 14 points in the second half of Iowa’s 20-point win at Evanston in January, following that with 10 points vs. the Wildcats last month.
3. Sharing the basketball has not been an issue for either the Hawkeyes or Wildcats. Northwestern sophomore Dave Sobolewski ranks sixth in the Big Ten with his assist average of 3.9 per game, but as a team, Northwestern ranks second in the country with assists on 70.5 percent of its baskets. Iowa has assisted on 63.8 percent of its baskets, a number that ranks 17th among the 347 Division I programs. Wildcats center Alex Olah averages the most assists by any player at 7-foot or taller, averaging 2 per game.
4. Devyn Marble has averaged 14.5 points in Iowa’s two games against the Wildcats this season. The junior has averaged 17.6 points over the Hawkeyes’ last seven games, the fourth-best scoring average in the Big Ten over that timeframe.
5. This is just the second time Iowa has played Northwestern in the 16-year history of the Big Ten tourney. The Hawkeyes defeated the Wildcats 72-55 in to open a run of four wins in four days to claim the tournament title in 2001. Northwestern has won five of the last seven games between the teams, but Iowa handled the Wildcats 70-50 and 71-57 this season.
Northwestern (13-18, 4-14)
Reggie Hearn, 6-4, sr., 13.2 ppg, 4.4 rpg
Kale Abrahamson, 6-7, fr., 5.1 ppg, 1.9 rpg
Alex Olah, 7-0, fr., 5.9 ppg, 4.0 rpg
Dave Sobolewski, 6-1, soph., 10.0 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 3.9 apg
Alex Marcotullio, 6-3, sr., 5.0 ppg, 2.3 rpg
Iowa (20-11, 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, 2.8 apg
Devyn Marble, 6-6, jr., 14.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 2.8 apg