The Iowa men’s basketball team plays Illinois on Wednesday, Feb. 28, in a Big Ten Tournament first-round game at Madison Square Garden in New York.
The Hawkeyes (13-18, 4-14 Big Ten, seeded 12th in Big Ten Tournament) defeated the Illini (14-17, 4-14, 13 seed) 104-97 in overtime on Jan. 11 in Champaign, Ill. Illinois led by as many as 20 points in the first half before Iowa rallied in the second half to force overtime.
The winner will face 5-seed Michigan in the second round Thursday. Iowa would need to win five games in five days to claim the tournament title.
Iowa-Illinois basketball game time, details
- Time: 4:30 p.m. CT tip-off
- Date: Wednesday, Feb. 28
- Location: Madison Square Garden, New York
What TV channel is showing Iowa-Illinois?
The Big Ten Network will air the Iowa-Illinois game. The announcers for the contest are Kevin Kugler, Stephen Bardo and Mike Hall.
How can I watch Iowa-Illinois online?
BTN2G0 will stream the game. Click here for more information.
How can I listen to Iowa-Illinois on the radio?
In Iowa, 600 AM (WMT-Cedar Rapids), 1040 AM (WHO-Des Moines) and 800 AM (KXIC-Iowa City) are the Hawkeyes’ flagship radio stations. Gary Dolphin is the play-by-play broadcaster, with Bob Hansen as the color analyst. Click here for other Iowa radio affiliates.
The TuneIn app also streams basketball games.
How can I buy Iowa-Illinois tickets?
Click here for ticket information from TicketCity.com.
Which Iowa will show up?
The one which fell behind to Illinois by 20 points in the first half? Or the one which won in overtime? That will determine whether the Hawkeyes’ stay in New York lasts beyond one game.
The first half was a 20-minute snapshot of why the season went sideways for the Hawkeyes. Defense was at times nonexistent as Illinois hit 9 of 15 3-pointers. Iowa couldn’t hold onto the basketball (17 turnovers) and struggled from beyond the arc (1 of 8).
As the ball security improved and the team’s two stars found their shot, the deficit dwindled. Guard Jordan Bohannon and forward Tyler Cook combined for 50 points.
The Hawkeyes used a similar formula to defeat Northwestern 77-70 in the regular-season finale on Saturday. They committed only 9 turnovers. Cook had 14 points and 11 rebounds. Bohannon scored 25 points and made national news by purposely missing a free throw that would have broken the school-record consecutive makes held by Chris Street.
Illinois has a tendency to play with any opponent — even the top Big Ten teams — into the second half before letting games slip away. The Illini also use a pressure defense and tend to pick up the basketball full court, and it can be a problem for opponents.
“Obviously, they are probably one of the best bottom teams in the country from the record and how hard they play,” Bohannon said. “Obviously, they deny everything. They guard you full court and try to wear you down. It should be a tough challenge for us.”
Point guard Trent Frazier and forward Leron Black were tough challenges in January.
Frazier is a concern because he is capable of attacking the rim and emerged as a 3-point shooter later in the season. Iowa can struggle defending dribble penetration and the deep shot. Frazier scored 27 points and hit 7 3-point shots in the first meeting.
Black excels in the low post, and his aggressive nature on the block can land Cook or fellow forward Luka Garza in early foul trouble. Black had 18 points in January against Iowa.
Iowa’s only hope of making the NCAA Tournament is by winning five games in five days and claiming the league’s automatic berth. Connecticut won five games in five days at MSG in the old Big East in 2011. Bohannon is well aware of it. He watched video highlights of it this week and hopes to create his own Madison Square Garden magic in the coming days.
“Obviously, it can be done, and we can’t rule that out,” Bohannon said. “Just knowing what we are capable of doing. We haven’t put anything together this season. What better way to do it than Madison Square Garden and try to get an NCAA bid?”