IOWA CITY — Iowa players and coaches will enjoy their second and final idle period this Big Ten season by studying, practicing and recruiting.
For Devyn Marble, the time off has mixed reviews. Iowa’s other idle date came after a road win at then-No. 3 Ohio State on Jan. 12. The Hawkeyes waited a week until playing Minnesota at home. The Hawkeyes won by 21, but they trailed by 10 late in the first half.
Last Saturday, the Hawkeyes produced one of their most impressive wins in an 85-67 triumph over then-No. 16 Michigan. Now, the Hawkeyes wait until this Saturday to play at Penn State.
“After a win like this, you kind of want to get back after it,” Marble said. “Like after the Ohio State game, it was a good win, but I wanted to play two days later.”
But the team does need some down time. Iowa had played six games — including three on the road — in a 17-day period. All of the games took place after the second semester started. The teams battled some poor weather on all three road trips.
“I’m kind of glad I’ve got a week off so I can take care of some stuff,” Marble said. “We’re still going to work in practice and get ready for Penn State. We’ve got to go there. It’s tough. It’s tough to get road wins, I don’t care where you’re going. That’s going to be big for us to go there and get a win.”
Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery plans to spend part of the week recruiting. Iowa has two available scholarships for the fall.
“I’m going to go recruiting a little bit obviously, take advantage of that time,” McCaffery said. “They need a little bit of rest I think, no question. … We’ll live in the training room a little bit. And then we’ll get back to work.”
Outside of junior guard Josh Oglesby breaking his foot before the season, health has not been an issue for Iowa this year. Iowa has started the same players for all 23 games. Oglesby has played in the last 11.
But there are always the nagging bruises and sore muscles that follow a grinding season.
“I think this is an important week off for me personally to be able to stay in good shape, to stay conditioned and fresh and be able to get my body back to where it needs to be,” Marble said.
“Typically in a week like this, we will spend time on ourselves,” McCaffery said. “We will look at film from the Michigan game and try to get better from studying that. We will get a lot of shots up, get a lift in, and work on some things that we think we need to sharpen up. As we get to the midpoint of the week we will start to focus more on Penn State.”
Iowa moved up one spot to 16th in the latest Associated Press poll and down two spots to 15th in the USA Today/Coaches poll. Big Ten squads in the AP top 25 include: Michigan State (9), Michigan (15), Iowa (16), Wisconsin (21) and Ohio State (22). Coaches’ poll teams are: Michigan State (10), Iowa (15), Michigan (18), Ohio State (20) and Wisconsin (21).
Saturday’s game at Penn State (noon, ESPNU) marks Iowa’s final road regular-season weekend game. The Hawkeyes end the regular season with three consecutive home weekends. At Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa plays Wisconsin on Feb. 22 (11 a.m., ESPN or ESPN2), Purdue (March 1 or 2, TBA) and Illinois (March 8 or 9, TBA).
The flip for Iowa is it plays three consecutive midweek games on the road. Iowa plays at Indiana Feb. 18 (8 p.m., ESPN), at Minnesota on Feb. 25 (6 p.m., BTN). Iowa’s final road game is Michigan State (8 p.m. March 6, ESPN or ESPN2).
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