Iowa players shrug off Indiana inconvenience

Published: February 21 2014 | 4:53 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 3:59 am in

IOWA CITY — Aaron White found out on Twitter. Text messages woke up Josh Oglesby and Devyn Marble. Zach McCabe thought he was pranked by teammate Gabe Olaseni. Collectively, the Iowa men’s basketball team was confused but hardly fazed on Tuesday when it learned its game with Indiana was postponed.

“You wanted to play, but it wasn’t like the game wasn’t (ever going) to take place,” Marble said. “It wasn’t that big of a deal.”

Iowa and Indiana were scheduled to play Feb. 18 at Assembly Hall, but a 50-pound piece of metal facing fell from a corner and crushed several sets in the arena’s lower bowl. The game was postponed indefinitely.

The players hung around their hotel for a few hours then flew back to Iowa when a plan to play the following day in Indianapolis fell through. Mostly, the players shrugged off the inconvenience and started prepping for Wisconsin.

Friday, the players learned they will play Indiana Feb. 27 at Assembly Hall, which was deemed safe enough to host a men’s basketball game. Iowa’s game against Purdue — originally scheduled for March 1 — was pushed back to March 2.

Iowa preferred to play on Feb. 19 and move the game to Indianapolis, but logistics prevented the shift, Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery said.

Feb. 27 always was the likely makeup date for Iowa-Indiana, but the schools had to work through the league’s television partners and enlist Purdue’s help. Iowa has a road game scheduled for Feb. 25 at Minnesota. Three games in five days, including two on the road when classes were in session, seemed a bit much for any school. Purdue agreed to the move, and Iowa now will play three games in six days.

“I just think that was a really professional thing, and I really appreciate that by the administration,” Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery said. “Matt’s (Painter) willingness to play the game on Sunday, under the circumstances. I think we all appreciate their professionalism there.”

Indiana is scheduled to play Feb. 25 at Wisconsin, so there’s no scheduling disadvantage for Iowa other than travel. The Hawkeyes take charter flights to games, so the time travel is minimal.

“Both teams will be playing games on the 25th, so the playing field is level from that important perspective,” Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta said in a statement.

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