After taking down the 17th-ranked Purdue Boilermakers, the Hawkeyes have their eyes set on Northwestern, and getting their third straight win.
Offensive fire power was the key in beating Purdue, along with a group of tough-minded Freshman and one of the best scorers in the country in Peter Jok. If the Hawkeyes want to go to Northwestern’s home court and get a win over a quality team, they will do so behind that skilled offense.
In five Big Ten games, the Hawkeyes rank first in total points (394), second in points per game (78.8), first in both field goals made (149) and attempted (326), and third in assists (80).
Led by their superstar Senior Peter Jok, who is averaging 22.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game, the Hawkeyes can go head to head with any team in the conference on the offensive end, but the defensive end is where things get rough.
They rank in the bottom half of defensive stats against Big Ten opponents in 18 of 22 categories.
Currently, they have given up more total points in Big Ten play than they have scored (405 to 394). With so much pressure on an offense to score a lot of points night in and night out, you are going to need some big time scorers.
Jok is obviously on everyone’s radar, but Freshman Tyler Cook is starting to step up and take some pressure off of Jok’s shoulders. Currently, he is averaging 12.6 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. In the Hawkeyes’ most recent game, an upset win against Purdue, he scored 16 points and brought down 6 rebounds. Cook will be key if the Hawkeyes are going to get their third win in a row.
Jordan Bohannon will be another player on the offensive end who will be key for the Hawkeyes. He is coming off two great games, 8 points and 8 assists and 12 points and 9 assists. If the Hawkeyes want to win this game, Bohannon will need to have close to, or more than, 10 assists.
Another area the Hawkeyes will need to focus on in order to get the win is turnovers. In six of their seven losses, the Hawkeyes have had at least 14 turnovers. They are a very young team, the youngest in school history, but in order to win games they need to keep possession of the ball. If they can keep their turnovers under about seven or eight, they will have a very great chance to come out with a win.
The final thing to note about not only this game but the season as a whole is the numbers that Jok is putting up offensively.
As noted in an article on goiowaawesome.com by RossWB, Jok is set to score more than 20 points per game, a record that hasn’t been done since 2006, and he is on pace to score the most points in a season by a Hawkeye. The record is 699 by John Johnson in 1970, but Jok is on pace to have 733 if he continues the per game average he currently has. It may not be the first thing on Jok’s mind, but it may play a part in how hot this offense will be the rest of the season.
For now, they will be focused on beating Northwestern and grabbing their third straight win, which would improve their record to 12-7, 4-2 in Big Ten play.
– M. Handel