Pre-game notes: Gesell out for 2 weeks with foot
Iowa sophomore point guard Mike Gesell is out for two weeks with a "stress reaction" in his foot that had been building throughout the season, Iowa associate sports information director Matt Weitzel confirmed tonight.
Gesell, a freshman, averages 9.0 points per game and and is second in assists with 79. He averages 27.5 minutes per game. Sophomore Josh Oglesby will start in Gesell's place.
Gesell rolled his left ankle on Saturday against Nebraska but this injury was to his right foot.
Historically the 105-year-old Iowa-Purdue series has been pretty even with Purdue taking the upper hand 86-71. But the Boilermakers' series lead has soared recently after winning 11 of the last 12 in the series.
Purdue won the previous meeting 65-62 in overtime on Jan. 27 at Mackey Arena. The teams are tied for eighth in the Big Ten standings at 6-8. The winner will vault into a three-way tie for sixth with Illinois and Minnesota.
The Boilermakers feature junior guard Terone Johnson, who averages a team-best 13.2 points per game. Freshman center A.J. Hammons puts up 10.9 points and grabs 6.4 rebounds. Point guard Ronnie Johnson, the younger brother of Terone, leads the team in assists with 99 and is third in scoring (9.7 points). Forward D.J. Byrd (9.5 points) has a team-high 59 3-pointers.
"No. 1, they're going to guard you," Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery said. "No. 2, they're going to rebound. I think they pride themselves on being the tougher team any time they take the floor. Doesn't mean they're going to win them all but they're going to compete in a way that's going to challenge our team and any team that plays them. That's a credit to their players and their coaching staff. I think Matt (Painter) has made sure that's that team's identity.
"We have to make sure that we're able to compete at that level, play a little bit better than we have been playing, in particular at the offensive end of the floor."
Officials tonight are Ted Valentine, Pat Driscoll and Lamont Simpson. It's always interesting to see how Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery interacts with Valentine.
BTN airs the game with a 7:36 p.m. tip-off. Eric Collins and Shon Morris call the action from Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Iowa has three home games remaining, and tickets are available for all three. Iowa ticket manager Pam Finke said the school sold about 11,500 for tonight's game, but very few remain for next week's border battles with Illinois (about 1,300 left) and Nebraska (about 800).
Iowa averages 13,330 in attendance for its 15 home games thus far. It would mark the school's best season since 2001-02, when the Hawkeyes averaged 15,207 at home.
If Iowa qualifies for the NIT, it would be able to host multiple games despite the school holding the NCAA women's basketball tournament's first two rounds. The women's tournament is held March 24 and 26 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena and the women's teams need full arena access on March 23 (a Saturday) and March 25.
Iowa's men could host games anytime from Monday, March 18 through Friday, March 23, then host one more game if necessary from March 27 onward. Last year in the NIT, Iowa played host to Dayton on Tuesday, March 13, 2012 then traveled to Oregon for a Sunday, March 18 second-round game. The NIT did hold one second-round match-up on Friday, March 16 (Washington vs. Northwestern).
There are lanes closed on Hawkins Drive for construction. Here's an update from Iowa:
Beginning Wednesday, Feb. 27, and continuing throughout the month of March, Hawkins Drive will be reduced to two lanes -- one lane in each direction -- from South Hospital Drive to Melrose Avenue. This is the section of Hawkins Drive next to the Pomerantz Family Pavilion (PFP), and immediately east of Kinnick Stadium.
The lane reductions may cause traffic delays along Hawkins Drive, particularly during the early morning and late afternoon hours. Hawkeye fans are encouraged to allow extra time in getting to the arena, follow posted traffic signs and proceed safely when driving in this area.The lane closures are necessary as work continues on the Ambulatory Surgery Center expansion project at PFP.