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Maryland basketball vs. Iowa preview: Terps look for 2nd straight win over Hawkeyes

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Maryland and Iowa will tangle on ESPN 2 Saturday at 6 p.m.

NCAA Basketball: Indiana at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Maryland basketball is in the midst of its second two-game losing skid of the season after falling to Minnesota on Wednesday.

The Terps will look to bounce back when they host the Iowa Hawkeyes in a Saturday night matchup at 6 on ESPN 2. Maryland won the teams’ first matchup this season, 84-76, in Iowa. The Hawkeyes are fresh off a victory over Indiana in overtime to keep their NCAA tournament hopes alive after previously dropping three straight.

Maryland is reeling with four losses in its last six games, and that first-round bye in the Big Ten tournament isn’t yet a certainty. Meanwhile, Iowa’s chance at making the NCAA Tournament are hanging by a threat. The Hawkeyes aren’t totally out of it, but they’ll probably need an impressive performance in the conference tournament to jump back into the field of 68.

Iowa Hawkeyes (15-13, 7-8 Big Ten)

2015-16 record: 22-11

Head coach: Fran McCaffery. He’s 133-79 as Iowa’s head coach in his seventh season after stints at Siena and UNC Greensboro.

KenPom ranking: 76 (Maryland is 37)

Players to know

Peter Jok, guard, senior, 6’6/205, No. 14. With Aaron White and Jarrod Uthoff gone, Jok is running the show for Iowa. The senior guard is accounting for over a quarter of his team's points, averaging 21 per game to go along with six boards and nearly three assists. Jok is a supreme free throw shooter at 92 percent and can also hit the outside shot at a 36 percent clip.

Jordan Bohannon, guard, freshman, 6’0/182, No. 3. Similar to Maryland, Iowa also has a freshman running the offense at the point guard position. Bohannon only scores nine points a game but averages nearly five dimes per contest and is the team's best three-point shooter, with a minimum of thirty makes, at 37 percent.

Tyler Cook, forward/center, freshman, 6’9/253, No. 5. Cook is Iowa's second leading scorer at nearly 12 points per game and he does so efficiently at over 51 percent shooting from the field.

Strengths

Offense. Scoring 80 or more points in eight of their 15 conference games, Iowa has the potential to beat you by simply outscoring you. They have the No. 53 adjusted offensive efficiency at 112.2 according to KenPom. Much of this is triggered by their pace as their average possession length is just 15 seconds.

Defending without fouling. Iowa does not allow its opponents to score from the free throw line. They rank 27th in the nation in terms of percentage of free throw attempts compared to field goal attempts at just 27.7. This might not bode well for a Maryland team that can sometimes have slumps from the field.

Weaknesses

Defensive rebounding. Iowa allows their opponents to rebound on the offensive end at a 33 percent rate, which is No. 310 in the country. Maryland could make them pay for this on Saturday as the Terps rebound over 30 percent of their missed shots.

Live ball turnovers. Over ten percent of Iowa’s possessions end in a steal, which unlike all turnovers allows the other team to get out in transition. The steal percentage statistic for Iowa ranks No. 313 nationally per KenPom.

Prediction

KenPom’s prediction: Maryland 83, Iowa 74. Terps have a 78 percent chance of victory.

Neil’s prediction: Maryland 80, Iowa 77.