As the Iowa Hawkeyes men’s basketball team faces off with the Purdue Boilermakers today, they are hopeful that returning team member, Luka Garza, will restore depth into their squad’s play.
The Hawkeyes center has been out of the court for the past two successive matches due to a serious ankle injury.
Prior to his sprains, he was performing his best and contributing to his team being Iowa’s number two scorer.
Since Garza’s absence, the Hawkeyes’ play has lacked strength. However, on Monday, the 20-year-old Washington, D. C. native remarked that he is getting better daily.
Garza said that he is hopeful that he could return to “100 percent really soon.”
As of Wednesday morning, Hawkeyes head coach, Fran McCaffery, remarked that Garza’s health condition has improved.
He has been monitoring the sophomore center’s performance during practice, hopeful that he would be well prepared to compete against the Boilermakers today.
Tyler Cook has been the backbone of the Iowa team since Garza’s absence. During his present five-match winning streak, Cook has scored 19.2 points over this period.
Moreover, he has averaged 9.2 rebounds and 3.8 assists as well. Cook has proven to be an effective leader on the basketball court, capable of taking over games for the Hawkeyes.
Considered as the Iowa team’s serious contender versus Purdue’s Carsen Edwards for the conference’s player of the year awards, the Hawkeyes’ junior power forward has shot 68.6 percent over his past five matches.
The Hawkeyes’ head coach is confident that his team is focused as they go head-to-head against Purdue today.
He affirmed that it is certainly a serious game. McCaffery remarked that they intend to be victorious in a Big Ten championship.
In order for that to happen, they need to win the Big Ten matches, he said.
Iowa ranks 25th based on the Associated Press Top 25 Poll for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Men’s Basketball released on New Year’s Eve.
This season, the Hawkeyes have been considered at their best, defense-wise, being in the middle of the group in the scoring defense national rankings.
Winning all of the 11 non-conference basketball games, the Iowa team is also in the top 50 in three-point defense.
The last time the Hawkeyes won all of its non-conference matches was in the 1986 to 1987 basketball season.