Iowa forward Ahmad Wagner dribbles up court during an Iowa/Penn State men's basketball game in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017. The Nittany Lions defeated the Hawkeyes, 77-73. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Point/Counterpoint: Hawkeye, Cyclones set for duel

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This week marks rivalry week for Iowa and Iowa State. The men’s basketball teams tip off Thursday in Ames, and two DI sports reporters go head-to-head on who will win.

Iowa

It’s that time of the year. The height of the cold and flu season brings with it the annual Iowa-Iowa State basketball game, and Hawkeye fans should be excited.

This year’s rendition of the historic head-to-head matchup will be held in Hilton Coliseum, one of the few places to visit when in Ames.

But forget that, let’s talk about numbers.

I would like to tell a story.

When I was in the second grade, my teacher told me to always go with my gut, except in math class. There’s only one answer in math class.

When I was in the second grade, the year was 2006, and Iowa downed Iowa State, 77-59. Coincidence? I think not.

Math tells me that the Hawkeyes are the answer. And I can prove it. This year’s stats tell a tale of two close teams, but Iowa has the edge.

Iowa averages 78 points per game this year. Iowa State? 77. Iowa averages 39 rebounds per game. Iowa State? 37.

Oh, you’re curious about assists? Iowa averages 17. Iowa State? 14.

Mathematically, Iowa is a better team. And my second-grade teacher deserves a raise for that lesson.

Does it matter that Iowa hasn’t won at Hilton since 2003? Not necessarily, we’re only worried about the stats here. Hopefully, my gut is wrong, because I have nothing but respect for my second-grade teacher.

James Geerdes

Iowa State

Any Iowa fan will cringe at this next statement, and rightfully so, but I’m going to go ahead and say it.

Iowa State will take the men’s basketball Cy-Hawk game on Thursday.

First, the numbers. Iowa State leads the Big 12 with a 5-2 record. Iowa has dropped five of its last six games on its way to a 4-5 record to begin the season.

However, the timing of the matchup with both teams being relatively early in the season could provide argument that either team’s record is just a result of luck — or lack thereof — with injuries and performance.

Second, the history. Last year, Iowa upset No. 25 Iowa State in Carver-Hawkeye, 78-64. Before that, the Cyclones went 6-2, finishing in plenty of tight games. The fact is, Iowa has not emerged from Hilton Coliseum victorious since March 2003, and that was by just 1 point.

Iowa State is widely known on its campus as a basketball school, probably an attempt to hide that season’s football failures from recent memory. However, in light of the miraculous season the football team had, the level of confidence in Ames seems to be higher than usual. That could be dangerous with “Hilton Magic.”

Ideally, Iowa rights the ship at this exact moment to save the dignity of Hawkeye fans who make the trip to Ames. However, with Iowa’s recent losses and Iowa State’s five-game winning streak, the odds aren’t looking good.

Anna Kayser

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