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Hawks vs. Gonzaga in Top-5 showdown

By DANA BECKER

sports@messengernews.net

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — It is being billed as the biggest game of the year, and for obvious reasons.

Third-ranked Iowa takes on No. 1 Gonzaga here Saturday inside the Sanford Pentagon. Tip is set for 11:06 a.m. with the game airing live on CBS.

Coming off an easy win over Northern Illinois, this will be the first game outside of Iowa City for the Hawkeyes (5-0 overall) this year.

Iowa is led by All-American and player of the year candidate Luka Garza, who averages 29.3 points per game, tops in the country. As a team, the Hawkeyes lead the nation in scoring, averaging 100.5 points per game.

Gonzaga (3-0) is just as dangerous in terms of piling up the points, sitting tied for ninth at 93 per. Five players average double figures led by Drew Timme at 23.3 and Corey Kispert at 22.3.

“They have a really good team and have really good players,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said. “They have a post game with Timme, they have depth and a tremendous point guard in Jalen Suggs.

“They have shooters and slashers, they have so many good players, are veteran, and lose nothing when they go to the bench. They share it, they play it fast and move it. There’s a reason why they’re ranked No. 1.”

Jordan Bohannan, Iowa’s senior point guard, believes this could be a preview of a March encounter between the two teams.

“It’s going to be a sneak peak of what a Final Four or National Championship game could look like,” Bohannon said. “It’s the most important game on our schedule with the next game mentality we’re going to keep having.

“At the end of the day, we think we’re the best team in the country and we want to go out and show it. We have shown the type of team we have and what we’re able to do this year. This is another opportunity to continue to build our resume for the end of the year.”

This marks the sixth time Iowa has been involved in a matchup of Top-5 teams.