Iowa's Tate Likely To Miss Badgers Game
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Iowa has found out the hard way that there's nowhere to hide in the Big Ten.
Iowa coach Todd Lickliter said Tuesday that the Hawkeyes lack of strength and physicality have been exposed during their 1-4 start in conference play. Those issues will be even tougher to fix as long as senior forward Cyrus Tate's foot remains in a boot.
Tate, who hasn't played since suffering a high ankle sprain against Minnesota on Jan. 8, likely won't see action in this week's games; against Wisconsin on Wednesday and at Penn State Saturday.
Lickliter said there's still a lot of swelling in Tate's ankle, and that he likely aggravated the injury by trying to practice on it.
Tate is by far Iowa's best post presence, averaging 7.4 points and 6.3 rebounds a game while anchoring the Hawkeyes interior defense. Lickliter said he doesn't want Tate to return too soon and have the injury linger for the rest of the year.
"It's just been something where, I guess it's taken a little longer than what they may have thought," Lickliter said. "I'm hopeful that it will be no more than this week, but that's a coach talking."
Whenever Tate returns, it won't be a cure-all for the Hawkeyes (11-7, 1-4 Big Ten). They've lost four of their last five -- dropping their last two games by average of 18.5 points -- and their offense has seemingly disappeared since halftime of the Minnesota game.
The Hawkeyes led by as much as 13 in the first half against the Gophers, but they went ice cold in the second half and wound up losing, 52-49. Iowa committed 18 turnovers and scored just 16 first-half points in a 64-49 loss at Michigan.
Against 18th-ranked Purdue last Sunday, the Hawkeyes had more turnovers than field goals for the second straight game and lost 75-53, despite shooting 9-of-20 from 3-point range.
"The last two weekends, against good opponents on the road, we've not challenged the way we'd like too. And we need to address that," Lickliter said.
Iowa currently ranks 10th in Big Ten play in scoring offense and turnover margin and is currently sharing 9th place with Northwestern.
Only woeful Indiana, which is starting from scratch under first-year coach Tom Crean, has a worse record in league games -- and that's because Iowa beat the Hoosiers in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Jan. 3.
Lickliter said the key for the Hawkeyes is to play with efficiency, poise and a "little more toughness with the basketball."
"The game is physical, it's fast and it's been hard for us to adjust," Lickliter said. "We've got to gain strength, and we're not going to do that by tomorrow. That's gotta be an emphasis from here on out for the future."
The one positive for Iowa in Tate's absence was David Palmer's performance against Purdue. Palmer, who had played more than five minutes just once all year, scored 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds in his first career start.
Palmer is penciled in as a starter against the Badgers on Wednesday.
"I was pleased mostly with his poise," Lickliter said. "He really earned more minutes in practice, and I think he's much more comfortable with what we'd like him to do."
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