Matt Weitzel, Athletic Communications, 319-335-9411
Roy Devyn Marble celebrates with fans
The University of Iowa men’s basketball team and its loyal fans have once again made Carver-Hawkeye Arena one of the most difficult venues to play in the country.
The Hawkeyes have gone 15-2 so far this season with one home game left on Saturday against Nebraska. Only Michigan State, Indiana, and Michigan have lost fewer home games in the Big Ten this season.
Junior Roy Devyn Marble, who has averaged better than 19 points the last seven games, says that the support the Hawkeye fans have given the team has been a tremendous boost.
“We have been playing really well at home,” says Marble, a team co-captain. “Our fans have really helped us make Carver a hostile environment for the other teams. We’ve played in all but two Big Ten arenas this year and Carver is definitely one of the loudest in the league.”
The Hawkeyes have won 20 of their last 23 home games dating to Feb. 2, 2012. Iowa’s last three losses, dating back to last season, have been narrow defeats coming by an average of 3.7 points. Two of the three setbacks came to nationally ranked Indiana and Michigan State.
Hawkeye fans have seen exciting wins over quality competition with Iowa topping four of its last seven games against ranked opponents, dating back to the 2011 regular season finale win over No. 6 Purdue (67-65).
“Teams play better at home,” says sophomore Josh Oglesby, who has started the last two contests. “To be able to end the season with two home games is beneficial to us.”
Iowa has seen improved statistics at home as well. The Hawkeyes are allowing only 57.3 points on Mediacom Court this year, its best in five seasons. Opponents are shooting less than 36 percent from the field, while Iowa snags 41 rebounds per game, the most since 2006.
“It’s much easier when you’re home and the crowd is going crazy to lock in and execute the game plan,” says Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery.
Iowa’s improved play the last two-plus seasons has seen Hawkeye fans flock back to Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Last season, Iowa averaged 11,908 fans, and that’s jumped to 13,233 this season, the best annual average attendance in 10 years.
“The crowds have been great at home,” says senior co-captain Eric May. “We’ve been using that to our advantage. Our fans give us that extra push. We’re eager to finish the regular season with two games in Carver and head into the Big Ten Tournament on a winning note.”
Iowa has a chance to improve those numbers when it closes the regular season hosting Nebraska at 1:15 p.m. Saturday.