Do in-state games matter?

December 7, 2008

Yes, they do, according to Iowa freshman Matt Gatens.

“Having grown up in the state of Iowa you always paid close attention, and it seems like all the fans pay more attention to those in-state games,” Gatens said. “But you just really got to take a lot of pride in those games and just try to play as hard as we can and try to come out on top in the state.

“It’s a state tournament almost and we take a lot of pride in wanting to beat those teams. Every night you want to beat the team you’re playing, but we almost take a little more pride (against state teams).”

Granted, Gatens, who scored 19 points against Bryant last Friday, is an Iowa City boy and has watched these games since he was dunking on a Nerf hoop. Iowa (7-2) hosts Northern Iowa at 6 p.m. Tuesday, the first of three consecutive games against state opponents for Iowa. The Hawkeyes host Iowa State on Friday, then take eight days off before playing Drake on Dec. 20 in Des Moines.