Iowa Hawkeyes’ Luka Garza Reveals He Came to Big Ten Conference to Face Top Competition

Published 03/17/2021, 1:53 PM EDT
Mar 13, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes center Luka Garza (55) reacts to the crowd after making a shot against the Illinois Fighting Illini in the first half at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports


The Iowa Hawkeyes have made it to the NCAA tournament as a #2 seed. They arrive with a 21-8 record after finishing third in the Big Ten conference. Many would have predicted the Hawkeyes to win the Big Ten title in the season’s start, but they fell short.

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The Michigan Wolverines lifted the title. The #2 team, the Illinois Fighting Illini, found consolation after their conference tournament win. But the Hawkeyes came up empty-handed. The competition is always intense in Big Ten, and the Hawkeyes couldn’t overcome it. Despite the results, Hawkeyes star Luka Garza recently spoke about how he enjoyed going up against the other big men in the Big Ten conference.

He said, “It’s fun to play against those guys. You’re playing against the best of the best. As a competitor, I love playing against the best and that’s why I came to the Big Ten. Because the Big Ten is always famous for having great bigs.

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“I think the big men in this league might be the best there have ever been. I’m excited to face even better big men in this run towards the national championship.”

How did Iowa Hawkeyes’ Luka Garza fare against the other top centers in Big Ten?

Against Illinois, Garza had a tough time against Kofi Cockburn. In their first game against them, Garza had a decent 19-point game while shooting 50%. He also held Cockburn to 2-7 from the field. However, he wasn’t able to get the Hawkeyes to a win. The next time they faced each other, Garza went 8-21 from the field while Cockburn shot 11-16 and led Illinois to their second win over the Hawkeyes.

Mar 12, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes center Luka Garza (55) reacts against the Wisconsin Badgers in the first half at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Indiana Hoosiers’ center Trayce Jackson-Davis also gave Garza a tough time. He bested Garza in both of their meetings and kept Garza under 50% in both games. Jackson-Davis’ also had a great offensive output by which he led the team to two wins in two games. He got the better of Purdue Boilermakers’ Trevion Williams when they matched up and got the win for the Hawkeyes.

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While Drew Timme and the Gonzaga Bulldogs aren’t from the Big Ten conference, Garza had a monster game against his fellow National Player of the Year candidate. He had 30 points and 10 rebounds. However, it still wasn’t enough for the Hawkeyes to win. If things go as expected, these two teams will meet in the Regional Final in the NCAA tournament and Garza and co will be eager for revenge.

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Aaron Mathew

1551 articles

Aaron Mathew is a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Mass Media from Xavier’s College, Aaron has been a part of EssentiallySports since May 2020 where he covers both NBA and NCAA basketball news, and has also covered NBA 2K. In the past, Aaron has worked at the Sports Desk of Mumbai Mirror.

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