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Northwestern’s rematch strategy against Iowa: Try again

Iowa’s Anthony Clemmons (left) NU’s Dave Sobolewski fight for loose ball teams’ first meeting. | Nam Y. Huh~AP

Iowa’s Anthony Clemmons (left) and NU’s Dave Sobolewski fight for a loose ball in the teams’ first meeting. | Nam Y. Huh~AP

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Updated: March 10, 2013 6:48AM

Northwestern doesn’t plan to change much when it takes on Iowa on Saturday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in a rematch of the Wildcats’ 70-50 home loss on Jan. 13.

Sure, the Wildcats credit Iowa for suffocating defense, which held them to 15 first-half points in the first meeting. But the Cats can’t simply throw away their entire game plan when they felt it was just poorly executed.

NU shot 29.4 percent from the field that night.

‘‘We just didn’t play well,’’ sophomore guard Dave Sobolewski said. ‘‘We were watching the film as a team [Wednesday]. We had a lot of shots that were decent that we just missed. The second half was a different story, but we just scored 15 points in the first half, which was terrible.’’

Though the focus Saturday will be on executing early, coach Bill Carmody acknowledged the team might also have to experiment a little. It’s a difficult juggling act but one Carmody says is necessary because of what he calls a ‘‘different’’ Iowa team. The Hawkeyes rank 15th in the country in rebounding, averaging 40.1 per game.

‘‘They’re playing more aggressively defensively, I think, than they have in the past,’’ Carmody said. ‘‘I think they’re one of the most aggressive teams overall in the conference — pressing and on the offensive boards and just the way they handle their man-to-man defense. So we’re going to have to see what’s going to work offensively against them.’’

Ultimately, Sobolewski will be responsible for much of that burden. Although Carmody expects an early feeling-out period, Sobolewski knows he’ll need to quickly solve the offensive problems that plagued the Wildcats when they last played Iowa.

‘‘It’s going to take a good start because we’ve realized over the past couple of games if we start well, we’ll play well,’’ Sobolewski said. ‘‘And if we don’t start well, for whatever reason, we can’t get out of that little slump.’’

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