Michigan overcame some lackluster play and crucial mistakes down the stretch to pull out an overtime win in its last game. That could be good practice for a trip to Iowa, where the Wolverines and Hawkeyes have gone past regulation in each of their last three meetings.
The No. 13 Wolverines go for their seventh straight win over Iowa on Saturday, although they hope they won't need a third straight overtime victory in Iowa City.
Michigan (14-3, 4-1 Big Ten) shot a season-low 33.3 percent from the field, trailed by 10 in the second half and fouled a 3-point shooter with a three-point lead and 0.3 seconds remaining in overtime Wednesday, but still came away with a 66-64 win over Northwestern.
"It's always important to win a game in the conference when you don't play a great game," guard Zack Novak said.
Adding to the frustration, Michigan's Jordan Morgan was whistled for a technical foul for pushing a Northwestern player with a two-point lead and 2:11 left in the extra session, but the Wildcats didn't capitalize.
"It was a great practice for mental toughness," Michigan coach John Beilein said.
That could be an asset at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Wolverines' last three games in Iowa City have gone to overtime, with Michigan winning the last two by a combined five points.
Overall, Michigan has won nine of 10 against Iowa, including six straight.
Iowa (10-8, 2-3) won its first meeting with a ranked opponent by topping then-No. 11 Wisconsin on Dec. 31 and followed that with a victory at Minnesota, but since then it has lost consecutive games against sixth-ranked teams by a combined 63 points.
The Hawkeyes scored a season-low 47 points in a loss to Ohio State last Saturday before giving up a season-high total in a 95-61 defeat at Michigan State on Tuesday. The Spartans went on a 16-0 run late in the first half and a 14-0 surge in the second.
During the second spurt, Iowa coach Fran McCaffery got a technical foul for yelling at an official. Later, he picked up a chair and slammed it down while his team was huddled around him.
"I wanted them to get the defenders off them," McCaffery said. "Couldn't you hear me? I yelled loud enough."
McCaffery said he had no regrets about the incident, and Iowa players didn't hold a grudge for their coach's display of frustration.
"I would've done that, too, if I'd been watching what he had to watch," forward Melsahn Basabe said. "It was unacceptable."
To bounce back, the Hawkeyes will likely have to do a better job defending Michigan's Tim Hardaway Jr. than they did last season.
As a freshman, Hardaway averaged 24.5 points while shooting 57.1 percent (16 for 28) from the field and 58.8 percent (10 for 17) from 3-point range in two games against Iowa, including a career-high 30-point performance in Iowa City.
Hardaway shot 30.2 percent in his first three games of 2012 before going 7 of 13 with five 3-pointers en route to 19 points against Northwestern - although he did commit the careless foul late in overtime.
Matt Gatens, Iowa's leading scorer with 13.1 points per game, has been held to 17 total points in the Hawkeyes' consecutive losses. The senior is 1-7 in his career against Michigan.
Basabe led the Hawkeyes with 19 points and eight rebounds while shooting 8 of 10 at home against the Wolverines last season.