Iowa is back in sole command of the Big Ten, but that could quickly change if it becomes Penn State's next upset victim.
The fourth-ranked Hawkeyes blew out the Nittany Lions earlier this month and will seek another dominant performance Wednesday night.
Iowa (20-5, 11-2) moved one game ahead of Indiana and Maryland on Sunday with a 75-71 victory against last-place Minnesota. Peter Jok hit a 3-pointer with 2:46 remaining to give the Hawkeyes enough breathing room en route to finishing with 27 points, two shy of his career high.
Jarrod Uthoff shook off an 0-for-7 start from the floor to register 24 points along with a career-high 15 rebounds and six blocks. He became the third Big Ten player in the last 20 years with at least 20 points, 15 boards and five blocks in a game.
"We understand we're going to go through hard-fought games like this, physical games. We're trying to make sure we have our minds mentally right each and every day," guard Anthony Clemmons told the school's official website. "Whenever you get a win in this league, it's a big win. It makes you that much closer to your ultimate goal."
Iowa has lost two of three on the road with both defeats coming against its closest pursuers in the Big Ten.
The Hawkeyes will play three of their final five games away from home with trips to Ohio State and Michigan. Penn State (12-13, 3-9) would appear to serve as their easiest matchup of that bunch, but the Nittany Lions knocked off then-No. 22 Indiana 68-63 in their latest home game Feb. 6.
They failed to build on that victory Saturday, falling 70-54 at Nebraska for their fifth defeat in six games.
Penn State also lost 73-49 at then-No. 5 Iowa on Feb. 3. The Hawkeyes limited Penn State to 30.4 percent shooting - a season low for any opponent - and a 1-for-20 performance from 3-point range.
Nittany Lions coach Patrick Chambers is hoping for a better showing in a more familiar setting. Penn State is averaging 69.2 points at home compared with 58.6 on the road.
"Being home and knowing the rims and knowing the arena like we do, I hope it gives us confidence that we can succeed, and we can go on a little bit of a run here to finish out the season," Chambers said. "Typically, our teams finish strong. They become the best teams they can be in February. I'm banking on that still."
The Nittany Lions, 8-3 on their own floor, have lost in each of the last three visits from Iowa but took the Hawkeyes to overtime in an 81-77 defeat last season.
Iowa has claimed five of the past six overall matchups with the lone defeat coming in last year's Big Ten tournament.
Penn State leading scorer Brandon Taylor (16.5) had 24 points in the upset over Indiana to match his best effort in Big Ten play. He had a more pedestrian 15 at Iowa - the only Nittany Lions player in double figures - but also grabbed 11 rebounds.