Iowa's basketball season begins today at 6:00pm against Texas-San Antonio. While Iowa City may not wait with eager anticipation the start of the basketball season after last night's heartbreak, these guys are happy to have their chance to move this program forward.
Not ready quite yet for basketball? Well, look at it this way, it will be nice to have something to focus on other than Gregg Doyle, Pat Forde and the MSM's hateful disdain for Iowa and Big Ten Football (while Florida plays as uninspired as anyone, USC gets throttled weekly now, and...oh, whatever).
It's safe to say this team has its hands full this year and beginning tonight they will be relying on some new players to help them overcome the Roadrunners of UTSA. Iowa beat the Roadrunners in Iowa City last year, but it was a close one. After sprinting out to a sizeable lead they hung on for a single digit victory. The Roadrunners return most of last year's team intact and are expecting a run at their conference title. They have a strong backcourt and will be a stern test for Iowa to start the season. They are a senior laden team who might try to expose Iowa's delicate, new chemistry.
Todd Lickliter has had to order in a number of new parts (ala Wile E. Coyote) for this year's team--although none were ordered just to take down the Roadrunners. Cully Payne does not come from the ACME Corporation, but he will be one of Lickliter's main devices tonight. Iowa's potential may depend on his ability to direct this team. If he can do so effectively they may be able to grow into a dangerous threat. It will not be his burden alone though as Iowa will need to be coyote hungry across the board to make the most of this out-of-conference schedule. Most preseason predictions have the Big Ten as the best conference in the nation and that means wins will be hard to come by after January.
Keep in mind too that tonight may not be an effective gauge of things to come. Last year's game saw Jake Kelly play a mere 16 minutes and score only 2 points (no, he was not in foul trouble, he just had not become central in Lickliter's plans at that point) and Jarryd Cole, coming off a knee injury, played all of 3 minutes.
Look in on the Hawks tonight as they are on ESPNU.