During his weekly press conference Hawkeye men's basketball coach Fran McCaffery had several interesting pieces of information to share. McCaffery was asked if Iowa's non-conference schedule would get tougher as his program improves. He said,
"Absolutely. I think there's a couple components to it. We are always going to play Iowa State who is going to be good. We are always going to play the ACC, and now we have the Pac 12 situation. You're typically going to play in a tournament of some sort, whether it's Maui or the Paradise Jam where there's always going to be good teams."
"We are going to play the other game in Des Moines either against Drake or Northern Iowa."
Iowa and Creighton met in the Dale Howard Classic in November at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. It wasn't pretty for the Hawks as Creighton dominated from the tip and beat Iowa 82-59. The game attracted nearly 13,000 fans of both teams.
Following Iowa's games this season with Drake and Northern Iowa it was reported that the future of those in-state rivalry games is in jeopardy. There's the idea of an in-state tournament, and perhaps McCaffery is hinting that, or at least one game in 2012*, is a real possibility.
*(note: The official release from Iowa of McCaffery's transcript doesn't include "Drake or Northern Iowa" in McCaffery's quote, but the quotes taken from the PC in Dochterman's recap does. Weird.)
In addition to scheduling McCaffery talked about freshman Aaron White and Iowa's upcoming game with Penn State. He was asked if he was instantly sold on White, Fran replied,
"To me it was an easy one. But I just got here, and you know, he's from Ohio; okay, is he going to be interested; what is he looking for. As you get into it, you realize this is kind of what he wants, and it was a good fit, and then he had a great visit.
So everything sort of came together, but as you know in recruiting, it's a progression. He needed to get comfortable with me, I enjoyed getting to know him. He's an easy guy to like. And then you get to know his parents and his high school coach, and then you just go from there.
And then it just looked more and more like we had a pretty good shot. And then when he called to say he was coming, I thought, this is a big step for us, I felt."
What does Fran really think about him?
"I've been doing this long enough. I feel pretty confident that if I go watch Aaron White play, I can tell that he can play in the Big Ten. I mean, he can play in the NBA. So he certainly can play in the Big Ten."
Wow, NBA? That's high praise from the original White Magic. McCaffery has thrown the NBA talent label around before. He's mentioned incoming recruit Mike Gesell as an NBA prospect some day too. It can't happen if you don't believe it. White's hard work his freshman season has earned him a starting spot in the line-up. We've seen Devyn Marble and Zach McCabe improve under McCaffery's guidance. I imagine White will only get better too. And with the 23rd pick of the first round...
McCaffery's men travel to Bryce Jordan Arena Thursday night to face a Penn State team they rolled 12 days ago. Roy Marble, BJ Armstrong and the rest of the 1986-87 team won't be there to rev-up the crowd during pregame this time. The Hawks are trying to win their third game in their last four outings. Penn State has lost eight of their last ten.
Lisa Bluder's ladies basketball team is in the midst of a five game winning streak. That streak has been possible thanks to the outstanding play of freshman Samantha Logic. She averaged 18.5 points and 11 rebounds in Iowa's two games last week and that earned her co-Big Ten Player of the Week and Freshman of the week honors. For the season Logic has three double-doubles and has tied Iowa's all-time freshman record for assists in a season (99).
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