Iowa Hawkeyes (4-2) vs. Longwood Lancers (2-4)
Date: November 29, 2014
Time: 1:00 p.m. CT
Location: Carver Hawkeye Arena
TV: Mediacom 22 & BTN Plus/BTN2Go
Point spread: None
I checked ten different online sportsbooks and could not find a point spread for this game, and for one very good reason: Longwood is probably the worst team in Division I basketball. The Lancers are currently ranked No. 346 by Kenpom; only Maine, Florida A&M, Abilene Christian, Mississippi Valley State and Grambling State are ranked lower among Division I teams. Their two wins came against the equally-awful UNC-Greensboro and something called Averett. Four teams -- James Madison, Youngstown State, Eastern Michigan and George Washington -- have beaten them by a combined 88 points, all of them by double digits. Longwood allows opponents to shoot at a 58 percent effective rate, turns the ball over in one out of every four possessions, and blocks just six percent of shot attempts. Teams need just 16 seconds per possession against the Lancers and still manage to make nearly 57 percent of two-point shot attempts. Their rebounding is equally atrocious: Opponents recover one of every three offensive rebounds. That's not good.
The saving grace: This team has some awesome names. Longwood's equally-NSFW Shaquille Johnson (6'5, 220) is probably the Lancers' best guard. Junior center Lotanna Nwogbo (6'8, 255, 16.0 ppg) is making more than 65 percent from the field and is nearly perfect from the free throw line. Forward Ryan Badowski (6'3, 185, 12.3 ppg) and guard Quincy Taylor (6'0, 180, 10.7 ppg, 4.0 apg) also average in double figures. Taylor, a transfer from UAB, sat out the previous two Lancers game due to an NCAA rules violation, but should be available Saturday. Darrion Allen (6'2, 165, 9.7 ppg) is probably Longwood's most dangerous perimeter scoring threat, and has shot 40 percent from behind the arc so far this year.
Longwood doesn't have the size or athleticism to hang with Iowa; the Lancers' biggest regularly-used player is 6'8, and most of the eight-man rotation is under 6'6. There won't be much from this game to use elsewhere. But Iowa has a string of equally smallish -- and significantly better -- opponents upcoming, none more important than Iowa State. Saturday could be a poorly-attended experiment in what the Hawkeyes could do against smaller opponents the rest of the way.