Carver-Hawkeye Arena is open for business.
After a smooth victory in exhibition against Lindsey Wilson where everyone (except the suspended Cordell Pemsl, who is also held out of this game) got to play, the Iowa Hawkeyes (0-0) open their regular season slate up against the SIU-Edwardsville Cougars (1-0).
The Cougars’ win came against a college called Quincy in which they won 61-52 in their first season under Brian Barone. Barone has spent much of his time in the Midwest with stints at multiple junior colleges, Illinois State, Marquette, Indiana, and Wisconsin-Green Bay. His father is former Creighton & Texas A&M coach, Tony Barone.
SIU-E is...not a good team. They joined Division 1 basketball in 2008 and have peaked at 248 in KenPom’s rankings ($). They are currently 324th after finishing last season 330th and 7th in the Ohio Valley Conference. Another fact about them is they gave up more points in conference games (83.0) than overall last year (81.3), which is not what I would expect from a low major program. They return all but one starter from a team who shot 30.3% from three.
- Brandon Jackson: He led the Cougs in scoring last year at 13.8 points per game. The 6’7” forward will make hay inside the arc, where he was national ranked (top 500) according to KenPom at 54.8% from two. He shot just 38 threes.
- Tyrese Willford: The leading assist man from 2019 also averaged over 13 points to go with his 3.7 assists. Standing at 5’10”, 175, he wasn’t afraid to get into the paint. He drew 6 fouls/40 minutes and sank 76% of his free throws. Also bears mention his backcourt-mate, Cameron Williams, who is their best returning shooter at 32% from deep.
- Elochukwu Eze: At 6’10”, he’s the biggest player on the roster will be the main guy tasked with Luka Garza. He played in just 14 games last year but figures to play a bigger role in his sophomore campaign. He’s likely to backup current center, 6’7” Anselm Uzuegbunem, but is likely to get a lot of run as Iowa looks to attack the post. He overcame a “fist sized brain tumor” in high school.
- What carries over from the exhibition? C.J. Fredrick was the human torch, going 6/7 (including 4/5 from deep) en route to 18 points in 19 minutes. Connor McCaffery had 11 assists, 3 more than any game last year, and is likely to continue starting while Jordan Bohannon nurses himself back from injury. Jack Nunge added 11 points and flashed an inside-out game alongside Garza. All three come into the season with varied amounts of skepticism in their direction so continuing their strong starts can ease the concerns about this team.
- How does Jordan Bohannon look? If Monday was a good day for Bohannon, in my view, it is concerning for the near- and long-term prospects of this 2019-20 team. He looked especially slow laterally on defense and was hesitant shooting as a primarily off-ball guard on offense. With the continued healing and murky role, I’d feel much more comfortable about him playing against a quicker DePaul team next week if we see a more active Bohannon. Until a decision is made on his season, this is probably an evergreen question.
- Can Iowa finish possessions? One concern which came from the exhibition was how many offensive rebounds the Hawkeyes yielded to Lindsey Wilson (12 on 43 misses). The 27.9% ORB rate is actually below Iowa’s 2018-19 mark of 29.4% (231st in the country) but warrants some concern against such a lesser foe. With limited girth to match Iowa’s post presence, look for this area to be cleaned up.
Opponent: SIU-Edwardsville Cougars (Edwardsville, IL // Ohio Valley Conference)
Game time: 8:07 PM CST // Friday, November 8, 2019
Location: Carver-Hawkeye Arena // Iowa City, IA
Radio: Hawkeye Radio Network
Online Listening: HRN
Live Stats: StatBroadcast
Go Hawks, and play nice in the comments!