We are back!
The Iowa Hawkeyes (5-0) are in action this evening against the Portland State Vikings (2-2). Their two games against Division 1 opponents (at Oregon State and vs. Portland) resulted in losses. Their two wins, both by over 40 points, came against Evergreen State & George Fox. Tough for George to defend 1 on 5.
KenPom has this bunch at 254th, which doesn’t account for the two games against non-D1 opponents. Jase Coburn is in his first season as head coach after serving as an assistant for seven seasons, taking over for Barret Peery who accepted an associate head coaching job with Texas Tech. They’re a veteran bunch with three seniors and two juniors in the starting lineup.
Canadien James Jean-Marie (6’8” forward) is the team’s leading scorer & rebounder at 15 points and 10 boards a game after transferring in from Hawai’i. A bespectacled(?) Marlon Ruffin (6’5” guard) transferred in from Omaha and is averaging 12.3 points/game on 47.5%. He shot 37% from deep at UNO but is just 1/9 so far this season. Their best shooters are low-volume bench guys: Gio Nelson is 3/5 and Ian Burke is 3/6 from deep.
- What Iowa’s defense keep it up? Iowa had fine performances on the defensive end in its first four performances but ramped it up against Western Michigan. They held the Broncos to .78 points/possession as Fran McCaffery slid Keegan Murray onto the top of a press which simultaneously slowed down WMU and sped them up. The 15 steals was a season-high while the 42.9% eFG was second only to the output vs. Longwood. So if Patrick McCaffery is available, does he slide back into the top of the press? And if he does, can he replicate the torture chamber Keegan Murray provided? Additionally, the Hawks looked solid in the half court for the most part but struggled with rebounding. With Virginia coming up, Iowa will need to be locked in on that side of the floor.
- Can the bench continue to perform? Half of Iowa’s top 6 scorers are off the bench in Kris Murray, Payton Sandfort, and Tony Perkins. Considering the lack of traditional inside presence, Iowa’s ability to play 5-out hinges on the continued success of those off the bench. Though they’re young, they’ve had plenty of run but the competition level is about to ramp up. Seeing them enter that stretch with increased confidence should be beneficial.
- What other questions can be answered right now? Personally I’d like to see Filip Rebraca and/or Joe Toussaint get to double figures, as they have just one 10+ point game between the two of them. Maybe just stay healthy? Get the W, of course, but with the last of a line of tuna cans up tonight, not sure there’s much more to be gathered with tonight’s result.
Opponent: Portland State Vikings (Portland, OR // Big Sky)
Betting Lines: Iowa -28.5 // O/U 149 (DraftKings)
Game time: 6:01 PM CST // Friday, November 26, 2021
Location: Carver-Hawkeye Arena // Iowa City, IA (Tickets: $15 Adult, $5 Students/Kids)
Radio: Hawkeye Radio Network
Live Stats: StatBroadcast
Go Hawks, and play nice in the comments!
Bonus ponk: (note, not sure if it will continue in basketball season since it comes so fast and furious but this one is worth mentioning...)
Iowa non-conference games are 14-0 over since the beginning of last year so...let’s keep riding that train!