It is time.
The Iowa Hawkeyes’ (0-0) basketball season kicks off tonight against the Longwood Lancers (0-0) at the owl-friendly time of 9p, which is basically 10p because of the clocking moving back due to Daylight Savings Time being peeled off. Where exactly is the daylight being saved? Just asking the tough questions.
Longwood hails from the real life Farmville, Virginia as part of the Big South Conference. They have just one winning season over the last 17 years since becoming a Division 1 program but have seen a marginal uptick under Griff Aldrich with a 44% winning percentage over the last three seasons and two .500 records in conference play.
They feature 7 D-1 transfers by my count, including Isaiah Wilkins of Virginia Tech/Wake Forest where he averaged 4 points in 82 games over 3 seasons. The leading returning scorers for the Lancers are guards Deshaun Wade (11.2 PPG, 40% FG) and Justin Hill (11.0 PPG, 43% FG).
The Lancers look like they’ll be able to throw a lot of bodies at Iowa’s wing depth with 6 guys at 6’6” or 6’7”. The highest returning scorer of them is Leslie Nkereuwem, at 8.2 in just 17 minutes a game. His time on the court looks to be a function of foul trouble at 6.3/40 minutes. Their best shooter returning is Nate Lliteras, at 42.5% 3P, in very limited time.
- Can Keegan Murray & Patrick McCaffery carry over Friday’s performance? Iowa really got these two going against Slippery Rock to the tune of 35 points on 14/19 shooting. Each looked smooth in the lane and Pat even hit one of his two three point attempts. Longwood will have more long bodies to throw at these two than The Rock did so that could make things interesting as they look to assert themselves offensively. Points should come easy, but maybe not as easy as the exhibition.
- Can Iowa get bench scoring in the first half? The most stagnant portion of Friday’s matchup was the period where five bench guys were sharing the court in the first half. Lacking shooters - or the main shooter, in Payton Sandfort looking shaky - allowed the defense to collapse and limited the amount of penetration which could open things up for Iowa. Despite things, Tony Perkins had some aggression towards the basket and finished with 8 points, half on free throws. Sandfort picked it up to a hilarious degree as the subs started the second half and scored 10 straight points for the Hawks at one point. He finished with 12. Iowa has guys who can score off the bench but it’ll look a lot different than the starters.
- Who backs up Filip Rebraca? This is, laughably, a holdover question from the exhibition and might remain here until we see a rotation settle. Each of Kris Murray, Josh Ogundele, and Riley Mulvey had their minutes at the five and looked active in the post. Murray, the primary backup there, struggled with 5 fouls in his 7 minutes. Ogundele showed refinement around the basket, even doing Luka Garza’s “too small” hand gesture at one point, and finished with 6 points. Mulvey had the most time - nearly 10 minutes - and finished with 4 points alongside some active defense. Each has their skills but someone will need to emerge as the guy to limit the amount of times Keegan Murray and Rebraca stagger their minutes at the 5.
Opponent: Longwood Lancers (Farmville, VA // Big South)
Betting Lines: Iowa -20 // O/U 143.5 (DraftKings)
Game time: 9:05 PM CST // Tuesday, November 9, 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!