The Iowa Hawkeyes (0-0) kick of their regular season tonight against the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats (0-0). The Hawks are coming off a 46-point win in their only exhibition against the Truman State Bulldogs. Kris Murray led Iowa with 24 points, with Tony Perkins adding 18 on a blistering 7/8 from the field. The 118 points came on 64.8% shooting, including 56% from behind the arc.
Below are a couple thoughts and some additional details on Iowa’s opponent and how to watch.
How much does Iowa’s rotation adjust with Ahron Ulis back? I had the point guard from Chicago penciled in as Iowa’s starting lineup before a citation kept him out of Iowa’s exhibition. Perkins took over as primary ballhandler and absolutely looked the part as he added five boards and four assists to his 18 points. Peyton Sandfort also looked good as a starter by stretching the floor with 6/10 shooting and a couple of threes.
However, Iowa was lacking a bit defensively with their tall & long wings at the 2-4 and could certainly use theadditional ball pressure that Ulis provides. Perkins excelled here, with three steals, but being able to throw multiple guards at B-C could prove useful as they turned it over on 19.8% of their possessions last year (272nd in the country, per KenPom). They also turned opponents even more at 20.4%, including a top 40 steal rate - Demamani Mcentire was 32nd in the country with 66 total steals - so the Hawks could use the extra ballhandling on offense.
It may also prove useful for Fran McCaffery to stagger his PGs because if Sandfort continues starting, the bench unit gets potentially very small with Connor McCaffery, Ulis, and Dasonte Bowen occupying Iowa’s 1-3.
Can Kris Murray start the season hot? Much like Keegan last year, Kris was efficient in his scoring with only 14 shots in his 24 minutes. He demonstrated scoring in a number of different ways in transition and half-court sets. He’ll often be the highest regarded pro prospect every time he takes the court and if he continues playing like that, those opinions will be well-founded.
It will remain to be seen how much Kris is used as the backup 5, though, as Josh Ogundele & Riley Mulvey played a combined 17 minutes with much of it in garbage time. If neither one of those players emerge, Iowa may have to continue playing Kris as the stretch center. It’s an advantage offensively but could be limiting on defense if it forces him into precarious positions and potential foul trouble.
6’10” Dylan Robertson could be the guy who could take advantage of that lack of depth, as he’s a 60% shooter on his career.
About the Wildcats
Season averages, 2021-22: Team / Opponent
PPG: 63.4 / 69.5
RPG: 32.6 / 34.9
APG: 10.7 / 13.3
TOPG: 13.4 / 14.0
FG%: 41.6% / 44.8%
3P%: 33.6% / 32.7%
Reggie Theus, 2nd season at Bethune-Cookman, 9th in college (also the athletic director)
Record: 9-21 (.300) last year, 103-149 (.409) in college
PPG: Joe French 15.8; K.J. Davis 14.0
RPG: Davis 7.6 (2.3 Off); Dylan Robertson 6.1 (1.6 Off)
APG: Marcus Garrett 2.8; Demani McEntire 1.9
FG%: Robertson 57.8%; Davis 45.4%
3P%: French 44.1%; Davis 38.0%
Last 5 games:
2022 L - @ Florida A&M, 84-73
2022 W - @ Grambling, 69-63
2022 W - @ Southern, 87-84 (OT)
2022 L - v. Alabama State, 89-78
2022 L - v. Alabama A&M, 62-60
2023 KenPom: ($)
AdjEfficiency: -11.58 (306)
AdjOffense: 93.3 (299)
AdjDefense: 104.8 (306)
AdjTempo: 71.1 (222)
AdjEfficiency: -16.68 (333)
AdjOffense: 93.1 (335)
AdjDefense: 109.8 (300)
AdjTempo: 65.8 (251)
Bart Torvik: 310
Evan Miyakawa: 314
How to Watch
Date: Monday, November 7th
Time: 6:00 pm CT
Opponent: Bethune-Cookman Wildcats (0-0, 0-0); Daytona Beach, FL; Southwest Athletic Conference
Location: Carver-Hawkeye Arena - Iowa City, IA
Radio: Hawkeye Sports Network
TV: ESPNU (John Schifferan & Robbie Hummel)