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Iowa Hoops: North Dakota Stats & Preview

The Hawkeyes look to start the 2023-24 season strong

Syndication: The Montgomery Advertiser Jake Crandall/ Advertsier / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Iowa Hawkeyes (LY 19-14) basketball season kicks off tonight against Summit League foe, North Dakota (LY 13-20). This will be the Fighting Hawks’ 15th season as a D-1 outfit and have posted winning records just four times in that span. Their most recent season above .500 came in 2017 when they won the Big Sky double (they have since moved conferences) and made their first & only NCAA appearance.

The 2023-24 season looks very much like a rebuilding year as the Hawkeyes are a consensus bubble team looking in according to Bracket Matrix. Yes, it’s early to reference the NCAA Tournament but worth level-setting after losing another first round NBA draft pick and three highest minutes guys off of last year’s team.

Fran has done a nice job limiting attrition to the portal and returns three guys who began last season as starters. Tony Perkins, Payton Sanfort, and Patrick McCaffery have 99 combined starts to their name and backfill the loss of Filip Rebrača with transfer big man Ben Krikke. Dasonte Bowen gets first crack as point guard this season though Josh Dix and Brock Harding look like capable alternatives off the bench.

After taking a look at North Dakota’s states, I have some additional thoughts I have on tonight’s game below.


About the Fighting Hawks

2023 averages: Team / Opponent

PPG: 72.1 / 73.9
RPG: 33.4 / 35.2
APG: 11.9 / 11.0
TOPG: 11.5 / 10.9
FG%: 44.1% / 47.0%
3P%: 35.0% / 35.1%

Coach:

Paul Sather: 5th season at North Dakota, 5th overall
Record: 43-80 (.350)

Most likely starters & 2022-23 stats:

(List taken from exhibition box score; 2023 stats from North Dakota unless otherwise noted)

Indiana’s projected starting lineup

Pos - # Name Yr, Ht, Wt PPG RPG APG FG% 3P% MPG Misc.
Pos - # Name Yr, Ht, Wt PPG RPG APG FG% 3P% MPG Misc.
G - #0 Xavier Johnson R Sr+, 6'3", 200 lbs 8.2 2.2 2.1 0.411 0.35 24.1
G - #32 Trey Galloway Sr, 6'5", 205 lbs 10.5 2.3 3.8 0.467 0.284 32.8 1,1 steals/game; .500 FT%
F - #4 Anthony Walker Sr+, 6'8", 215 lbs 6.4 3.1 0.8 0.5 0.154 15.6
F - #21 Mackenzie Mgbako Fr, 6'8", 217 lbs 10.9 4.3 1.4 0.406 0.329 24.1 .855 FT%
F - #5 Malik Reneau So, 6'9", 233 lbs 16.7 6.2 2.9 0.578 0.406 30.1 2.8 turnovers/game, 2.7 fouls/game

Last 5 games:

L - v Oral Roberts, 96-86 (3/4)
W - v Denver, 83-68 (3/3)
W - v St. Thomas, 82-74 (2/25)
L - v Western Illinois, 81-70 (2/23)
W - at UMKC, 81-73 (2/18)

2024 KenPom ($):

AdjEfficiency: -6.71 (254)
AdjOffense: 98.8 (225)
AdjDefense: 105.5 (290)
AdjTempo: 71.1 (189)

2023:
AdjEfficiency: -8.54 (269)
AdjOffense: 103.0 (218)
AdjDefense: 111.5 (314)
AdjTempo: 67.1 (178)

NET: N/A

Bart Torvik: 268

Evan Miyakawa: 241


How do the starters look?

It’s a little bit of a funky starting lineup, with two combo-y guards in Dasonte Bowen & Tony Perkins, two small forwards in Payton Sandfort & Patrick McCaffery, and an undersized big in Ben Krikke. They started slow in their exhibition, as Quincy got a 16-6 lead, but eventually found their groove with four of the five scoring in double figures in the 106-76 win.

To me where it starts and ends for starters’ success is on the glass. Among starters only Krikke (7) and Bowen (!!! - 6) had more than 5 boards. I’m not sure that’s going to cut it and the Fighting Hawks’ frontline provides an opportunity in that area to show growth.

Just how much does Fran lean into the youth movement?

Coming into the season, this one resembles the 2016-17 outfit in some respects. While no freshman walked into the starting lineup like Tyler Cook did in that season, they all have clear roles they can play immediately and I love the fact they can all play together without stepping on classmates’ toes in the rotation. Payton Sandfort, for what it’s worth, serves as the Peter Jok stand-in for the 2017 comp.

Fran used the group (and Josh Dix) to get the team right in the exhibition, with Owen Freeman & Ladji Dembele adding heft the Hawks have missed down low for a few years. Brock Harding could very well be the next Jordan Bohannon with his range but added athleticism and carry-over chemistry from high school with Freeman. And Pryce Sandfort...the kid can fill it up.

I expect Fran to use the mass substitutions as a way to motivate the starters to playing how he wants and if the season shows signs of needing a true rebuild, he’ll allow them to step into the starting lineup as needed.