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Franimal Planet: Iowa vs. Howard Preview

Maybe they're here for some greater purpose, some cosmic cause.

Iowa (2-0) vs. Howard (0-1)

Date: November 15, 2012
Time: 7:00 pm CT
Location: Carver-Hawkeye Arena
Television: BTN2Go, Mediacom Connections
Line: No line as of Wednesday night

Iowa's string of grueling non-conference games continues Thursday night, as the Hawkeyes welcome the Howard Bison to Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Howard is 0-1 on the season, with a six-point loss Saturday to Division II Lincoln, a team that was picked to finish fifth in the CIAA. The Bison are predicted to finish eleventh in the thirteen-team MEAC by Basketball Prospectus, and are currently 298th in Kenpom. While the majority of the MEAC plays up-tempo, fire-at-will basketball, Howard is a relatively standard-tempo program: They were right at the national average for tempo in 2011-12.

Howard is turnover-prone and terrible from the field (College Basketball Prospectus opens the Howard section by describing it as "a team full of bad shooters"). Last season, the Bison ranked in the nation's bottom ten teams in both turnover percentage (25.2%) and effective field goal percentage (42.4%). On top of that, their best player from 2011-12, guard Glenn Andrews, graduated. In the season opener, Howard got 21 points from 6'3" senior guard Calvin Thompson, 13 points and seven rebounds from 6'7" senior forward Mike Phillips, and 14 points from 6'2" guard Anton Dickerson.

What could be most interesting about this game will actually come in Howard's next game, when the Bison travel to Wichita to face the Shockers. Iowa's likely to see Wichita State at next week's Cancun Challenge -- Iowa plays Western Kentucky, WSU plays DePaul, and the winners and losers play each other the next day -- so the teams' respective performances against Howard could give us an idea of Iowa's chances over Thanksgiving. As for tonight, there shouldn't be much to see here.