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Franimal Planet: Iowa vs. South Dakota

I wish this was a football game so that I could make a "Maybe they should rush more" joke.

South Dakota (4-4) at Iowa (6-2)

Date: December 4, 2012
Time: 7:05pm CT
Location: Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, IA
Television: none; online streaming via All-Access
Line: Iowa -19.5

Welcome to Eric May Bobblehead Day: The first 1500 fans to attend tonight's game get a figurine of the senior forward. Deal with that reality accordingly.

As for the game itself, don't let South Dakota's 4-4 record fool you. The Coyotes have two wins over NAIA opposition, with their two Division I wins coming against IUPUI (Kenpom #277) and North Carolina Central (#239). South Dakota is ranked #286 by Ken Pomeroy, and that's a drastic improvement over their earlier standing. They were 10-18 last season, and lost their starting backcourt to graduation. The Coyotes are led by guard Juevol Myles (15.8 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 4.5 apg), who transferred to South Dakota from Kansas State and has a first name that will destroy Gary Dolphin. Center Trevor Gruis (11.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg) has the size to give Iowa's interior players a problem, but hasn't been much of a shot blocker.

Gruis' lack of inside defensive presence shows in the team statistics. The Coyotes have decent offensive numbers, with an effective field goal percentage over 50%, with high marks on turnover percentages and free throw percentage. Their defense has been the problem, though, with one of the nation's worst defensive efficiency numbers and relative ineffectiveness in causing turnovers and blocking shots. Opponents are shooting 53.3% against South Dakota inside the three-point arc, 305th in the country. South Dakota plays at a relatively high pace and goes eight-deep on the rotation, with minutes spread relatively evenly between those players, and will mix up man and zone on defense.

The best news: This should be the last game this season that isn't on television. The Hawkeyes play Iowa State and UNI at the Big Four Classic in the next two weeks, and the last two cupcakes on the schedule -- South Carolina State and Coppin State -- manage to make BTN's lineup.