Exhibition games with DII teams are rarely interesting. But Iowa's game with Augustana tonight could be. In fact, Iowa coach Fran McCaffery is hoping it is -- that's why he wanted the Vikings to come to Iowa City, as he explained in his press conference earlier this week.
Q. Fran, when you look at the Division II schools that you want to come in and work on some things against, it doesn't appear to be that kind of team that is just going to let you work, I guess. They're a pretty good team. What are your thoughts about facing a team like this?
FRAN McCAFFERY: I think there's two ways to look at exhibition games. You can look at it, where you're playing somebody that you know you're going to beat and play everybody and work on some things, and you can play somebody who won 31 games who's experienced and has really talented players and they're going to challenge you in a different way.
So clearly that's what this game is.
We have arguably the toughest schedule we've played in a long time, so this, I think, would better prepare us for what we're going to face in the ensuing weeks and not a game that we're just going to rotate everybody in and not really see where our deficiencies are and how good we can be.
Q. Was that strategy for this game?
FRAN McCAFFERY: Yeah.
Augustana is a Division II team, yes, but they're a very, very good Division II team -- they're the preseason #1 team in DII and won 31 games and earned a #1 seed in the DII NCAA Tournament (where they were upset in the Sweet 16)... and they return all five starters from that team, including big man Daniel Jansen, a former AAU teammate of Adam Woodbury and Mike Gesell who averaged 19.7 points and 7.1 rebounds per game last year.
Augustana might just be the best team (other than Florida State) that Iowa will play in Carver-Hawkeye Arena during the non-conference portion of the schedule this year. That says a fair amount about how underwhelming the other teams visiting CHA are, yes, but give Augustana some props -- they're not a pushover Iowa's bringing in so that the guys at the end of the bench can get some minutes. Fran's bringing them in specifically to push Iowa and there's every reason to think they'll do that (at least for a while). Iowa should have superior talent overall and better depth, but Augustana's certainly good enough to make Iowa earn a win tonight.
This game might also just be very fun to watch if you like fast-paced, high-scoring basketball -- Augustana averaged almost 87 ppg last year (on 50% field goal shooting) and they already posted 97 in an exhibition game earlier this year (a 97-78 win over Bethel). They can run and they can score, so Iowa better be ready.
The game tips off at 7:05 PM CT, with online streaming coverage provided by BTN Plus (that's the for-pay streaming service, not the free one).
The usual rules apply: no links to illegal online streams, no porn, no politics, no religion, no slurs, etc. I'll try to provide updates about the game in the comments below.