What to Know
The Omaha Mavericks will come to Iowa City tomorrow sporting a 3-4 overall record. They have losses to USC, Kansas State, Rice, and Eastern Michigan. Their head man, Derrin Hansen, is in his fifth year as head coach and will take a 61-70 overall record into the game on Saturday afternoon.
The Mavericks are ranked 168th in Ken Pomeroy's rankings, while the Hawkeyes come in at 75. They score the ball at a decent clip, averaging nearly 82 points per game. Much like the Hawkeyes, they score the ball, but do struggle on the defensive side.
They lost Devin Patterson and Jake White from last year's team. That duo combined for 35 points per game last year for the Mavericks.
They're going to start two seniors, two juniors, and a sophomore, so they have a nice mix in their starting lineup. They'll match up well with the Hawkeyes in terms of height and will go between 8 and 10 players deep.
This isn't a team that Iowa should be too worried about, but Iowa played Omaha a few years back and they gave them all they could handle. I was at that game and C.J. Carter led the way for the Mavericks with 22 points as Iowa defeated them by a final of 83-75. Fran McCaffery likely remembers that game and knows Iowa will get Omaha's best shot on Saturday afternoon.
Who to Know
The Mavericks have four players that average double figures and they all start. Tre'Shawn Thurman leads the way averaging 14 points and 8 rebounds per game. Cordell Pemsl will likely guard him in the post. Sophomore guard, Zach Jackson, averages 12 points per game to go along with five rebounds. Tra-Deon Hollins and Marcus Tyus each average around 11 points per game for Hansen's club. Hollins also averages around 6 assists per game.
Hollins is going to be the guy that runs the show tomorrow. He'll bring the ball up and does a decent job of distributing. However, he does turn it over quite a bit. He averages 4 turnovers per game this season. Tyus actually played in the game back in 2013 and is going to be the three point threat in the starting lineup. He shoots it at a 35% clip. Mitchell Hahn, a 6'8" sophomore, shoots it at 41% clip off the bench.
They have a fairly balanced attack after Patterson and White led the way last season. They clearly have a couple different guys that can score the ball and everybody gets their shots up. They have five players that average 6 or more shots per game. They Hawkeyes have just three.
Stats to Know
The Mavericks and Hawkeyes have more than a few things in common. They score the ball well and they haven't played much defense early on this season. The Mavericks are currently ranked 251st in turnovers per game turning it over 15 times a contest. The Hawkeyes find themselves in a very similar situations. Winning the turnover battle will be a key tomorrow.
Notre Dame went to the line 33 times on Tuesday. That needs to get cleaned up a bit for Iowa. The Mavericks are 17th in division one in free throw percentage, shooting it at 78%. Free throws were a big reason why Notre Dame won the game on Tuesday, so the Hawkeyes need to keep the Mavericks off the line.
This Omaha team can score. The Hawkeyes have had trouble defending. They currently give up 83 points per game, which ranks 328th in all division one. The problem for the Mavericks is the Hawkeyes can also score. They have one of the best scorers in the country. It is going to be a high scoring affair inside Carver Hawkeye Arena on Saturday afternoon.
Omaha may be able to score well, but they don't share it well. They rank 329th in assists per game, whereas the Hawkeyes rank 14th averaging 19 per game. The Hawkeyes will work the ball well to get the Maverick defense moving on their way to a win.
Could be a bit of a tough test early on, much like the game three years ago. But the Hawkeyes will wind up pulling this one out to snap their three game losing streak.
IOWA 89 OMAHA 77