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Iowa Basketball: Previewing Round 2 of the NIT as Iowa Takes on TCU

Taking a look at the second round NIT matchup between Iowa and TCU.

TCU (20-15, 6-12) at Iowa 19-14 (10-8)

Date & Time: March 19th, 4:01 p.m. CT

Location: Carver Hawkeye Arena (Iowa City, IA)

TV: ESPN2

Quick Notes

- Iowa defeated South Dakota in the 1st round of the NIT, while TCU beat Fresno State.

- Iowa is 2-0 all-time against TCU, notching two wins in the late 1940's.

- Tyler Cook is shooting 65% from the field in his last 5 games.

- Iowa is the first Big Ten opponent TCU will face in nearly five years. Last faced Northwestern back on November 23rd, 2012. They lost that game 55-31.

- The only game TCU has ever won in the state of Iowa came back in 1982 when they beat Iowa State 74-66. 

- TCU's 20 wins are the most since the 2004-05 season. 

- TCU ranks second in the Big 12 and 22nd in the NCAA in assists per game (16.4).

- Over a span of the last five games Iowa is averaging over 11 3-point makes per game.

- Fran McCaffery's 137 victories at the University of Iowa rank second behind Tom Davis' 152 for a coach over the course of his first 7 seasons.

- Fran McCaffery is 5-3 all-time in NIT games and 4-0 at Iowa in NIT home games.

- Cordell Pemsl, Jordan Bohannon, Tyler Cook, and Isaiah Moss account for nearly 45% of Iowa's offense this year. They are all freshmen, three true and one redshirt.

- Four Hawkeyes are averaging double figures in the last five games with Jordan Bohannon's 17.8 leading the way.

Iowa Starters

Jordan Bohannon (FR): Bohannon notched his second straight double-double in the NIT opening round win over South Dakota. He had 19 points, 11 assists, and just one turnover in 37 minutes and got my vote for game ball after the W. He's taken some shots that he should play more off the ball - and he did last night - but Jordan is really rounding into a dual-threat PG, one that can score and assist with relative ease.

Isaiah Moss (RSFR): You could tell it was going to be an Isaiah Moss night from the jump. First off, he played the first 7 minutes of the game. That hardly every happens. For instance, he only played 11 minutes in the win over Penn State in Iowa City and there have been a few occasions in which he's played single digit minutes for the game. He came up huge late in the first half with three 3-pointers on his way to 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting.

Peter Jok (SR): He was as good as you could've asked in 27 minutes last night. He battled foul trouble, but still managed 20 points on 7-of-14 shooting. He also hauled in 6 rebounds. He took good shots, defended well, and was about as solid as you could ask for. A lot of times veteran players like Jok can get caught looking towards the future being in the NIT, but he was locked in on Wednesday night.

Ahmad Wagner (SO): There was a point in the 2nd half when Wagner really stuck out to me. He chased down two offensive rebounds that weren't anywhere close to him and the result was a Tyler Cook dunk. Little plays like that demoralize opponents. He had 6 points on 3-of-3 shooting and hauled in 7 total rebounds. He was another role guy that was just spectacular.

Tyler Cook (FR): We're finally seeing Tyler Cook round into form over the last couple of weeks. He started it against Maryland, notching his first double-double of his Hawkeye career. Then two games later he notched another one. He's flirted with them in the other three games since the Maryland win as well. He continued with an 18 point (8-of-8 shooting) 8 rebound night. It was apparent from the get go that USD didn't have anyone that could stop him and they tried to counteract that with double teams.

Iowa Bench

Nicholas Baer (RSSO): Just a couple of points in a foul trouble ridden game for Baer on Wednesday night as he has really cooled off since his streak of about 4 or 5 games where he couldn't seem to miss. He played just 13 minutes and I'd expect him to breakout of this little slump soon. Wednesday was better than the Big Ten Tournament performance from Baer, so we'll wait and see on Sunday night.

Cordell Pemsl (FR): Pemsl had 4 points and 4 rebounds in 16 minutes last night. They were good minutes outside of the 3 turnovers and 3 missed free throws. Craig Smith cited that Iowa gave them the most trouble when both Cook and Pemsl were in the game because of their physicality levels.

Brady Ellingson (RSSO): 0-of-4 from the field in 10 minutes of action for Brady on Wednesday. He struggled with the shot, but some were right on and he just couldn't get them to go. Safe to say if he's not making shots, he won't see much playing time.

Christian Williams (SO): Williams and Bohannon were on the floor together quite a bit on Wednesday. Bohannon played off the ball a bit when Jok was in foul trouble and it seemed to work okay, nothing too spectacular came from it. He had an assist and a turnover in 8 minutes of playing time.

Dom Uhl (JR): He had a couple of assists in 10 minutes on Wednesday as his scoring drought has now reached 7 games.

Ryan Kriener (FR): Kriener had a nice jump shot on Wednesday night for his only two points in four minutes. If Ryan can find his way into consistent playing time in a crowded front-court he could be a dangerous piece. 

TCU Starters

Jaylen Fisher (FR): Fisher was a Scout Top 100 guy a year ago and has had a productive freshman year for the Horned Frogs. He's fourth on the team in scoring, averaging around 10 points per contest, and is second in the team in assists, averaging 4 per game. He even shoots a respectable 38% from 3-point land averaging 30 minutes per game. He had 9 points and 5 turnovers (averages almost 3 turnovers per game) in their win over Fresno State.

Kenrich Williams (JR): Williams is one of four guys that average double figures in scoring on the team, he comes in third on the squad averaging just a hair over 10 points per. He's the team's leading rebounder, gathering over 9 per ball game (good for 2nd in the Big 12). He's also shown the ability to distribute and make shots considering he shoots 49% from the field for the year. If he has to go to the charity stripe he'll likely struggle - he shoots 58% at the line.

Alex Robinson (SO): Robinson is the teams leader in assists, averaging almost 6 per contest and comes in second on the team averaging just over 11 points per game. The transfer from Texas A&M has been productive in his first season as a Horned Frog and is a big reason they have won 20 games. He had 14 points, 5 assists, and 5 rebounds in their win over Fresno State on Wednesday.

JD Miller (SO): Miller is averaging just over 7 points per game in his Sophomore season for Jamie Dixon and crew, but often finds himself sharing minutes with capable bench players. He averages just a hair over 18 minutes per game and totaled 6 points and 4 rebounds in 15 minutes against Fresno State. He was also just 1-of-8 from the field in that game (he's shooting just 42% from the field this season).

Vladimir Brodziansky (JR): Brodziansky is the team's leading scorer, averaging almost 14 points per game and is efficient in his time on the court. The 6'11" big man shoots 56% from the field, 38% from three, and 78% from the free throw line, making him one of Dixon's best players. He had just five points against Fresno State, but had scored in double digits in the six games prior. He was also named to the Big 12's All-Defense team (79 total blocks on the season).

Keys to an Iowa Victory

Don't Force

This is a TCU team that will give up open looks. They ranked near the bottom in the Big 12 this year in both field goal percentage defense (9th) and three point field goal percentage defense (8th), so the Hawkeyes will be able to get their open looks when they want them. Iowa plays at a quick pace and likes to get shots up early in the shot clock, but they can't settle for bad shots when they can run some offense, break down the TCU defense, and find a better look. With a great scorer like Peter Jok on your team, along with guys like Jordan Bohannon and Isaiah Moss, you should be able to get a good look at the hoop every trip down if you're the Hawkeyes. They might struggle in the paint with TCU big man, Vladimir Brodziansky, who averaging over 2 blocks per game, but open looks will still be there for Fran McCaffery's bunch.

Lead at the Break

TCU has proven to be a very tough opponent to beat when they take a lead into the locker room. They are 17-2 when leading at halftime and their only losses have come against Baylor and West Virginia, who have been two top 25 teams throughout the entire season. Jamie Dixon has this team playing the best basketball that it's played in quite some time considering Dixon coached this team to 6 conference wins this season. For TCU, that is quite the accomplishment considering in the three season's before Dixon's arrival they had totaled 6 conference wins combined. They have good wins over Illinois State, Iowa State, Kansas State, and Kansas on the season so they've shown that they can really play, unlike past seasons. Dixon has won the most games of any coach in his first year at the program.

Neutralize Brodziansky

He hasn't racked up any double-doubles since late January, but he's still been a handful for opponents. He was tough on a smaller Iowa State team earlier in the year, totaling 25 points and 14 rebounds in a TCU win and gives the Horned Frogs a rim protector that every team would love to have. He, like any other big man, can sometimes be hampered by foul trouble, but if he isn't he's really capable of putting up big numbers. The Hawkeyes don't have a traditional big man in a sense, but their smaller, more active forwards could create problems with foul trouble for Bordziansky. If the Hawkeyes have plans of getting to the bucket, they need to work Brodziansky into a bit of foul trouble. Their forwards have played well recently and running up against a tough shot blocker like him can be deflating if things don't go well. 

Predictions

TCU is a solid team that played in one of the best basketball conferences in the country this season. They have nice wins over Iowa State, Kansas (BIg 12 Tournament), and Kansas State in the conference. I really like their guards, depth, and balance and believe that Kenrich Williams can create matchup problems for a lot of teams. That being said, right now I like Iowa's guards, depth, and balance more. They did beat Kansas - but it was without one of the best freshman in the land in Josh Jackson - and have played other top tier teams close. Iowa at home has been tough this year and I expect more of the same on Sunday afternoon

Iowa 77 TCU 71


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