Scouting Report: Hawkeye Invitational

La Salle returns to the Hawkeye Invitational with a possible match-up with Iowa. However, the Explorers need to get by the Coppin State Eagles. While Coach John Giannini would love to measure his young team against a Big 10 program they must not overlook the Eagles who have played a rigorous early season schedule.

Projected Starters: Coppin State (1-5)
22 Tywain McKee 6"2 JR. G
24 Augustine Woodlin 6"2 SR. G
10 Darryl Roberts 5"9 JR. G
44 Antwain Harrison 6"3 JR. F
40 Robert Pressey 6"7 JR. F

Projected Starters: Texas Pan – American (6-1)

5 Brian Burrell 6"3 JR. G
15 Dexter Shankle 6"0 JR. G
4 Paul Stoll 5"11 JR. G
23 Colin Lein 6"11 SR. C
45 Julius Allgood 6"6 JR. F

Projected Starters: Iowa (2-4)

1 Adam Huluska 6"5 SR. G
24 Justin Johnson 6"6 JR. G
52 Kurt Looby 6"10 JR. C
34 Tyler Smith 6"7 FR. F
44 Cyrus Tate 6"8 SO. F

The Explorers open up the tournament and face Coppin State. The Eagles have played a brutal early season schedule facing the likes of Missouri, Kansas State, and Virginia Tech. Their lone victory came against non-division one school Winston-Salem State. Picked to finish fourth in the MEAC, they are led by ex-John Bartram player, Tywain Mckee. McKee, a junior, is averaging over 18 points per game. He is the Eagles only player averaging double digit points and has scored double digits in 29 of the last 31 games. Coppin State is coming off a loss to Missouri. Robert Pressey is the leader in rebounding but the Eagles are considered a poor rebounding team. The Explorers should win the battle of the glass. Coppin State is coached Ron "Fang" Mitchell. He has made a living recruiting Philadelphia players including such players as Nicholas King, Stephen Stewart, and former La Salle transfer Terquin Mott. The Eagles shoot just 39% while allowing their opponents to shoot 48%. They also struggle at the line making just 60%.

The second game of the tournament pits the home team Iowa Hawkeyes against the Texas Pan –American Broncos. UTPA comes into the game 6-1 but don't be fooled by their record. All wins have come against lower level division one and non division one schools. They will have their hands full with the Hawkeyes on their home floor. Despite having 4 double digit scorers, the Hawkeyes are bigger, deeper, and just more skilled. Iowa is in the midst of a four game losing streak, not seen since the 2002-2003 season. They are very inexperienced relying on first and second year players. One player with plenty of experience is their star guard, Adam Huluska. Huluska turned an ankle in their loss last night to Virginia Tech. His status for the tournament is uncertain at this time. He is averaging 18.2PPG and can really shoot the ball. He is their sniper. Iowa has traveled over 7,000 miles over the past week and will be playing their third game in four days should the Explorers meet them on Saturday night.

Iowa could also be helped with the return of their returning point guard, Mike Henderson. Henderson has been sidelined with a broken hand and reports are he will try to play this weekend. How effective he will play remains to be seen. Iowa has sorely missed his experience at the point. If he is effective Iowa becomes a much better team automatically.

The Explorers have a chance to do some damage in this tournament. The Iowa team La Salle may face is very raw but talented. They can be beaten. La Salle is also raw and inexperienced which could help and hurt. Too young to know they shouldn't beat Iowa on their floor but perhaps too inexperienced to know how to do it. In any event, the Explorers will still have to play well to capture the title. Unlike previous years, Iowa will have to do the same. That should in itself make Explorer fans feel an upset is quite possible.

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