- Last year's stars Luke Recker [playing in the NDBL] and Reggie Evans [Portland-NBA] are long gone...
- This year's team has 7 players averaging 7.1 points per game.
- They play a "suffocating" defense, allowing only 60.5 ppg [4th in the Big 10]
- With the Bowl trip, Basketball isn't the only sport getting a lot of attention in Iowa City...
- and ignoring the preseason predictions, the Iowa Hawkeyes expect to win the Big 10
We know what we have to do this year," Senior Guard Chauncey Leslie [IA Photo-right] said [in Hawkcentral]. "Last year, we got patted on our backs going into the Big Ten. Hearing we were the best team in the Big Ten went to our heads."
There is a new "workman" attitude on the Hawkeye team, at least according to the coach:
"I think it's the guys that are playing; they just do their job, and they do the job that's expected of them," said Iowa coach Steve Alford [in HawkCentral]. And if that happens, it's not really about somebody having to play better than what they have (before), it's just doing your job."NU Coach Bill Carmody [on the Big 10 Teleconference Monday] also recognizes the strengths of the team from Iowa City:
Steve's assembled a nice team team with great balance. [IU Guard Chauncey] Leslie's a little higher, but after that you have about five guys [scoring] between 8 and 11 points ... you never know who will hurt you.But you can't ignore history - last January 19th NU shut down the Hawkeyes at Welsh Ryan - they shot only 30.8% from the floor and under 19% from the arc.
Its much different, and ... its harder - a tougher team to prepare for.
It's not easy starting (the Big Ten season) on the road,and particularly at place where you haven't played well in the last two years. [Steve Alford - Hawk Central]The big problem, according to Alford, is that the Hawks have come down and shot the ball to quickly. Tonight look for a more patient offense from the Hawkeyes as they try to get the ball inside on the Wildcats.
They'll couple that with a more determined defense - trying to get the Cats out of their patient offense and get their own transition game going.
Iowa Head Coach Steve Alford was supposed to eventually return to Indiana, where he was both "Mr Basketball" in the Hoosier state, and a 4 year, 120 game starter for Bobby Knight.The Starters
But after four years in the NBA, then four years at Manchester College and then 4 years at SW Missouri State, he was selected as the head coach of the Iowa Hawkeyes, and when Knight was ousted at Indiana, chose to remain in Iowa. He's in his fourth year at the helm of the Hawkeyes,
He boasts a 63% winning average for his 11 year head coaching career [212-121] and he has a .560 average with the Hawks [56-44]. His Big 10 Tournament record of 8-2 is the best among all active coaches.
To his credit, he's taken Iowa to two post season tournaments, turning the program around and luring Luke Recker back to the Big 10, but the Hawks have never finished higher than 6th in the Big 10, and have had 3 consecutive losing seasons in the conference during his tenure. They did win the Big 10 Tournament his 2nd year.
His teams tend to play an up-tempo offensive style of basketball. In the pregame stories, his players are talking about being more deliberate on offense - working the ball in, not rushing and taking the best shot.
He has also graduated all but 2 of his players during his time at Iowa.
- Forwards: Jr Glen Worley [#4 6-7/11.8 ppg - right] and Fr Greg Brunner [#44 6-7/9.7]
- Center: Jr Jared Reiner [#5 6-11/8.4]
- Guards: Sr. Chauncey Leslie [#1 6-0/17.5] and Fr Jeff Homer [#2 6-3/9.7]
This lineup has started all 11 games for the Hawks. The Forwards, Worley and Brunner average about 27 minutes a game, Reiner averages 28.5 and the two guards Leslie and Homer average 36 minutes.The Big Guns
Chauncey Leslie is the top scorer with 17.6 ppg, [194 total]. A Junior College transfer [which is why he's only a 1 time letterman], he hits slightly better than 54% from the field and 77% from the line. He's third in 3 pointers attempted, but shoots under 27% from the arc. He had 19 points in his last game.The Rest of the Hawkeyes
Off the Boards: 6-11 Center Jared Reiner [right] with 8.8 per game. He's tough on the defensive end - 68 of his 97 boards were there. Add in his 8.5 points a game, and his .810 freethrow shooting [he doesn't shoot 3s] and you've got an effective force in the middle. The "man from Tripp" will be a good test of NU's Centers, Aaron Jennings, and Davor Duvancic
Beyond the Arc: 6-7 Junior Glen Worley has the best percentage among the starters [.417], but former "Mr. Iowa Basketball" Freshman PG Jeff Homer [left] has scored the most [21 of 59] from outside the circle. Guard Brody Boyd is 2nd on the team in 3s with 17 of 61.
There are only 5 players left after the starters this year for Iowa. The top two off the bench are:
5-11 Jr Guard Brody Boyd [#11- 24 mins/8.3 ppg - right] and6-1 Senior Guard Josh Kimm [#00] has also seen limited action, playing in 7 games, averaging 8 minutes and 1 point per game.
6-9 Jr Center Sean Sonderleiter [#53 - 16 mins/7.1ppg].
The seven guys we're playing, all of them can score. It's not like a Luke-Reggie deal where you can sit on two guys. I don't think you can guard us saying, 'Hey, let's shut down Chauncey.' [Iowa Coach Steve Alford]This is a team that returns 2 starters and 5 lettermen from last year. We split the games in 2002, each winning at home.
The Last Word
Chauncie Leslie:Yes there is TV!
The sooner we can get a Big Ten road win the better. If you want to win in this league, you have to win on the road and Northwestern is a good place for us to start.Steve Alford:
If you don't bring it every night, you're going to get exposed.Expect the Hawks to "bring it" tonight in Welsh Ryan.
A whole bunch of stations in Iowa as listed by NU Sports
The Game is also on Radio: WGN 720 AM, and the internet at WGN.com. We'll be Chatting during the game using the Purple Reign Insider's Purple Chat Room.
Photos copyright University of Iowa