Welcome to The Sports Bank’s second annual college basketball season preview series. Last year we looked at 99 teams in 99 days. This year, we are being slightly more aggressive and expanding to 111 teams in 111 days. We will rank the 74 power conference teams and top 37 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order. We’ll break down rosters, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.
Not that long ago, the Iowa Hawkeyes were a consistently competitive Big Ten foe only missing out on the NCAA Tournament twice between 1991-2006. The past four years, the Hawkeyes have been consistent in a different way; consistently pathetic finishing no higher than eighth in the conference. That is unlikely to change this season.
Last Season: 10th, 4-14 in Big Ten, 10-22 overall
Predicted Big Ten Finish: 10th
Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Andrew Brommer (Jr)/Devon Archie (Sr)/Gabe Olaseni (Fr)
F: Melsahn Basabe (So)/Zach McCabe (So)/Aaron White (Fr)
G: Matt Gatens (Sr)/Roy Marble (So)
G: Eric May (Jr)/Josh Oglesby (Fr)
PG: Bryce Cartwright (Sr)/Jordan Stoermer (So)
Gone: F/C-Jarryd Cole, PG-Cully Payne (transfer-Loyola)
Fran McCaffery’s first year as Iowa head coach was expected to be a difficult one; and that was certainly the case. Even though they return seven of their top eight contributors from a year ago, Iowa is again going to finish in the lower tier of the Big Ten.
The most encouraging part of last season was the play of All-Big Ten Freshman Melsahn Basabe. Despite being undersized at 6-7, he provided the Hawkeyes with a legit post scorer averaging 11 points per game in just 24.5 minutes. Andrew Brommer, Zach McCabe, and Devon Archie will try to fill the void left behind by starter Jarryd Cole while freshmen Gabe Olaseni and Aaron White also try to earn minutes. Once again though, Iowa will be at a disadvantage since they do not have a true big man on their roster.
The emergence of Bryce Cartwright at the point was critical since Cully Payne was missed almost all of last season due to injury. With Payne deciding to transfer, Cartwright is the only true point guard on the roster and will shoulder the load in running the offense.
Leading scorer Matt Gatens and Eric May return to their starting spots on the wing. Both guys are capable shooters but lack a great deal of athleticism. Roy Marble helps make up for that off the bench and will once again be a key reserve. Freshman Josh Oglesby adds more shooting off the bench while Aaron White could earn playing time due to his scrappy play.
26-year old former convicted felon and JUCO transfer Anthony Hubbard was supposed to add more depth on the wing, but decided not to come to Iowa in hopes of landing somewhere closer to his home state of Virginia.
Since they are certainly one of the least skilled teams in the Big Ten, the Hawkeyes will have to rely on their system and defensive effort to keep them in games. Until McCaffery is able to land some higher rated recruits, Iowa will continue to struggle against their conference counterparts.
Player to Watch: Melsahn Basabe
Basabe gained some valuable experience this summer by trying out for the U.S. U-19 team. Even though he did not make the final roster, he should benefit from practicing against talented players. Iowa will need him to build off his solid freshman if they hope to win more than six Big Ten games, something they have not accomplished since the 2006-2007 season.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/20 vs. Creighton
11/29 vs. Clemson (Big Ten/ACC Challenge)
12/6 at Northern Iowa
12/9 at Iowa State
12/17 vs. Drake
OTHER 111 IN 111′S:
#95 Ole Miss Rebels
#96 Nebraka Cornhuskers
#97 Oklahoma Sooners
#98 South Florida Bulls
#99 LSU Tigers
#100 Colorado Buffaloes
#101 DePaul Blue Demons
#102 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
#103 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#104 Seton Hall Pirates
#105 Providence Friars
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 South Carolina Gamecocks
#108 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#109 Penn State Nittany Lions
#110 Boston College Eagles
#111 Utah Utes
David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft on the web.
You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.