MBB: Hawkeyes ready to Kick Out the Jams vs. Xavier
By Justin VanLaere
Iowa takes on Xavier down in the U.S. Virgin Islands in the first round of the Paradise Jam.
Xavier Musketeers (2-0, 0-0) vs Iowa Hawkeyes (1-1, 0-0)
POMEROY RATINGS: Iowa – 104, XU – 47
RPI: Iowa – 222, XU – 40
Tip Off: Friday, November 19, 2010; 7:35 PM CST
St. Thomas, USVI – Sports and Fitness Center (3,000)
TV: Online Link HERE • RADIO: AM-600, AM-800, AM-1040
Iowa leads the series 1-0
PG – Cully Payne, 6’1”, 190 lb, SO
G/F – Eric May, 6’5”, 225 lb, SO
F – Zach McCabe, 6’7”, 225 lb, FR
F – Melsahn Basabe, 6’7”, 225 lb, FR
C – Jarryd Cole, 6’7”, 250 lb, SR
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G – Mark Lyons, 6’1”, 195 lb, SO
G – Dante Jackson, 6’5”, 195 lb, SR
G – Tu Holloway, 6’0”, 185 lb, JR
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F – Jeff Robinson, 6’9”, 220 lb, SO
F – Kenny Frease, 7’0”, 270 lb, JR
The nightcap and final game in the first round of the Paradise Jam will matchup two teams who are struggling in the early part of the season. Iowa lost its season opener to South Dakota State and beat a severely undermanned ULM team the next time out. Xavier, on the other hand, lost to DII Bellarmine in an exhibition game. They also looked very underwhelming in their first two regular season games versus Western Michigan and IPFW.
The Musketeers were predicted to compete for the A10 title this season, but they’ve taken several blows to their roster. Brad Redford, the team’s best shooter, is out for the season with an ACL injury. Jamel McLean has been slowed by an injury to his eye. Freshman Justin Martin was ruled a partial qualifier by the NCAA, so he is missing games. On top of that Xavier is trying to find a way to replace Jordan Crawford, who was drafted in the first round of the NBA Draft. They also lost Jason Love, a post who averaged nearly a double-double last year, to graduation.
Xavier will come into the contest with a three guard attack headed up by Tu Holloway, who has been absolutely lights out in the first two games. As good as Holloway has been put the ball through the hoop, Mark Lyons has been that bad. Lyons can’t seem to find his shot and is hitting 18.5% of his shots (12.5% from behind the arc). Again, like most games this year, expect Eric May to get the appointment of the opposing team’s best guard. He had better be prepared for Holloway’s quickness. Iowa’s bigs had also better be ready, too. Xavier might be young in the frontcourt, but they have talent.
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Matt Gatens obviously traveled with the team and Coach McCaffery said that it would be likely that the junior will play. How much he plays will certainly be affected by how well he can play with a soft cast on his left hand. If Matt can log some good minutes, it could spark this team.
The three freshmen for Iowa were expected to contribute heavily this season, and through two games they have done just that. In regards to minutes played, two of the top three players in minutes played this year for Iowa are freshman (Zach McCabe and Melsahn Basabe). Devyn Marble leads the team in FG% (min. 10 FGA) and is 4th in points scored. McCabe is 2nd in scoring and 2nd in rebounding on the team and has the team’s highest 3 pt % (min 5 treys attempted) at 42.9%. Basabe leads the team in rebounds and blocked shots, but also leads the team in turnovers.
KEYS TO GAME FOR IOWA:
– Stop turning the ball over. Iowa is in the bottom 10% in the nation in holding onto the ball. Iowa’s assist to turnover ratio on the season is 27:40. That, folks, is just downright ugly. Not only is it ugly, it won’t win many games. Of those 27 assists, Cully Payne owns almost half of them with 13 on the year.
– Get points early. Iowa needs to score more than 29 points in the first half. They’ve done that in back to back games to start the season. 29 points in one half is not going to win many ballgames for this Iowa squad.
PREDICTION: The Hawkeyes will hang around Xavier. They will likely lead at different points of the game. I’m worried about how effective Gatens will be if he does make it into the game. Neither Xavier nor Iowa look like world beaters at this point in the season. This game is a toss up for me. Young teams are so unpredictable, especially in the beginning part of the season. I predicted Iowa to beat Xavier in the preseason, so I guess I’ll go that way. FINAL SCORE: Iowa 71, Xavier 70
NOTE: If Iowa wins the game, they play Seton Hall on Sunday. If Iowa loses, they will play Alabama on Saturday.