MBB: Iowa vs. Northern Illinois Preview/Prediction
By Justin VanLaere
To say this is one of the easiest non-conference schedules I have seen in a long, long time is an understatement (Iowa’s SOS is right around 330th in the nation). I’m not ripping on it, though. This is exactly what this Iowa program needs right now. They need to build a solid foundation before they go out attacking the Goliaths of the college basketball world. In Iowa’s upcoming game vs. Northern Illinois, the Huskies find themselves in the role of David.
Northern Illinois Huskies (0-2) vs Iowa Hawkeyes (2-0)
POMEROY RATINGS: Iowa – 67, NIU – 330
RPI: Iowa – 80, NIU – 300
Tip Off: Thursday, November 17th 2011; 7:05 PM CST
Iowa City, IA – Carver-Hawkeye Arena (15,500)
TV: None. video.BTN.com only.
Radio: AM 600, 1040, and 800. SirusXm Channel 128.
Iowa has never lost to the Huskies in 5 meetings.
LINE: Iowa is a 23 point favorite. Pomeroy predicts a 24 point win for Iowa.
Tickets are $12 for adults and $5 for UI students and youths. Fans can also take advantage of a “Family Four” pack tonight. Purchase four tickets (two adult, two youth), four hot dogs, and four cokes for $40.
PG – Bryce Cartwright, 6’1”, 188 lb, SR
G – Matt Gatens, 6’5”, 212 lb, SR
G – Eric May, 6’5”, 217 lb, JR
F – Melsahn Basabe, 6’7”, 225 lb, SO
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C – Devon Archie, 6’9”, 222 lb, SR
G – Antone Christian, 6’2”, 195 lb, SO
G – Marquavese Ford, 6’1”, 170 lb, FR
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G/F – Aksel Bolin, 6’7”, 200 lb, SO
F – Tim Toler, 6’7”, 275 lb, SR
F – Abdel Nader, 6’7”, 210 lb, FR
Northern Illinois starts anew this season under former Michigan State player and assistant coach, Mark Montgomery. The Huskies are young team… a VERY young team. They are returning just 20% of their offense, and just over 30% of their defense from last year’s 9-21 team. They lost two of their best players in Xavier Silas and Jeremy Landers. Tim Toler stands as the Huskies’ leading returning scorer and rebounder.
To show just how much youth is on this team, let me offer up these stats.
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- Toler is the only player on the squad that has over 300 career points. In fact, if you total the career points of the entire Northern Illinois team, they have less points than Matt Gatens himself.
- No one on the roster has more than 50 career assists. (By comparison, Bryce Cartwright had 182 last season)
- Only two players on the roster have over 100 career rebounds.
- No one on the team has over 20 career steals or blocks.
- Freshmen have accounted for 55% of minutes played so far this season
- The starting lineup consists of 3 new members this season
So far the season hasn’t gone so well for Northern Illinois, they dropped a 60+ point loss to Purdue and followed that up with a loss to Milwaukee. They will be a hungry group of players, but will be outmatched by this Iowa squad.
KEYS TO GAME FOR IOWA:
– Do Work at the Line. Iowa is 24th in the nation in FT% at just under 80% as a team. That’s phenomenal, especially considering they are getting to line at a decent clip.
– Put on the Pressure. Northern Illinois, as I said before, is a very young team, and they play like it. Currently, they are one of the worst teams in the nation in turning the ball over. Over 1/3 of their possessions have resulted in a turnover. Iowa should reap a lot of rewards by dialing up their press. The Huskies don’t get themselves many extra possession on the D end either, so lost possessions on the O end will really affect their chances to stay in the game.
– Grab the D Rebounds. While the Huskies’ aren’t that great of a rebounding team, they do a decent job cleaning up the glass on the their own end. Having a near 300 lb forward, doesn’t hurt in the department either.
PREDICTION: Northern Illinois is 7-43 against B1G teams, their last win coming 12 years ago against Wisconsin. I don’t see this Huskies team bucking that trend tonight. At this point in the season, NIU is closer to Chicago State than N.C. A&T in regards to trouble they should give the Hawkeyes. When is the last time Iowa has scored 90+ in three consecutive games? We might need to research it after this game is over. FINAL SCORE: Iowa 97, Northern Illinois 64
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