It’s a quick turnaround for Iowa in Monday’s NCAA tournament second-round game against Oregon.
The Hawkeyes’ opponent is well-rested.
Whether it makes a difference remains to be seen in the 11:10 a.m. (CT) game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Iowa, the 2 seed in the West Region, played Saturday night, picking up an 86-74 win over 15th-seeded Grand Canyon. Oregon, the 7 seed, was supposed to play VCU after the Hawkeyes played, but that game was declared a no-contest because of COVID-19 issues within VCU’s program.
That means the Ducks haven’t played for 10 days since the PAC-12 tournament, while Iowa has a short rebound-and-preparation time.
Iowa coach Fran McCaffery, though, isn’t sure anyone has an advantage.
“We’re pretty regimented,” he said Sunday. “It’s business as usual. We’ll have multiple meetings, we’ll have practice.
“The guys are pretty good in terms of their professionalism, locking into information. We’ve had one-day preps before, usually a two-day prep. A one-day prep is a little different, but they’re pretty good at processing information.”
If anything, the Iowa players said, they got to shake off the rust of being confined during their long stay in their hotel after playing in the Big Ten tournament.
“It’s just everything we signed up for,” guard Jordan Bohannon said. “We wanted to have a chance to make a deep run in this tournament. Tomorrow is another opportunity for us to do that. Like I said to you guys previously in this tournament, we put ourselves in a position to make a deep run. Oregon is another opponent in our way that’s an obstacle for us to get through.
“It took forever to get to this Saturday to play. So we were really excited to get out of the hotel and get to the gym. That’s definitely an advantage to anyone when they get outside the hotel to play a basketball game, to get ready for another important basketball game ahead.”
“I guarantee if you ask those guys, they wanted to play last night,” center Luka Garza said. “I don’t think there’s an advantage, either way. I think for us, we wanted to play, and we were excited to beat a great team like Grand Canyon. (Oregon will) be excited to play us.”
Oregon (20-6) won the PAC-12 regular-season title and reached the conference tournament semifinals before losing to Oregon State. All five starters average in double figures in scoring — forward Eugene Omoruyi and guard Chris Duarte each average 16.7 points to lead the Ducks — but Oregon’s roster has just three players who are 6-foot-8 or taller.
That could be an advantage for the 6-11 Garza.
“They do a great job of crowding the post, doubling when they get there,” Garza said. “Definitely I have a height advantage, so I’ll try to score inside. I’m just going to play my game, see where my advantages are in the moment, and be able to read and attack.”
It will be an early day for the Hawkeyes. But they’re still playing, and they want to keep going.
“It makes no difference to me,” McCaffery said. “We’re playing Oregon on Monday.”