College Basketball Tuesday: Iowa continues to impress
In outscoring Ohio State 22-9 down the stretch to win by 10 points on the road (84-74), Iowa is beginning to resemble a team that could advance to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006.
The win over Ohio State cured some ills for the hard-luck Hawkeyes, who have been ranked in the Top 25 for eight straight weeks.
Already this year, there was an overtime loss against Villanova in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament and a 3-point overtime loss at Iowa State.
Last year, Iowa lost at Wisconsin in double overtime and suffered close home defeats against Michigan State and Indiana along with a three-point loss at Minnesota.
The Hawkeyes advanced to the NIT last year, where they lost to Baylor in the championship game.
Four starters return from that team, led by Big Ten Player of the Week Roy Devyn Marble, who totaled a game-high 22 points, four rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks against Ohio State.
“Coming into the season, I felt good,” said Fran McCaffery, who guided Siena to three consecutive NCAA appearances before taking over at Iowa in 2010. “Last year we were a young team. I felt like it was time for us to play like we did (against Ohio State). We maintained our composure. That was a big step for us.”draft outlook hurts seniors
The recent trend in the NBA Draft hasn't been favorable to seniors.
With teams emphasizing youth over experience, a total of 12 seniors have been selected as top-10 picks since 2000, which was the last year a senior was picked No. 1 overall (Cincinnati's Kenyon Martin).
Don't expect the trend to change, but a couple of talented seniors could make some noise in the top 10 of this year's draft.
Creighton forward Doug McDermott, who received preseason consideration for national player of the year honors, could have left early for the draft but remained in school, where he plays for his father, Greg McDermott.
And former Schenley standout DeAndre Kane has resurfaced at Iowa State, where he has played at a level to receive consideration for Big 12 player of the year.
During a recent interview, Kane alluded to why NBA teams should give more consideration to talented seniors at the top of the draft.
With his college career nearing an end, Kane said veterans such as himself and McDermott play with a different focus than one-and-done players focused on playing in the NBA.
“My senior year, I wanted to make a tournament run,” Kane said. “That's what you play Division I basketball for, to try to cut those nets down at the end of the year.”