LAST SEASON: 10-22 Overall, 4-14 Big Ten
COACH: Fran McCaffery (1st year at Iowa, 251-177 Overall)
WHO’S BACK: Jarryd Cole, Matt Gatens, Cully Payne, Eric May
WHO’S GONE: Aaron Fuller, Anthony Tucker, Devan Bawinkel
WHO’S THE NEW GUY(S)? Devon Archie, Zach McCabe, Roy Devyn Marble, Bryce Cartwright
NON-CONFERENCE GAMES THAT CAN MAKE A STATEMENT: The Hawkeyes Athletic Director put together a nice non-conferenece schedule, including a trip to St. Thomas to play Xavier and Alabama or Seton Hall. That trip is followed up by a matchup with Wake Forest in the ACC-Big 10 Challenge. A win in any of those games would be a huge victory for the program. Finally, Iowa faces in-state foes Iowa St., Northern Iowa, and Drake. Winning 2 of those 3 matchups would be a success for first year coach Fran McCaffery as he looks to rebuild the program.
NON-CONFERENCE GAMES THAT SHOULD BE VICTORIES: Although Fran McCaffery lost his first game to South Dakota St., the Hawkeyes should be able to put away the rest of their opponents (LA-Monroe, SIU-Edwardsville, Idaho St., Louisiana Tech). A slip-up in any of these games could have the Hawkeyes looking at a single digit win total.
YOU SHOULD TRUST THE HAWKEYES TO: Be more exciting than last year. Fran McCaffery is bring his up-tempo style from Siena, and Todd Lickliter’s ’30 Seconds and Bomb a Three’ offense has been given a severance check. Look to play the Over early on before Vegas catches on to their new style.
YOU SHOULD NOT TRUST THE HAWKEYES TO: Make a postseason tournament, unless they take the team to a Gus Macker 3-on-3 in Des Moines. The Hawkeyes simply do not have the talent at this point to compete in a loaded Big 10.
FUN FACT: New coach Fran McCaffery was nicknamed “White Magic” as a collegiate point guard for Penn. So Fran had an AND1 Streetball nickname before they were even in vogue.
UPSIDE: 15 wins, a major upset at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, and an invitation to the CBI Tournament field.
DOWNSIDE: Less than 10 wins overall, no road wins in Big 10 play, and a player getting charged with sexual assualt only to have the coach back him up and then he assualts another girl…Oh wait, Steve Alford is not the head coach anymore, nevermind that last part.
CONNER ANDERSON’S PREDICTION: Iowa is looking to develop their young players this year, and their recruits are not good enough yet to produce a winning season. Fran McCaffery is a proven winner, but this reclamation project is going to take a couple years. I’m predicting the Hawkeyes to finish last in the Big Ten, and win around 10 games total.