One thing to note is the insane amount of home games. The only games they leave Carver are for the SP tourney and then two other IN-STATE games... they only leave the state once!! That's great news for the team and its fans. Great news.
Fri., Nov. 9 Idaho State Iowa City W
Wed, Nov. 14 Northern Colorado Iowa Ciy W
Sun., Nov. 18 #Florida Gulf Coast Iowa City t W
Tue., Nov. 20 #Maryland-Eastern Shore Iowa City W
Fri., Nov. 23 (Iowa vs. Bradley; Utah State vs. Vanderbilt) South Padre W
Sat., Nov. 24 vs. Utah State or Vandy South Padre L
Mon., Nov. 26 Wake Forest Iowa City W
Fri., Nov. 30 Louisiana-Monroe vs. Iowa Iowa City W
Sat., Dec. 1 Rice or Eastern Ill. Iowa City W
Wed., Dec. 5 at Northern Iowa Cedar Falls, IA L
Sat., Dec. 8 at Iowa State (Cy-Hawk Series) Ames, IA L
Fri., Dec. 14 Drake Iowa City W
Sat., Dec. 29 Southeastern Louisiana Iowa City W
Iowa 10-3 OOC sets them up nicely for the Big Ten.
Lickliter couldn't have asked for a nicer OOC schedule to get his team some confidence.
Couple that with my early Big Ten predictions:
|Indiana||L (0-1) Hoosiers take it easily. |
|at Wisconsin||L (0-2) Tough fought game, but Wisky wins by double-digits. |
|at Ohio State||L (0-3) Matta beats Lick. |
|Michigan State||L (0-4) Don't be surprised if this one is tight at the end; Iowa has a shot in this one. |
|Purdue||W (1-4) Iowa wins this one in a close contest. |
|at Michigan||W (2-4) Iowa wins by single-digits. |
|at Indiana||L (2-5) Don't see Iowa staying close in this one. |
|Penn State||W (3-5) Iowa will have a tough battle with PSU finally putting a decent team on the court, Iowa holds off though. |
|at Purdue||L (3-6) This one could go either way. |
|Ohio State||L (3-7) Iowa will play well at home and give the Buckeyes a battle, but don't have enough to win. |
|Wisconsin||L (3-8) I have confidence that Iowa can win this game, but I would need to see Iowa's out of conference results first. |
|at Minnesota||W (4-8) Iowa big in the barn. |
|Michigan||W (5-8) Iowa wins big at home. |
|Northwestern||W (6-8) Iowa gets on a three game win streak, beating the kitties at home |
|at Michigan State||L (6-9) No chance. |
|at Penn State||W (7-9) This one will probably be a loss, but I needed a tossup game to go Iowa's way. |
|Illinois||L (7-10) Another toss up game, Illini win it. |
|at Northwestern||W (8-10) The hex is gone. Iowa wins.|
18-13 is what I got for my early-on look... That would be fantastic for Iowa's first year under Lickliter. No NIT, No NCAA because of an awful SOS and RPI, coupled with a losing Big Ten record.
Why such a positive prediction for a team lacking talent and depth?
Too many people see Iowa and say the cupboard is bare. That's rubbish. It's not well stocked, but it's not barren.
Iowa has a huge lack in depth, but they bring back a good amount of experience.
Freeman will be entering his third year, and he is the catalyst of the team.
Johnson has one of the best strokes in the Big Ten.
Losing Smith is the kicker, though. He would have no doubt been a Big Ten 1st Teamer on this team and would have given Iowa a very dynamic backcourt with Freeman and Johnson.
Tate, Gorney, Looby, and Palmer will take their turns downlow. Obviously this will be issue most of the season (to see how they adjust).
I don't know what to expect from Angle, he may strive in this new system.
The freshman have a lot of potential and anything out of them is a huge positive... Who knows? Peterson may be starting at PG this year. Kelly might be getting more PT than anyone thought possible. Cole will bang down low for us and help on the boards.
We don't have the DJ Whites, the Eric Gordons, the Drew Neitzels, etc... but I think we have a team that wants to win and wants to do so together. There will be growing pains with this team, but the good thing is we get to grow up at home (which is the exact opposite of what happened last year when Iowa couldn't get off the road in the beginning of the season). Don't underestimate the value of playing at home, couple that with the ultra-weak out of conference schedule, and Iowa is setup to have a very productive first 1/3 of the season. The middle part of the season will see Iowa struggle because they play a very tough BT schedule to open up. However, the last 3rd of the year, Iowa has a VERY favorable schedule and could reel off some wins.
So where do the points come from?
You have to think the leading scorers will be Freeman and Johnson combining for at least 25 PPG.
With Lickliter's offense you would guess that Gorney is going to get about 7 to 10 a game. He is going to be able to shoot that 12-17 foot jumper (and let's be honest, he has a very nice stroke from there). If he gets 6-10 looks a game I can see him hitting 50% of those, which is about the amount of points I'd expect him to get.
Tate will get his point off boards (the little we will get this year).
Angle is a real unknown. He really does have a nice shot, but hasn't really had the opportunity to put the ball up very much. Is this the system to make it happen? I don't know. JR won't be an All-Big Ten kind of guy, but I think he has a chance to be a steady contributor. Has added some pounds to his frame.
Palmer. Who knows? You'd like to think he could be another guy to put up 8 a night, but I haven't seen enough from him to give a good enough judgment. I do know he eager to finally get back on the court.
Combined, I honestly believe we can get 10-15 PPG from our freshmen. Peterson seems to be ready to jump right into the lineup and give us 5 PPG and be one of the top assist men in the Big Ten (believe it). While Jake was a pleasant surprise to those who have watched him play. Cole is aggressive and will get his points off of boards for the most part. I don't know how well these guys will play. It's not like they are of the Rose or Mayo or Gordon mold where you can say for certain what you are going to get. I think they can contribute enough to be productive for Iowa. With 11 players on the roster, they will undoubtedly get playing time.
Looby isn't going to bring much offensively, we know that. Maybe he has worked on his hook a bit more and will do something on that end this year. Anything from him is a bonus.
Bohall - not sure. Seems to have a fantastic stroke from the outside, but I just haven't seen enough from him to be sure he can be productive. Look like he has added some muscle over the year.
I guess the real issue is that Iowa has only 11 guys on the team. To me, that's the real issue at hand. We will see what our incoming class will bring because you would think that they are going to be seeing significant time this year. Lickliter loves to sub in fresh guys, so to say everyone on the team will have to make a contribution is an understatement.
That's why they play the games
I look forward to seeing what this team can do on the court. I don't discount the fact that this can be looked at as a "down year", but I will not resign to the fact that some Hawk fans (and national pundits) think this team is going to finish last in the conference and barely get double-digit wins. That's just not going to happen if the team stays healthy.
Iowa's win total will be right around 18 because:
1.) The only time Iowa plays away from Carver-Hawkeye Arena in the non-conference is for the South Padre tourney and then to Iowa St and UNI. That's a severe advantage.
2.) A lot of cupcakes on the non-conference slate.
We shall see...
ON IOWA - GO HAWKS!