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Preview: Hawkeyes host Northern Illinois on Thursday

[ 0 ] November 16, 2011 |

IOWA CITY, Ia. – Iowa basketball coach Fran McCaffery is all in with his full-court press. Kind of.

“I think we’re all in in the sense that we’re going to do it pretty much every game,” McCaffery said. “But not to the point where we’re Loyola Marymount, and we’re going to commit to it on every possession and every chance we get. I’m not there yet.”

Loyola Marymount holds the NCAA record for average points in a game, 122.4, during the 1989-90 season. Iowa’s not in that neighborhood, averaging 95.5 points heading into its third game of the season at 7 p.m. Thursday against Northern Illinois at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

But McCaffery is putting a style on the floor that is more Tom Davis than Todd Lickliter. This is the first time a Hawkeye team has eclipsed the 90-point mark in back-to-back games since December of 2006.

“I feel like we have the team that can do that,” McCaffery said of the press. “I feel like it gets our offense going. And we’re going to do a lot of it.”

Iowa had five players score in double figures in Monday’s 95-79 victory against North Carolina A. and T., and McCaffery feels he has more offensive firepower than his first Iowa team that won 11 games and averaged 67.2 points last season.

“I think we have good players, guys who know how to score,” McCaffery said. “But I think the thing that’s most impressive is that we’re sharing the ball. We’re a very unselfish team.’’

Iowa’s full-court press, new to the arsenal this season, isn’t without flaw. Its transition defense at the back of that press has been spotty. North Carolina A. and T. outscored the Hawkeyes in fast-break points, 18-12. Lack of a shotblocking presence is obvious.

“We haven’t blocked that many shots (three),” McCaffery said. “When those guys are back there, they have to stop the ball while others are sprinting to take the next pass. And that’s what we have to work on. Once we get it figured out, our press will be a lot better.”

BROMMER DOUBTFUL

McCaffery said senior center Andrew Brommer is “doubtful, but not out of the question” for Thursday’s game. Out three weeks with a sprained right knee, Brommer returned but was reinjured in the second half of Monday’s game.

“We’re going to be a little careful with this one,” McCaffery said. “We need him. The last thing we’re going to do is rush it.”

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THURSDAY’S GAME

WHO: Northern Illinois (0-2) at Iowa (2-0).

WHERE: Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City.

TIPOFF: 7 p.m.

TICKETS: $12 adults, $5 students/youth 18-under.

RADIO: WHO-AM (1040), Des Moines and Hawkeye Radio Network.

STAT LEADERS: For Northern Illinois — Tim Toler 11 pgg; Askel Bolin 6 rpg; Bolin 2 apg; For Iowa — Matt Gatens 17 ppg; Aaron White 7 rpg; Bryce Cartwright 5 apg.

ABOUT THE HUSKIES: First-year coach Mark Montgomery is a former Michigan State point guard and assistant coach.

ABOUT THE HAWKEYES: Eric May, Melsahn Basabe and Zach McCabe have all scored in double figures in both games this season.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Iowa hasn’t won three consecutive games since December of 2008.

 

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball

About Rick Brown: Rick Brown covers men's basketball for The Des Moines Register and Hawk Central. He's married and the father of two. He also covers golf for the Register. View author profile.

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