Greg Lansing is headed back to familiar turf.
The former Iowa assistant, now in his third season as the head basketball coach at Indiana State, will return to Carver-Hawkeye Arena for a first-round NIT game against the Hawkeyes at 6 p.m. Wednesday. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN2.
“I’m just really happy to be able to come home,” said Lansing, who was raised in Harlan and was once the head coach at Des Moines Roosevelt. “That happiness went away when I thought about watching Iowa in the Big Ten Tournament. They should have been in the NCAA field. This is a very good and well-coached team.”
Iowa (21-12) was the third seed in its NIT region. That seems a bit curious, considering the fact that NCAA selection committee chairman Mike Bobinski said Sunday that the Hawkeyes were one of the last six teams left out of that tournament. The others were Alabama, Kentucky, Southern Mississippi and Virginia, all NIT No. 1 seeds, and Tennessee, an NIT No. 2 seed.
Asked if he was puzzled by that, Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said, “I didn’t know that until you just said it, to be honest with you. In light of that, yeah, I guess. But I never really thought about it.”
The winner between Iowa and Indiana State, the No. 6 seed, will meet the winner of Wednesday’s game between No. 2 seed Massachusetts (21-11) and No. 7 seed Stony Brook (24-7). The game will be at Massachusetts if the Minutemen win. McCaffery said Carver-Hawkeye Arena was available to host all three on-campus NIT rounds.
“I’m just happy that we’re in,” said McCaffery, who is taking Iowa to a second straight NIT in his third season as coach.
Indiana State (18-14) finished fifth in the Missouri Valley Conference at 9-9 but beat NCAA teams Miami (Fla.), Mississippi, Creighton and Wichita State and lost to New Mexico in overtime. All-MVC guard Jake Odum is the Sycamores’ leading scorer at 13.8 points a game.
“Odum was first team all-conference in a phenomenally difficult league,” McCaffery said. “I have great respect for Greg Lansing and the job he has done there, and in his career. So we know what is in store for us.”
Earlier in his career, Lansing left Roosevelt to become an assistant coach at Indiana State under Sherman Dillard, now one of McCaffery’s Iowa assistants.
McCaffery said he has no concerns that his team will have a letdown after coming so close to getting an NCAA bid.
“They’ll be fired up, without question,” McCaffery said.
Eric May, Iowa’s lone scholarship senior, said, “We’ve worked all season long, and this will be a great opportunity. Indiana State beat some really good teams this year. They’re a tough team, so we have to bring it.”
Iowa beat Dayton 84-75 in last season’s first-round NIT game before a Carver-Hawkeye Arena crowd of 13,190.
“We need our fans to do that again, because the student body, a number of them, are on spring break,” McCaffery said. “We’re relying on our fan base to create the kind of atmosphere we hope to see Wednesday night.”
Iowa basketball season ticket holders can order tickets for Wednesday’s game immediately. Hawkeyes
Only season ticket holders will be allowed to order tickets tonight until noon Monday. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for Iowa students and younger. Season ticket holders may order as many tickets as they would like, but seat locations are not guaranteed to be the same as during the season.
Tickets will go on sale to the general public beginning at 1 p.m. Tickets may be ordered online at hawkeyesports.com, by calling 1-800-IA-HAWKS, or in person at the Iowa in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The ticket office windows are open daily from 9 a.m. to noon and 1-5 p.m.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball