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Matt Gatens is the key to Iowa's success in the Big Ten
Starting Lineup: 6’5'' Eric May, 6’7'' Melsahn Basabe, 6’5'' Matt Gatens, 6’5'' Roy Devyn Marble, 6’7'' Zach McCabe
Key Bench Players: 6’8'' Aaron White, 6’5'' Josh Oglesby, 6’1'' Bryce Cartwright
Best Non-Conference Win: 12/17 Drake 82-68, 12/22 Boise State 81-72
Bad Non-Conference Losses: 11/23 Campbell 77-61, 11/29 Clemson 71-55
Coach Fran McCaffrey got the Hawkeyes off to a fast 3-0 start before running into No. 21-ranked Creighton. The Blue Jays thumped the Hawkeyes 82-59 and sent Iowa into a tailspin, where they lost four of their next six games.
The slow start in pre-Big Ten play might be attributed to growing pains, as Iowa is a young team with only two seniors among the eight players in its rotation.
Senior Matt Gatens continues to be the heart of the squad. Gatens is averaging 14 points a game and has improved his shooting percentage from the floor, free-throw line and beyond the arc from last year.
Roy Devyn Marble also put in hard work over the summer. Marble is connecting on 78 percent of his free throws; last year he made only 53 percent of his free throws.
The schedule for the Hawkeyes is favorable, as Iowa plays No. 24 Illinois, No. 19 Michigan, No. 20 Michigan State and No. 2 Ohio State only once during conference play.
Iowa is too inconsistent to finish with 10 wins during conference play, and without 10 wins, the Hawkeyes resume will be a little too thin for the liking of the NCAA tournament selection committee.
Iowa will fall short of the NCAA tournament, but they could become eligible for the NIT tournament with an upset over a ranked opponent during conference play or two wins during the Big Ten tournament.