While a few teams look ahead to another weekend of college basketball around the Big Ten, the majority are left to prepare for an entirely new season ahead. That’s actually the case for 11 of the 14 teams across the B1G already.
So, why not follow suit and begin to wonder what the 2018-19 season holds for those teams not playing anymore?
Previous Sneak Peak’s: Rutgers |
Up next is a look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, who are certainly hoping to be fighting for a NCAA tourney berth and not to just stay off the bottom of the Big Ten.
Reason to be Optimistic: The Best Bohannon
Fans across the Big Ten are readily familiar with the last name Bohannon, having seen both Jason and Zach play for the Wisconsin Badgers over the last decade or so. However, it is the Iowa Hawkeyes who have the best of the three brothers in the fold.
Jordan proved that in a big way in 2017-18 — averaging 13.5 points, 5.4 assists, while also shooting 40.9 percent from the field and 43 percent from beyond the arc. That’s what you want from your point guard if you’re Fran McCaffery, and Jordan is moving in to his third season leading this offense.
If that isn’t a reason to be optimistic, I don’t know what is.
Reason to Worry: Bohannon or Bust Still
As great as Bohannon was this past season, he was a one-man show for the Hawkeyes and it ended in disaster. Next season doesn’t seem to be much different for Iowa, as Bohannon has literally no help at all at point guard, especially with the fall of Brady Ellingson and his announced transfer from the program.
Things could get even more interesting with the news that fellow sophomore, Tyler Cook, is exploring the NBA Draft process.
Sophomore @iamtc5 will go through the NBA evaluation process that is allowed for underclassmen: https://t.co/TYSEBe2SxF— Iowa Basketball (@IowaHoops) March 9, 2018
“Tyler should take advantage of this opportunity and we fully support his decision,” coach Fran McCaffery pic.twitter.com/pyflKa2SL3
It’s an interesting move from a team perspective, but the 6-9 forward was much better individually in 2017-18 than he was in his freshman season. My money is on him coming back for his junior season, but this team is built around perimeter play opening things up for inside success, and that still means as Bohannon goes, so goes this team..until we’re proven otherwise.
Player to Watch: Luka Garza
As far as freshman seasons go, Garza had himself a pretty good one. He averaged 12.1 points and 6.4 rebounds, while shooting 55.7 percent from the field. Yet, Garza was left off the Coaches All-Freshman team at season’s end.
Despite the big numbers, Garza had an up and down season overall. He started just 26 of 33 games and was in and out of the starting lineup.
If Iowa can count on him to be more of a consistent presence in the lineup then this team is very different heading in to 2018-19. A bit more work in the weight room and on his outside shot should go a long way.
Iowa made a huge move in getting the in-state signature of 2018 Iowa Mr. Basketball, Joe Wieskamp. Not only was he an in-state star, he was a national star too. Wieskamp is the No. 9 ranked shooting guard in the country and could be immediate help for Bohannon in the backcourt.
Fellow shooting guard C.J. Fredrick comes out of another talent-rich state in Kentucky. He also knows how to win, leading his Covington Catholic squad to a Kentucky state title this year.
This pair of shooting guards should help Iowa be able to stretch the court for a few years to come.
A look at the stat sheet and one has to wonder how the Iowa Hawkeyes of 2017-18 were as bad as they were. Four players averaged double figures and all but one is a sure-thing to come back to the program in 2018-19, while this team had success shooting inside and out too.
But, then you look at the defensive numbers and realize this team was built to have to outscore opponents, not stop them on the defensive end and it becomes easy to see how they finished 13th in the B1G. The good news is that this was an extremely young team, starting not a single player that was older than a sophomore.
Jordan Bohannon and Tyler Cook are good places for any team to start from, but I’m looking for more from Cook and soon-to-be sophomore Luka Garza on the defensive end to help this team make a rapid rise. The talent is certainly there for this group to be much better next season, but there will need to be a re-commitment to playing defense if the Hawkeyes want to be in the NCAA tourney mix in 2019.
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