Des Moines – The Iowa Hawkeyes roll into Wells Fargo Arena this Saturday for a showdown with Drake at the Big 4 Classic. The Hawks come into this game following a win that snapped a four game losing streak. Iowa currently has a record of 5-6 while Drake comes in at 5-5.
Iowa has struggled at times against far inferior talent this season, but this looks like a game where the Hawks should be able to exploit their advantages in the paint. Drake only has two players, Kory Kuenstling and Casey Schlatter, taller than 6’8”. Iowa has five guys who are that tall and a couple others, Baer and Wagner, who are close at 6’7”.
However, this Drake team is sneaky on the offensive side of the ball. The Bulldogs are averaging over 81 points per game, and in their last game they only lost by a point to a pretty good Minnesota team. The potential is there for them to pull off the upset, but their perimeter game will have to be strong considering Iowa’s advantage in the post.
Perhaps the biggest key to this game if Iowa is going to return to Iowa City with the victory is getting a solid defensive performance out of their guards. Reed Timmer is Drake’s best offensive weapon. He is averaging almost 21 points per game this season. Bohannon and Moss must communicate up top on ball screens or Timmer will make them pay. The rotation on defense has been shaky at best this season. If that improves then the Hawkeyes will put themselves in a better position to win games.
One Final Note
Connor McCaffery can fill an important role in this offense. His first game back from illness (mono) was the Hawkeyes victory against Southern last weekend. McCaffery was a noticeable presence in the game. He showed poise and facilitated good ball movement on offense, and his play translated to the Hawkeyes lopsided victory. It will be interesting to see how McCaffery progresses as the competition continues to improve in the coming weeks.