Anecdotal evidence suggests that people head to Florida for only one of three reasons: to die, to abscond from the law or to attend the Advocare Invitational basketball tournament. The Sweater Nation heads down to Orlando with the sole purpose of bringing back a trophy that will sit on the floor of Archie Miller’s office until a maintenance worker throws it out.
There is plenty to look forward to, as the Flyers could potentially face a gauntlet of Iowa/Notre Dame/Xavier on their way to claiming another early season tournament title (I get the feeling that many Flyer fan are very apprehensive when it comes to a potential matchup with Our Overlords to the South. I say embrace it — a chance to play X on a neutral floor is nothing to be fearful of. Gingivitis, a Hispanic president, these are the things that should keep you up at night. I’ve said my piece.)
Regardless, Gem City must win their first two games before sweating that team from northern Kentucky. To get there, UD will have to take care of a very solid Iowa Hawkeye team first.
The last time the Flyers faced off against Iowa was in the first round of the 2012 NIT during Archie’s inaugural season. UD was completely defiled by then Hawkeye freshman, Aaron White, who dropped 25 points on Dayton’s chest and led his squad to a 84-75 victory.
Trivia time — if you get this question right, and you are all on the honor system (which means I can legally dole out wall sits and pelvic examinations), I will send you a limited edition “Ware Red, Be LOWD” t-shirt.
Ok, no one got it right.
Iowa heads into Orlando with, like the Flyers, a perfect 3-0 record. Although the Hawkeyes didn’t go through as beefy a slate in the early going as UD did (Gardner-Webb, Coppin State and New Big East member Marquette were all easily dispatched by The Fightin’ Tom Arnolds) they handled their business in a thorough and professional manner. Iowa is faced with the same nagging question that your Flyers are currently pondering — just how good are we? Neither program has any inkling as to the answer, but it will become much clearer after the Advocare Invitational wraps up.
Fran McCaffery returns four starters from last year’s NCAA Tournament team and are picked to finish in the middle of the pack in what should be an extremely competitive B1G. The 2015-16 Iowa team has depth, size and can really shoot the ball. Those are three elements of the game that don’t necessarily jive well with Dayton’s lineup.
The Hawkeyes have been very effective on both ends of the floor so far this season — averaging 1.17 points per possession on offense and allowing just .79 points per possession defensively. Granted the competition to this point hasn’t been stellar, but the numbers are impressive nonetheless. Iowa has been running at a very rapid pace, hitting just under the 80 possession mark through their first three games (76.7 poss/game). McCaffery’s team, like Dayton, likes to get out in transition and pick up easy buckets. The thirty-second shot clock will probably be a mere suggestion when the two teams tip-off on Thanksgiving night.
What Jarrod Uthoff possesses in awkwardness, my man is a class A goober, he makes up for with a pretty well-goddamned-rounded set of skills. You sleep on Uthoff? Might as well curl up in a fucking body bag. He may look like a mummy that just woke up after a rave, but the 6’9″ senior forward is one of the better shooting big men in all of the land. His size and shooting from the perimeter cause opponents headaches, it’ll be interesting to see how Archie attacks him on both sides of the floor. Joining Uthoff in the Hawkeye frontcourt is a true seven-footer, Adam Woodbury. He is a big, lovable oaf who can’t help but get into foul trouble.
Yes, junior wing Peter Jok looks like the “I’m the captain now” guy from “Captain Phillips,” the movie where Tom Hanks plays a closeted homosexual boat captain — the original title of the film, “Captured Seamen,” was given the kibosh by right-wing Hollywood — I hope you’re proud of yourself for making that obvious and tasteless joke (*quickly gives you a low-five when no one is looking*). Anyway, Jok is the Hawkeyes’ second-leading scorer and an elite shooter from behind the arc. Seniors Mike Gesell and Anthony Clemmons round out Iowa’s backcourt. Clemmons is the team’s best defender and Gesell is a consummate point-guard, excelling at distributing the ball and attacking of the dribble.
Dom Uhl, a Native-American (maybe?) forward comes off the bench and gets significant minutes. He has some decent size and can stretch the floor with his ability on the perimeter. Brady Ellingson, McCaffery’s first guard off the pine, is so Midwest looking I guarantee his waste matter is 35% ranch sauce. Dale Jones is a wide-body reserve with surprising shooting touch.
There aren’t any major things that stick out when looking at Iowa other than their FT Rate is low (304th), given how tall they are (35th in effective height) and how little they get blocked (3rd in block %).
What I find interesting is the matchup at point-guard between Scoochie Smith and Mike Gedsell. They appear to be exact replicas. Both are 6-2, Gedsell comes in a bit heavier at 190lbs to Scooch’s 180lbs. When you look at some of the key stats in the table below they’re extremely similar.
What’s also noteworthy are the trajectories of their hoops careers. The fun part of that is, Scooch is a junior while Gedsell is a senior. Scooch is basically developing a year faster and better than Gedsell (thanks Arch!). Should be fun to watch these two go at it.
Iowa’s size is a major concern and I think this may be a game in which Big Steve struggles to find his way. Assuming Kendall Pollard has his hands full with Uthoff, there will be an enormous amount of pressure on the rest of the squadron to produce points. Dayton hangs tough, but the Hawkeyes are a couple of buckets better. UD takes its first L of the season against Iowa, 68-64.
Tom Blackburn is a proud U. o' D. alum. He loses faith in humanity one day at a time, but not in you, you seem like you are all kinds of alright. Charter member of the T-Man fanclub.