College teams angle for state glory as seasons tip off

UNI

The Northern Iowa Panthers men’s basketball team is coming off a somewhat disappointing 21-15 2012-2013 season that ended with a fourth round loss to Weber St. in the CIT. UNI lost three starters from last year in Jake Koch, Marc Sonnen and Anthony James to graduation. With less experience on this year’s team, the Panthers are still hoping to improve on last year’s record.

Preseason MVC first teamer Seth Tuttle, last year’s second leading scorer at 11.4 per game and leading rebounder at 6.6 per game, returns to help anchor the middle with freshman Ted Friedman and sixth man Chip Rank. Sophomore sharpshooter Matt Bohannon joins preseason MVC second teamer Deon Mitchell in the Panther backcourt.

The name that may be new to fans is Wes Washpun, a former Cedar Rapids Washington standout turned Tennessee Volunteer. Washpun sat out last year after transferring from a Tennessee program that allowed him under a point a game in limited minutes. With a three guard, two big lineup of Deon Mitchell, Washpun, Matt Bohannon, Tuttle and Friedman, Ben Jacobson’s team is projected a third place finish in the Valley.

The Panther men have a 1-2 start to the young season with a win against Coe and losses against George Mason and Ohio. They have marquee matchups with teams such as Iowa State and previous Final Four participants Virginia Commonwealth and Wichita State.


 

Iowa

Coming off a promising run in the NIT that ended in a loss to the Baylor Bears in the championship game, the Iowa Hawkeyes are poised to contend in the Big Ten as well as the NCAA tournament this year.

Coming off a 25-13 season, the Hawkeyes return 93 percent of their scoring as Eric May is the only player to graduate last year. Seniors Melsahn Basabe and Devyn Marble will provide the leadership on the court as both start along side Mike Gesell, Aaron White and Adam Woodbury.

Fran McCaffery’s deepest team is led by former Cedar Rapids Jefferson star Jarrod Uthoff who transferred over from Big Ten rival Wisconsin.

Many solid contributors from last year will also come off the bench to attempt to spark the Hawks such as senior Zach McCabe and junior Josh Oglesby.

After an easy 4-0 start, Iowa moved into the top 25 in the USA Today poll where they hope to stay for the rest of the season.


ISU

Iowa State fans from all over come to see “Hilton magic.” Doubters have already become believers in the early season as the Cyclones have raced out to an undefeated 4-0 start. After two walk in the park games, the Clones welcomed No. 7 Michigan to Hilton Coliseum. Energized by the return of preseason first team all Big 12 forward Melvin Ejim, Michigan was sent home with a loss.

Coming off a 23-12 season, Iowa State is looking to get past the NCAA tournament second round benchmark they set last season. Losing key pieces from an impressive and competitive club is difficult but Marshall transfer Deandre Kane and a very heralded freshman recruit Matt Thomas, who reminds many of the coach who guides the Cyclones, Fred Hoiberg, are making it a far smoother process.

After the upset win over Michigan and an impressive road win at previously unbeaten BYU, the Iowa State Cyclones find themselves at No. 21 in the AP top 25 and rising.

 

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