Prospects looking good for men’s college hoops

By: Isaac Turner-Hall

UNI

The Panthers are losing one of the most valuable and talented players in the country from last year in Seth Tuttle, but that’s not the only player from last season that has left. They lost Deon Mitchell and Nate Buss as well, so the Panthers face losing over 50 percent of their production from last season and 65 percent of their rebounding, which was one of their biggest strengths last season.

Even with all of these losses, the Panthers aren’t starting from scratch. They still have some key players from last season. Wes Washpun will be the leader of the team this year. He averaged 7.6 ppg last season and was a key player. They also have 3-point threats in Matt Bohannon and Paul Jesperson, and they also return a lockdown defender in Jeremy Morgan. This year’s team also has a much tougher nonconference schedule this season where they face preseason No. 1 North Carolina, which matches two Iowa high school teammates against each other in North Carolina’s Marcus Paige and Northern Iowa’s Matt Bohannon who both played together at Linn-Mar in Marion, Iowa.

The Panthers also face No. 7 Iowa State, and they could play play No. 8 Oklahoma when they take a trip to Hawaii to play in a tournament. The Panthers definitely have big shoes to fill for a team that went 31-4 last year and won the MVC Conference Championship, but with Ben Jacobson at the helm, the Panthers look to be in good shape to have a chance to contend with Wichita State to win the MVC again in 2016.

Iowa StateIowa_State_Cyclonesbw

Iowa State is going to be without their head coach Fred Hoiberg, who developed the Cyclones into one of best teams in the Big 12 and also brought them two consecutive Big 12 Conference championships. He left to become head coach of the Chicago Bulls and was replaced by Steve Prohm, who was the head coach of the Murray State Racers.

Even though the Cyclones have a new head coach, they are still ranked 7th in the AP preseason poll, and they are even some experts with darkhorse picks for the Cyclones to win it all.

The team got a transfer that will help improve their chances in Hallice Cooke from Oregon State, and they are returning three starters from a year ago: Jameel Mckay, Monte Morris, and 2014-15 All-American Georges Niang who is a preseason favorite to win the college Player of the Year. The Cyclones also have two tough non-conference games to play in No. 19 Colorado, who they play at a neutral site, and No. 22 Cincinnati, who use a completely different style of play, and then, of course, they must face their Big 12 foes: Kansas, Oklahoma, Baylor and West Virginia who are already ranked in the top 25. In fact, three Big 12 teams this year are picked to be in the top 10.

The Cyclones have plenty of chemistry on this team, and there’s no question they have enough talent to win it all, but will the changes that coach Prohm brings to this team help or hurt the Cyclones?

 

Iowahawkeyes

The Hawkeyes return almost everybody from a year ago. The only key departures are leading scorer Aaron White and three year-starter Gabriel Olaseni. They return many key players in Mike Gesell, Adam Woodbury, Peter Jok, Anthony Clemens and preseason third team All-American Jarrod Uthoff

The Hawkeyes were respectable last season. They finished 4th in the Big Ten and finished 22-12 as well as making it to the third round of the tournament, but the Hawkeyes aren’t looking for another average year, and this year could be the year that the Hawkeyes finally win the conference tournament or make a run deep into March.

The Hawkeyes are still looking to find their leader of the team after losing White, but the balance is there with the addition of Dale Jones, a JUCO transfer, and four-year starter Woodbury can expect to see extended minutes too. Of course the Hawks are also hoping Uthoff can fill White’s shoes from last season and put up some big numbers in scoring and rebounding.

The Hawks’ schedule has some tough games in it. They face No. 3 Maryland twice this season and play at No. 19 Marquette. They also play No. 7 Iowa State in the classic Cy-Hawk Series.

Even though Iowa lost two crucial contributors from last year, the team has gotten deeper and will rely on an extremely balanced attack this year. The Hawkeyes will need some luck to get into the tournament this year, but if they don’t make it, they will definitely be NIT contenders.

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