IOWA CITY — Iowa fans get to see Fran McCaffery’s up-tempo style of play up close on Sunday in the team’s exhibition against Illinois-Springfield. But don’t expect 150 points or perfection, either.
“It’s going to be fast-paced,” Iowa sophomore forward Eric May said. “Hopefully there will be some alley-oops. But it’s not going to be a Harlem Globetrotters just throwing the ball around. It’s going to be a focused, fast-break type offense. If you don’t get it in the original fast break, then it’s going to be a lot of movement.”
McCaffery coached Siena to three straight NCAA Tournament berths before replacing Todd Lickliter as Iowa’s coach in March. He changed Iowa’s offense from a half-court set to up-tempo. But his goals start with competing, defending, rebounding and taking care of the ball on Sunday.
“We don’t want to play so fast that we’re turning the ball over and driving into packs of people and making poor decisions,” McCaffery said. “I think that will be a true test. Everyone is going to want to come out flying. Crowd wants to see it. I’ve been talking about it.
“But, you know, you can run yourself right into a butt kicking if you don’t know how to play fast. That’s been the hardest thing I think for us in the first couple weeks, is sometimes you go fast to probe the defense, then you pull it back. There’s nothing there. Now we grind it.”
Iowa will miss possibly two starters because of injury. Junior guard Matt Gatens is out after tearing a tendon in his left, non-shooting hand last week. He’s wearing a cast. Senior post Jarryd Cole is questionable with a left-foot injury.
The Hawkeyes will feature multiple looks and players in the exhibition (Time: 3:35 p.m., TV: Mediacom; Webstream: www.bigtennetwork.com; Cost:$5 adults, free children and students) but boasts an inexperienced starting lineup. Sophomore point guard Cully Payne will start alongside junior transfer Bryce Cartwright, who will replace Gatens. May, freshman Zach McCabe and freshman Melsahn Basabe are slated to start in the front-court. Junior posts Devon Archie and Andrew Brommer and freshman guard Devyn Marble will see plenty of time. Walk-ons Jordan Stoermer, Cody Cox, T.J. Sayre, Branden Stubbs and D.J. Stoke also could see the court.
With a new coach, new players and a new scheme, McCaffery isn’t quite sure what he’ll show on Sunday.
“Last year’s team (at Siena), we wouldn’t show anything,” McCaffery said. “With three seniors, two juniors, we had everything in, wouldn’t show anything to anybody, so anybody would look at us on tape. But we only have about half in, what we need in, because it’s taking a little bit longer. Part of me doesn’t want to show things, but part of me knows we got to get things ready in order to win the following Sunday in a game that counts.”
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