IOWA CITY — In the two games since Mike Gesell’s foot injury, sophomore Josh Oglesby has started at off-guard and Devyn Marble has played the point. The results have been mixed.
Marble has scored 38 points in the two games, while Oglesby is 1-for-9 from the field with seven total points. Senior Eric May has come off the bench both times and scored 12 points at Indiana. Is it possible Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery might shift the lineup in the Hawkeyes’ final two regular season games and insert May as a starter?
“I’m not sure,” McCaffery said. “I think it’s a possibility. But we’ll figure all that out over the next day.
“I still think, although Josh has not shot the ball as well as he can, he’s still been a very effective player for us. So we’ll see.”
As for Gesell, he’s definitely out for the final two games at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, but it’s likely he will play in the Big Ten Tournament.
“I don’t know that you can ever be certain,” McCaffery said. “What you do is you’ll evaluate it in a week and see how he he’s feeling. I would not want this in any way to be an injury that lingers for him over time. I know how badly he wants to get back. He knows we need him. But we wouldn’t in any way jeopardize anything down the road.
“My understanding is he’ll be able to, by virtue of taking these two weeks off, be fine for the Big Ten Tournament. That’s the way it’s been described. He’ll be evaluated at that time and a decision will be made at that time.”
McCaffery said Gesell will return to the starting lineup once he’s healthy.
“He’ll either be the point or Dev will be the two, or Dev will be the point and Mike will be the two,” McCaffery said.
Illinois first-year coach John Groce played high school basketball for former Iowa Coach Todd Lickliter when both lived in Danville, Ind. Groce graduated from Danville in 1990 and said Lickliter is one of his top influences in his life.
“He’s a had a major impact on my life, not just as a coach,” Groce said. “A major impact on my family. He’s given so much and so have his whole family in so many different ways to mine. So three, four, five guys that I owe a lot to in this profession, and he’s certainly one of them. I think he’s a tremendous teacher and just a quality, quality person and wouldn’t be where we are right now without him.”
Illinois fifth-year senior Sam McLaurin will play against Iowa on Tuesday, Groce confirmed. McLaurin was hampered with an ankle injury against Nebraska and played just eight points. He averages 4.3 points a game.
Tuesday’s game (6 p.m. BTN) is the teams’ only meeting this year, the second straight season of single plays between the two long-time rivals. Illinois leads the series 81-67. Iowa owns a 52-20 home record, while Illinois is 61-14 against Iowa in Champaign. Illinois had beaten Iowa a series-record seven straight before the Hawkeyes won their Big Ten Tournament meeting last year. The Illini have won three straight in Iowa City, also a series record.
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