CHICAGO — Iowa still has a few holes on its schedule for the upcoming basketball season, coach Fran McCaffery said.
“We’ve got to schedule at least one more game, maybe two,” McCaffery said from the Big Ten spring meetings at the Sofitel Hotel. “We might go on the road. We’ve got a lot of things we’ve got to get figured out.”
McCaffery previously said he’d be interested in setting up made-for-TV games with high-profile opponents. Shifting from the Great Alaska Shootout to the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament has made finding those match-ups difficult.
“That’s still a possibility but the longer it goes, the harder it is to find those games than you think,” he said. “Luckily we’ve got Notre Dame (in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge). That’s big. The Atlantis games are huge. Those will be TV games. Iowa State is a TV game. I’m sure the Drake game will be on TV.
“I was hoping for something that made sense. It’s a question of whether can you get somebody to play you at home or not. Or whether you want to go on the road and get the rest of your schedule situated. Scheduling, with the change of the tournament, has just been a little bit in flux right now. Normally you’re a little more settled than this.”
The Battle 4 Atlantis field is full with competitive teams. Kansas and Villanova were NCAA tournament teams last year, while Tennessee competed as a No. 1 seed in the NIT. USC, Wake Forest, Xavier and UTEP fill out a solid lineup. Iowa finished second in the NIT.
“It’s going to be a tremendous challenge for our team, and it’s one that we’re excited about,” McCaffery said. “You look at the quality of opponents in that tournament, and it’s exactly what we wanted. Not trying to slight Alaska in any way because it was a great field up there.”
Here’s Iowa’s known non-conference schedule:
Nov. 10 — vs. Nebraska-Omaha (home)
Nov. 28-30 – Battle for Atlantis in Bahamas (3 games)
Dec. 3 – vs. Notre Dame (home)
Dec. 7 — vs. Drake (Des Moines)
Dec. 13 – at Iowa State
Forward Melsahn Basabe, an incoming senior, will head home to Glen Cove, N.Y., for part of the summer before in August for mandatory team workouts. Basabe is on pace to graduate next May without attending summer school.
“He’s doing well,” McCaffery said. “He’s far enough ahead credit-wise, but he’ll come back and practice with us and get ready for our foreign trip.”
Guard Devyn Marble, the team’s leading scorer, will spend late June attempting to qualify for the USA World University Games Team. Tryouts are June 24 through July 1 at Colorado Springs, Colo. Davidson Coach Bob McKillop is the head coach.His assistants are Michigan Coach John Beilein and South Carolina Coach Frank Martin.
The World University Games are held July 7-16 in Kazan, Russia. Marble will be a senior this year.
“I’m thrilled for him,” McCaffery said.
Both Mike Gesell and Gabe Olaseni suffered foot injuries late in the season, but both are in good shape for summer workouts, McCaffery said. Gesell’s right foot injury — labeled a stress reaction — was more severe and caused him to wear a boot off the floor for the last six weeks of the season. Olaseni will be a junior center, while Gesell will be a sophomore guard.
“(Olaseni) had some soreness at the end of the year but when you have soreness in your feet, you’ve got to shut it down,” McCaffery said. “There’s no other way to deal with that. In Mike’s case we put him in a boot. We didn’t put Gabe in a boot. His wasn’t as bad. He’s fine.”
“(Gesell is) out on the floor doing stuff. Unless something else happens … but I think we held him out long enough so that it wouldn’t happen. I suspect if it gets to the point where he did feel anything wrong, he’d shut it down.”
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