How Iowa plans to end seven-year tourney drought
The Big Ten was the toughest league in the country last season.
It’s only going to get tougher, thanks to realignment.
Despite all that, Year Four of the Fran McCaffery experience in Iowa City is generating some buzz and some genuine optimism. The former Siena coach took over one of the most bone-grindingly slow teams in the B1G and installed a more exciting, up-tempo offense. It worked - the Hawkeyes have added, on average, seven wins per season under McCaffery’s guidance - to the point where Iowa made the NIT finals last season, losing to Baylor in the final game. Now the Hawkeyes are ready to take that all-important next step and return to the NCAA tourney, which they last visited in 2006 under Steve Alford.
McCaffery hopes some new additions will solve the Hawkeyes’ biggest problem from last season - an inability to shoot from the perimeter. Iowa averaged 30.5% from the three-point line, putting them near the bottom of all DI teams in a crucial category.
According to a recent report in the Iowa City Press-Citizen, the Hawkeyes think they’ll better resemble the team nickname this year.
With more elite-level defenders in the Big Ten, the ability to space the floor with deep shooting will be a key to Iowa’s success in the 2013-14 season. If all else remains on course, adding the deep threat could make this a breakout season for McCaffery’s boys.
Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.