The Drake Bulldogs open the Missouri Valley Conference race at Wichita State on Saturday. The Bulldogs are 9-1 while the Shockers enter the league race with a record 8-5 under first year coach Greg Marshall.
Drake coach Keno Davis says he doesn’t know if the Shockers have found their identity yet, but they have had two straight good wins. The Shockers are hitting just 29 percent from three point range but Davis says that stat is a little misleading.
Davis says it’s so early in the season that you can have some bad shooting nights and work your way through it. Davis says they won’t downplay their shooting ability, because if you leave players open, they’ll hit those shots.
UNI is 8-3 and opens the Valley race at Bradley. After jumping out to a 4-12 start the Braves enter league play having lost three of their last four. They stand 7-5.
The Iowa Hawkeyes close out their non-conference schedule at home on Saturday when they host Southeastern Louisiana. The Hawks are 6-6 and have been idle since a December 14th loss to Drake. The Lions are 7-4 and among their losses was a two point setback at Alabama.
Iowa coach Todd Lickliter says their coach uses pressure defense and opponents are shooting 29% from three-point range and less than 40% overall. He says with more than two weeks without a game it has given the coaches a chance to go back to practice to try and perfect their system.
Lickliter says the team needs to feel comfortable with the system and for each of the players to know where each one is comfortable. He says they’ve been trying to make very difficult plays. The Hawkeyes open the Big Ten race next Wednesday at home against Indiana.