The Iowa basketball team leaves today for New York City and tomorrow night’s matchup against Maryland in the semifinal round of the NIT. The Hawks advanced after an 11 point victory at Virginia and this is the first time an Iowa team has gotten to Madison Square Garden in the post-aseasson NIT.
“Well, it’s a tremendous experience in so many ways,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery says. “Obviously purely from a basketball standpoint to be able to go to that venue and continue to practice and play for a championship, it’s wonderful. You’ll have an opportunity to do some things in New York as a team.”
” It’s a great way for a guy like Eric May to finish his career. There will be a lot of families there, they’ll enjoy that type of experience. We’ll have alumni there who maybe haven’t had an opportunity to see us.There are so many positives, but from my perspective, to continue to play in a kind of atmosphere that we played in the other night and continue to challenge our players to handle that and succeed in that type of environment is critical. ”
McCaffery says the extra games are valuable for a team that only loses one senior. “The funny thing about that is it’s great to continue to practice, but our practices are — we’re backing way off. We’ll get up and down a little bit and we’ll lock into the other team. It’s not like the practices this time of year are that beneficial, other than it’s another opportunity to figure out can we put a game plan in, can they carry the game plan out to beat the next quality opponent on our schedule. All of those challenges will help us as we move forward.” McCaffery says.” So additional opportunities for that, additional opportunities for our young guys to play in games. To see how Adam Woodbury played the other night, that was huge for him. Now he gets an opportunity to go against Alex Len, and he’s a lottery pick. ”
Baylor and BYU will meet in the other first round game.