The Hawkeye men are heading to Brooklyn, New York as seventh seed in the Southeast Regional to face tenth seed Temple Friday in the first round of the NCAA Basketball Tournament.
Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery knows Temple very well. “Temple is a terrific program, Fran Duffy has built a great program there. He knows what he is doing, he’s been successful for a number of years,” McCaffery says. “He’s a very good friend of mine. I have tremendous respect for him and the job he has done, they’ll challenge us in every way.”
Iowa had a late season skid, but the players say they are together and will be ready to play. McCaffery says that is critical, and he’s not surprised they would say that, especially the seniors. “They’ve been together from the beginning, it’s been an interesting journey. Not just this year — but you go back to when they got here. They were very much a part of building a consistent winner,” McCaffery says.
He says the team has battled through a lot this season. “We’ve had winning streaks, we’ve had losing streakes, but they have remained together. We have stuck with those guys because we know the character that they have, they talent that they have,” McCaffery says. “We just have to make sure in this setting you take care of rebounding, you take care of the basketball, you move the ball. You give your team every chance to win the game.”
The Hawkeyes had been touted at one point as possibly being a high seed and playing in Des Moines, but that fell away with the losing skid, and a first-round loss in the Big 10 Tournament.
Senior Adam Woodbury of Sioux City, says it doesn’t matter where they play. “They could have sent us anywhere, we’ll be ready for the toss,” Woodbury says.
The Hawkeyes haven’t played Temple this season, but Woodbury says that doesn’t make a lot of difference either. “It goes both ways,” Woodbury says, “they are not as familiar with us either. It’s all about just trying to get a grasp of what they do offensively and defensively, and just just trying to get a grasp of their big keys.”
Sophomore Dom Uhl is one player who is looking forward to going to New York. It’s where he played high school ball after coming from Germany.
“I didn’t hope it would happen, it’s just kind of funny, because I was recruited by Temple too,” Uhl says. He expects it to be a good matchup. Uhl says Temple is very talented and they will play hard.
Iowa finished the season at 21-10 overall and 12-6 in the Big Ten. This is the Hawkeyes third straight NCAA Tournament berth. The game will start at approximately 2:10 p.m.
Photos by Joe Danielson.