Big Ten Notebook: Iowa recruit drops 36 points

BY IAN MARTIN | MARCH 01, 2011 7:20 AM

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Iowa basketball recruit Aaron White, a 6-8 forward from Strongsville, Ohio, had 36 points in a game against state No. 1 Garfield Heights on Feb. 26. White’s Strongsville team won the game in overtime, 86-79.

Garfield Heights has been the Cleveland Plain-Dealer’s top team in the state for most of this season, and it was playing for an undefeated regular season in the season finale. But White’s performance, along with teammate and Iowa football recruit Ray Hamilton’s 18 rebounds, proved to be enough for the upset.

At least one person in Iowa City was impressed by the performance.

Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said in the weekly Big Ten coaches’ teleconference Monday that White’s role with the Hawkeyes will likely be as a small forward or power forward next season, and he fits well into the athletic style Iowa is trying to play.

Also, don’t expect White to bide his time with the end of the bench next year.

“He’s going to be right in the middle of it,” McCaffery said. “He’s got a chance to start, and if he doesn’t start, he’s going to play a lot.”

Currently, White is one of just two signed commitments to the Hawkeyes, along with Cedar Rapids Washington shooting guard Josh Oglesby.

Izzo, Matta discuss tourney x-Factor

The oldest mantra in sports may be that “defense wins championships.” But in the now-68 team NCAA Tournament, more than just a solid man-to-man scheme is needed to take home the trophy.

A pair of successful Big Ten coaches put forth their theories of what makes a great tournament team in Monday’s Big Ten teleconference, and the answers were very different.

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo has been a famously smart coach in the month of March, allowing him to reach six Final Fours since 1999. He said there are two factors in a great tournament team: guard play and a tough regular-season schedule.

“When it’s one-and-done time, your margin for error is so small,” Izzo said.

In scheduling, the 16-year head coach played up the benefit of facing not only a tough nonconference schedule but a variety of teams that play a lot of different styles. This way, a team can be familiar with any style it may see when playing in the Big Dance.

One of Izzo’s rivals, Ohio State head coach Thad Matta, had a different opinion, saying that having a well-rested team is more important. While this doesn’t necessarily mean having a deep team or playing more players to rest starters, he said that teams need to take advantage of games on a national stage — where TV time-outs are longer.

And a team that’s not fatigued will be ready to play, mentally and physically.

“As you get into March, you’re hoping that you can cut your practices down,” Matta said. “The big thing at this point of the season is having your guys ready on game night.”

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