Hawkeye hoops wants consistency in opener


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Iowa men's basketball head coach Fran McCaffery wants to see one thing when his Hawkeyes tip off their regular season at 7 p.m. today against Chicago State.


The second-year head coach talked during a press conference on Wednesday about the level of consistency with which his past "great" teams have played. Those teams received consistently solid play from at least the starting five and "typically, [the] top eight," he said.

After watching the tape of Iowa's Nov. 6 exhibition game against Northwest Missouri State, McCaffery said Matt Gatens and Eric May were the only Hawkeyes who supplied similar energy.

"Their consistency of effort was absolutely phenomenal," he said. "If you look at pretty much the rest of the roster, they all played well at times, [but] they all had spurts where they didn't play as well."

Both Gatens and May played a team-high 29 minutes against the Bearcats. Gatens led the Hawkeyes in scoring with 17 points, and May grabbed a team-best 7 rebounds to go along with 9 points and 4 assists.

"There were some points where maybe if we were lacking, we were getting subs in," May said. "But that's what we're trying to do, is keep a high level of intensity throughout the whole game."
McCaffery pointed to center Devon Archie and guard Roy Devyn Marble as two Hawkeyes that struggled at times.

Archie was particularly ineffective at the start of the second half and was benched. But when the 6-9 post re-entered later in the period, McCaffery said, he was pleased with what he saw.

"When he's moving his feet, and he's running the floor, and he's flying around the court with his length, he's a pretty good player," McCaffery said. "When he sort of stands up, and lays back, and his man flashes in front of him, and he doesn't run the ball as much, and he's late on ball-screen shows, and things of that nature, then he's not as effective."

For some players — especially Marble — consistency doesn't necessarily mean giving solid effort but improving decision-making.

The sophomore only had two turnovers in 20 minutes of action against Northwest Missouri State, but both he and McCaffery said he's always working on improving that aspect of his game.

"I don't think you'd ever question Marble's effort," McCaffery said. "Some of his decision-making sometimes needs to be discussed with him, but part of what makes him good is the fact that he plays with that reckless abandon."

The Hawkeyes should have plenty of opportunities tonight to work on their consistency; they face a Cougars team that won six games last year and whose leading returning scorer, Jamill Harris, averaged only 3.3 points per game.

"Hopefully, we don't go through losses or negative times to realize what kind of effort it takes," Gatens said. "Guys are really buying in and putting in the effort in their own time, so hopefully, we see that more consistently throughout the whole team during the games."

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