Seniors seek first win in Michigan

BY BEN ROSS | MARCH 05, 2014 5:00 AM

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Iowa’s three seniors have played five basketball games in the state of Michigan during their four-year tenure. Melsahn Basabe, Devyn Marble, and Zach McCabe are winless when taking on the Michigan or Michigan State when playing at those teams’ home courts.

Iowa’s contest against the No. 22 Spartans on Thursday is the last chance for those three to get a win in the Mitten State. Marble is a native of Southfield, Mich., so he hasn’t won a game in his home state since he was in high school. He said he wanted to get a win in East Lansing not just because of his upbringing in Michigan but just because he wants to win.

“I want to do that; I also just want to win because I want to continue to keep winning. I’m not making a big deal out of anything right now,” Marble said. “I’m tired of losing to them; we’re going to try to prepare properly and be focused for the game.”

The Michigan State contest is also the penultimate regular-season game for the trio of Iowa’s upperclassmen. After they take on the Spartans, Illinois will visit Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, and that will be the last time McCabe, Marble, and Basabe will take to the court in Iowa City. 

McCabe, a Sioux City native, never went back on his commitment to play basketball for Iowa, forgoing several other basketball scholarship offers — and one football scholarship offer — to play for Fran McCaffery. He said that he likes to keep Senior Day in the back of his mind, because he knows there’s still a good chance he can continue his senior basketball season as long as Iowa keeps winning.

“I try not to think about [Senior Day],” McCabe said. “I know we have the Big Ten tournament coming up — we’re trying to make it as many games as we can — that’s also our mindset for the NCAA Tournament. Just get a run going. I can feel it winding down.”

Trimming the Fat

Iowa played 11 guys for the better part of the entire season, but with championship season rolling around, some players are losing time on the court in favor of increased minutes of others in order to tighten up the roster.

Eight seems to be about the magic number of players getting solid minutes to put out the most competitive team on the floor, which leaves Anthony Clemmons, Peter Jok, and either Jarrod Uthoff or McCabe, depending on the day, to be the odd man out.

“Yeah, it’s going to be a function of who’s healthy and who’s playing well, maybe that day, or that week,” McCaffery said during his press conference on Tuesday. “You know, obviously Clemmons played well against Minnesota. We gave him a shot and he played well. Basabe wasn’t able to go; so that’s more opportunity for Olaseni, Zach, and Jarrod Uthoff; and sometimes that means that Aaron White plays more in the post, things of that nature. So you just adjust.”

Twitter Lockdown

While McCabe is trying to extend his basketball career as long as he can, he was forced to cut his tenure on Twitter short two weeks ago, following Iowa’s 79-74 loss to Wisconsin on Feb. 22.

McCabe voiced some frustration he received from Iowa fans following a missed 3-point shot during the game, and afterwards all of Iowa’s players were forced to get off the social-media site for the remainder of the season. Even though he could start it up again in late March, McCabe said he’s likely done with Twitter for good.

“Yeah, probably. I’m done with that,” McCabe said when asked.

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