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Buy or Sell: Preseason edition

BY KYLE MANN and RYAN RODRIGUEZ | NOVEMBER 06, 2014 5:00 AM

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Buy or Sell: The Big Ten title is Iowa’s to lose

Rodriguez: I’ll sell this one. Don’t get me wrong, a Big Ten title could very well end up in Iowa’s possession come spring time, but there’s just too much talent in the conference to say anyone is the favorite this early on.  Arguably the most skilled conference in the country got tougher this summer with the addition of Rutgers and Maryland, who went to the Final Four last season. It’s wide open right now.

Mann: I’m buying into this. Iowa’s entering the season clearly as one of the most dangerous teams in the conference, and that’s well warranted. With Sam Logic, Bethany Doolittle, and Melissa Dixon returning — not to mention Ally Disterhoft — that’s one of the strongest cores that head coach Lisa Bluder has ever had, and she sounds confident the Hawks have addressed their weaknesses from last season. If the talent and coaching coming together, I think Iowa takes the title.

Buy or Sell: Replacing Theairra Taylor will be Iowa’s biggest concern in 2014

Rodriguez: Buy. I know everyone talks about suring up the defense, and trust me, I get it. Their defense has to be better, but replacing a girl like Taylor both on the court and in the locker room is a bigger deal than most are willing to admit. Taylor started every game in her last two seasons at Iowa, and even her peers called her the heart of the team. Hopefully for the Hawks, the seniority on the bench will step up and help fill the void.

Mann: Sell. I have to sell this and talk about suring up the defense. Bluder and her players have such a high-powered offense, they can score however many they want on damn near anybody they want. But somewhere down the stretch, you’ll have to be able to stop somebody. Doolittle is a force down low, but who else is going to step up?

Buy Or Sell: Iowa will finish with a better record than they did in 2013.

Ryan: Buy again. This is a tough one for me, but even with the Big Ten getting tougher as a whole, I still think the Hawks have yet to hit their ceiling. A veteran team with a veteran coach, the Black and Gold have almost all of the pieces in place from a 27-9 season a year ago. The team was a couple of late-game collapses away from 30-win season last year, so I’ve got to buy that the learning experience will benefit them this time around.

Kyle: Buy. Last year was a good year, but this could be a great one. Returning four very impressive starters from last year’s 27-9 squad is a great place to start, and Bluder has sounded very optimistic the team will prove to have more than replaced Taylor, and has talent ready to address last year’s shortcomings. It could be Alexa Kastanek or Kali Peschel, or freshmen Whitney Jennings and Chase Coley; the bottom line is that a coach as good as Bluder will do great things with this roster.


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