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Buy or Sell: Iowa-Northern Iowa

BY JACOB SHEYKO AND DANNY PAYNE | DECEMBER 18, 2014 5:00 AM

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Buy or Sell: Iowa’s season is a success so far

Danny Payne, basketball reporter: I’ll buy this, with hesitation. Sure, Iowa beat then-No. 12 North Carolina on the road, and that was an impressive win. But the real reason here is because of the individual success the Hawkeyes have enjoyed.

Anthony Clemmons is playing the best basketball of his career at Iowa. Aaron White is shooting close to 60 percent from the floor, Mike Gesell and Adam Woodbury came up big in the North Carolina win, and Dom Uhl has been a pleasant surprise for Hawkeye fans, giving them a look into the future of the program.

Would a few more wins solidify this argument? Yes, but so far, certain players have been good; it’s time for them to put things together.

Jacob Sheyko, basketball reporter: I’m going to sell this one, and it’s not because an 8-3 record at this point in the season is unacceptable. It’s because Iowa has put itself in position to win numerous games and just hasn’t pulled them out.

Iowa led No. 9 Texas by 6 points at halftime, it trailed by just 5 against Syracuse, missing several opportunities in the second half to get a win in New York City. And then most recently, the Hawks missed an opportunity to take out its in-state rival at home while No. 13 Iowa State was missing one of its best players.

The North Carolina win was big, but you get the feeling that there could have been at least one more quality win.

Buy or Sell: Peter Jok will start before the season is over

Payne: Buy. At some point in the season, Iowa is going to need someone who can take the bull by the horns and score in big games. White has shown an ability to do that, but Jok may have a higher ceiling in those situations.

That’s not to say Jok will take White’s spot, he’d likely step in for Clemmons, who has less scoring ability. When it gets deep into the Big Ten season, think of Jok as a guy who can give Iowa an early lead (à la Devyn Marble against Michigan last year). Is he as good of a player as Marble? Absolutely not.

But like the former Hawkeye, he has the “give me the ball, I’m going to score” mentality, which is something very, very valuable to have in the starting lineup.

Sheyko: I’m selling this. Jok has been a pleasant surprise these past three games, and for all we know, his evolution could be happening right in front of our eyes. However, Clemmons still has a stronghold on the starting spot.

Clemmons is probably the best perimeter defender on the team, and he’s more than capable offensively. But I think the biggest factor working in Clemmons’ favor in terms of staying in the starting lineup has been the bench’s shaky play early.

Some of the bench players are new to the program, and some are still trying to find their shot, but it’s likely that head coach Fran McCaffery would like to bring some sure scoring off the bench with Jok.

Buy or Sell: Should Iowa be favored against UNI?

Payne: Sell. Iowa may finish the season with a better record, but the Panthers should be favored in this game. Although a bit undersized, Seth Tuttle is dangerous down low, and Wes Washpun is coming off a 27-point performance against Virginia Commonwealth. He’s shooting a cool 60 percent, too.

Iowa knows UNI is no joke, and it’s almost impossible not to favor a team shooting 48 percent from the floor against Iowa, which has made 42 percent of its shots.

Sheyko: Buy, but only in knowing that this game will likely come down to the final possessions.
There’s bound to be some overreaction to Iowa’s latest loss to Iowa State. However, I think the Hawkeyes match up better with Northern Iowa than Iowa State.

Northern Iowa has ground out games defensively — it’s only eclipsed 70 points five times this season — and the Panthers are not strong in the rebounding category (33.7 per game, 236th in the nation). That fits Iowa’s style, and should make for an interesting matchup.

Follow @dannyapayne and @JacobSheyko on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa men’s basketball team.


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