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Hawkeyes, Ducks are expecting to fly


This news story was published on March 18, 2012.
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John Bohnenkamp, The Hawk Eye, Burlington, Iowa –

The Iowa basketball team is on the road, ready to run.

The Hawkeyes play at Oregon in today’s 4 p.m. second-round NIT game, and neither team is going to be interested in a slow pace.

Oregon averages 72.9 points per game, while Iowa averages 72.3.

The Ducks have made 229 3-pointers in 32 games, while Iowa has shot 191 in 34 games.

Oregon scored 96 points in Tuesday’s first-round win over LSU, while Iowa scored 84 in a win over Dayton

In other words, this game will be about offense.

“They’re going to push it on makes and misses,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “There are a lot of similarities there between the two teams.”

“The style’s a little bit like ours,” senior guard Matt Gatens said. “They like to run, they like to press. That’s the kind of game we like to play.”

“They’re really an aggressive offensive team,” sophomore forward Zach McCabe said. “We’ve faced stuff like that all year, it’s nothing new.”

Not only are the styles familiar, but the Hawkeyes will see some familiar faces on the Ducks’ roster.

Senior guard Devoe Joseph is a transfer from Minnesota. Joseph, who sat out last season, scored 29 points in two games against the Hawkeyes in the 2009-10 season.

Senior forward Ola Ashaolu played for Louisiana Tech last season, and transferred to Oregon under the NCAA rule that allows players who have graduated to go to another school to complete their final year of eligibility. He had 18 points and 11 rebounds against the Hawkeyes in a game on Dec. 21, 2010, one of his 28 career double-doubles.

Joseph, who scored 25 points in the win over LSU in the first round, is averaging 17 points per game as a starter, while Ashaolu comes off the bench and averages 8.5 points and 5.1 rebounds.

“(Ashaolu) has got a real unique skill set,” McCaffery said. “He can put it on the deck, he can run the floor. And he’s coming off the bench. (Joseph is) great in transition, and also good in the half-court.”

Forward E.J. Singler averages 13 points, while guard Garrett Sim averages 12.

“Obviously they have talent,” Iowa forward Melsahn Basabe said. “But I think we can beat them.”

The Ducks (23-9) were disappointed they didn’t get into the NCAA tournament, but Tuesday’s victory changed their mood.

“We get to play another game,” Joseph said after the win. “As a senior I want to play as long as possible. We want to take advantage of the home court and hopefully make it to the (NIT) final four.”

The Hawkeyes (18-16) are also glad to keep playing.

“We can keep doing it,” Gatens said. “We just need to keep playing at a high level.”

“It’s just going to come down to who can take care of the ball,” McCaffery said. “Both teams like to play the same way, so it depends on who can make the fewest mistakes.

“They’re a pretty unique team,” McCabe said. “But I think we’re ready.”

The Hawkeyes traveled to Eugene on Friday and practiced after their arrival and again on Saturday.

The long trip wasn’t much of a concern. Nor was the Ducks’ style of play.

“At the end of the day, we’re still playing basketball,” Basabe said. “It’s not like they’re doing something we haven’t seen.”

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