Oct. 12, 2006
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- The Hawkeyes’ 2006-07 Schedule
- The Hawkeyes’ 2006-07 Roster
IOWA CITY — Steve Alford probably doesn’t count sheep to fall asleep these days. No, the University of Iowa’s head basketball coach probably counts questions marks.
Where does the defense come from?
Who fills the void left by the departure of Greg Brunner?
Who fills the void left by the departure of Jeff Horner?
Who fills the void left by the departure of Erek Hansen
Who fills the void left by the depature of Doug Thomas
Who provides the leadership that was the by-product of the five seniors on the roster a year ago?
Who cleans the glass in a league where rebounding is so important?
Who is the sixth man that will take the Hawkeyes to another level on the court?
Who provides that the leadership on defense, the piece of the game that the ’06 Hawkeyes were dominant? “Sure, there are lots of question marks. Last year was special with lots of special players,” Alford said at the top of the activities that comprised Iowa Basketball Media Day 2006-07.
“A year ago you look at the roster and you see lots of asterisks. Lots of players that were letterwinners and had great experience. We don’t have those numbers this year, but we certainly have the potential. We’ll just have to see how we develop,” said Alford, who is entering his eighth season at the UI.
Alford like the enthusiasm and athleticism of this year’s squad. The latter has been a focus of recruiting for the past few years and will remain a focus. “We’re going to be significantly more athletic which is going to be fun for us as a team and fun for our fans,” Alford said.
However, Alford won’t let the athleticism of the group steer him away from a fundamental of Big Ten basketball: Defense.
“The defense played by last year’s team was as good as it gets in college basketball. This squad has to accept that challenge. We want to play up and down and be up-tempo, but we also need to play great defense,” said Alford.
“A year ago you look at the roster and you see lots of asterisks. Lots of players that were letterwinners and had great experience. We don’t have those numbers this year, but we certainly have the potential. We’ll just have to see how we develop.”
Iowa’s coach said this year’s squad will probably play much more man-to-man and full-court pressure. “I think we can extend our defense a little bit because we have some depth at the guard position,” he added.
The 2006-07 Hawkeyes inherit the third longest home winning streak in the nation and all are aware that last year’s squad was unbeaten in Carver-Hawkeye Arena last year. “The guys understand how important it is to protect your home court,” said Alford.
The home schedule includes marquee non-conference games against Northern Iowa and Iowa State in early December. It also includes eight Big Ten Conference games including the league season opener against Michigan State in early January and the regular season finale against Illinois in March.
“This team will need to use the non-conference season, November and December, to get ready for the league campapign,” said Alford. “I’m optimistic that this group is up to that challenge.”
In terms of strengths – the 2006-07 Hawkeyes do have some – Alford really likes his guards. Adam Haluska will be counted on to score and to provide leadership. Ditto for Mike Henderson. “Tony Freeman has great potential to be one of our team leaders. He’s vocal, had a great summer and a very good fall,” Alford said of the sophomore from Maywood, Ill.
Iowa enters 2006-07 seeking its seventh consecutive winning season. The current streak of six straight ranks as the second longest in the history of men’s basketball at the UI.