Hawkeyes Look Forward to 2008 Basketball Season

March 14, 2007

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With four starters returning from a team that posted a seventh straight winning season in 2007, Iowa’s basketball outlook for 2007-08 is bright as the Hawkeyes look to the future.

Iowa’s consecutive winning streak matches the streak from 1950-56 as the longest in school history, as Coach Steve Alford is the only Hawkeye coach to direct seven straight winning seasons. Iowa posted a 9-7 record in Big Ten Conference play, earning a tie for fourth place. The Hawkeyes were the fourth seed in the Big Ten Tournament by virtue of the tie-breaker advantage vs. Illinois and Purdue.

Iowa concluded the season with a 14-2 mark in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, improving its home record to 44-5 over the past three years, the best three-year mark in school history. Iowa is also 20-4 in Big Ten home games over the past three seasons, the past three-year record since the Big Ten began playing more than 14 conference games in 1974.

As a young team the Hawkeyes started slow while playing five of their first six games on the road. Iowa was also short-handed in the early going, as senior guard Mike Henderson suffered a fractured pinkie finger on his right hand and did not play in the first seven games of the season. The Hawkeyes began the season with two wins before suffering losses to Alabama and Villanova in the Paradise Jam and road losses at Arizona State and Virginia Tech. The Hawkeyes won their own Hawkeye Challenge and recorded a 77-59 win over Iowa State.

The non-conference season also included losses to Northern Iowa and Drake before Iowa won three straight games to enter conference play with an 8-6 record and a little momentum. The Hawkeyes defeated 24th-ranked Michigan State to begin league play. Iowa lost consecutive league games on just one occasion (at Indiana & at Ohio State) and defeated eight of 10 conference opponents. The Hawkeyes closed the regular season with a win over Illinois to earn the fourth seed in the Big Ten Tournament, where they lost to Purdue in the quarter-finals.

Facing another strong schedule, Iowa played 16 of 31 games against teams that advanced to post-season play. The Hawkeyes posted a 4-9 record against teams in the 2007 NCAA Tournament and a 2-1 mark against teams in the NIT.

Senior guard Adam Haluska led the Hawkeyes throughout the season. Haluska led the Big Ten in scoring for the entire season (20.5) and in league games only (21.3), becoming the sixth Iowa player to lead the conference in scoring. He ends his Iowa career with 1,578 points. He ranks seventh on Iowa’s career scoring chart and is first among players who played just three seasons. His four year point total stands at 1,862 points.

Haluska was named first team all-Big Ten and he earned first team academic all-American honors, being named the Academic all-American of the Year for Division I men’s basketball. He was a first team all-District selection by the National Association of Basketball Coaches as well.

Henderson, who joined Haluska as the only seniors on the 2007 roster, missed the first seven games due to his hand injury and started just 11 games after starting all 34 games as a junior. Henderson averaged 5.8 points per game and was fourth on the team in scoring, assists and steals.

Freshman Tyler Smith made an immediate impact, leading the team in rebounding (4.9) and ranking second in scoring at 14.9 points per game. Smith also led the team in steals (1.5) and ranked second in assists (3.6) while becoming just the third Iowa freshman to total over 400 points, 100 rebounds and 100 assists. Among Iowa’s all-time freshman leaders, Smith ranks first in steals, second in points, fourth in scoring average and assists and fifth in free throw percentage.

Smith was named to the Big Ten Conference all-Freshman team and was a third team all-Big Ten selection. He has also been named third team Freshman all-America by Collegehoops.com. He was named to the all-tournament team in both the Paradise Jam and the Hawkeye Challenge.

Sophomore Tony Freeman started 17 games and led the team in assists (3.7) while averaging 7.5 points per outing. Junior Center Kurt Looby averaged 4.6 rebounds while starting 19 games. His 53 blocked shots in 2007 rank as the eighth best single-season total in school history.

In addition to the returning players, Iowa’s roster next season will include sophomore David Palmer (6-9, 240) who sat out this past season as a transfer, and three players who signed during the November signing period.

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