Iowa hosts Simpson College in men's basketball

Oct. 29, 2007

Iowa-Simpson Game Notes
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Todd’s Media Day press conference (Oct. 29) | Todd speaks to Talkin’ Black & Gold | Watch: Iowa vs. Simpson Live!

IOWA CITY — The University of Iowa opens the men’s basketball season Thursday with an exhibition against Division III Simpson College, but Head Coach Todd Lickliter still had football on his mind Monday at his weekly media conference in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Lickliter remained jubilant following Iowa’s 34-27 double-overtime victory against Michigan State on Oct. 27, a contest that preceded the Black & Gold Blowout featuring his charges.

“What does that say when things look bad and you stay the course, you stay true and you’ve got character and leadership and then you come out on top?” Lickliter asked. “Saturday was incredible and it was so much fun to be a Hawkeye. That sets a good example for all of us, doesn’t it?”

It will be Lickliter and the basketball Hawkeyes on center stage Nov. 1 against the Storm from the Iowa Conference. Tip-off from Carver-Hawkeye Arena is 7:05 p.m. The contest is Iowa’s annual “Miracle Game” which is presented by the Children’s Miracle Network and benefits the Children’s Hospital of Iowa.

Barring injury or foul trouble, Lickliter said that you can expect playing time to be divided equally among 11 players. With 200 minutes to share, each Hawkeye could see at least 18 minutes of action. The most popular question in the preseason concerns the status of the Iowa starting five. Lickliter appeared apologetic that the starters have not been made public, but he wants to utilize the next three practices before making a final decision.

“I’m not sure who will be starting right now,” Lickliter said. “I have a feeling of what we’ll do, but I’m not positive. Sorry.”

NCAA rules allow either two exhibition games, two closed scrimmages or an exhibition and a closed scrimmage. Iowa opted for the latter this season. Lickliter said a closed scrimmage allows him to “coach through some things” and that’s why he favors going up against an outside opponent in a closed setting. The exhibition against Simpson will not be a controlled setting, but it will allow all the Iowa players to re-acclimate to a live game situation while incorporating the new Hawkeye system.

“The players really care and they’re trying to do what we ask of them, so now they’re having to think, so they’re not playing at the kind of speed it takes,” Lickliter said. “Hopefully we’ll get a little closer to doing that (against Simpson). We’ll let them go in a less-controlled environment against someone who’s not familiar to us.”

“What does that say when things look bad and you stay the course, you stay true and you’ve got character and leadership and then you come out on top? Saturday was incredible and it was so much fun to be a Hawkeye. That sets a good example for all of us, doesn’t it?”
UI basketball Coach Todd Lickliter

Last season Simpson was 18-9 overall, 10-6 in the Iowa Conference. The Storm return senior point guard Brennen Tubaugh, who averaged 5.3 points a game in a reserve role. Junior forward David Ferezy (4.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg) is the lone returning starter. During Simpson’s last outing a season ago, the Storm dropped a 69-52 decision at Loras College and then-head coach Chad Walthal. Walthal is now an assistant on Lickliter’s staff.

Lickliter was relaxed and somewhat comedic during the 30-minute briefing. When asked if this was his favorite time of the season, he replied:

“My favorite time of year has been March, if you’re still playing. I like each situation and what that has to offer, but I have found that if you’re playing in the second week of March, that seems to be an enjoyable time.”

Reporter: “You ran some 2-3 (zone) on Saturday…”

Coach Lickliter: “It was pretty. It was pretty, wasn’t it? We’re not opposed to playing it some, but it was really more of a situation where it was for the offense than for the defense.”

Reporter: “Did you contemplate adding any walk-ons to the mix to try to build some numbers?”

Coach Lickliter: “I just told (assistant coaches) Joel Cornette and LaVall Jordan to get in shape.”

Iowa’s first “official” game will be Friday, Nov. 9, against Idaho State at 8:05 p.m., from Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

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