Oct. 26, 2008
CHICAGO, Illinois – – The Big Ten Conference hosted its annual “Basketball Media Day” Sunday morning at the O’Hare Marriott. All 11 men and women’s head coaches, along with student-athletes from each institution met the media for three hours.
Representing Iowa’s men’s squad were Coach Todd Lickliter and senior co-captain Cyrus Tate, a Chicago native. The Hawkeyes concluded the first week of practice Saturday with an open scrimmage in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, and both Lickliter and Tate were pleased with the workout.
“Saturday was good for us in a number of ways,” said Lickliter. “Our veterans have done a good job through the first week and the young guys have brought a lot of energy. Adding the fans to the mix was a good finish to the first week.”
Tate came on strong a year ago in Big Ten play as Lickliter and his staff completed their first season in Iowa City. Tate averaged 8.3 points and 5.4 rebounds a game. His 70.2% field goal percentage in Big Ten games was best in the league.
“Just getting out there and executing our plays was good experience for us,” said Tate, one of two seniors on the Hawkeye squad. “It gives us an indication of what is working and the areas we need to work on. The young guys are picking up the concepts of what the coaches are looking for. It’s been good in that both the coaches and the returning players can help them learn the system and what is expected as this level.”
Purdue was named as the pre-season favorite for the conference title, ahead of Michigan State and defending champion Wisconsin. Only the top three men’s teams were listed. Wisconsin claimed both the regular season title and the post-season tournament championship a year ago. Purdue was second and Michigan State fourth.
Purdue returns all five starters from a year ago, including 82% of its scoring. The Boilermakers posted a 25-9 overall record and a 15-3 league mark. Purdue’s Robbie Hummel was named the pre-season Player of the Year. He earned first team all-conference honors a year ago as a true freshman.
Michigan State returns four of its top five scorers and 11 lettermen from the team that posted a 27-9 record last season. Michigan State’s Raymar Morgan joined Hummel on the pre-season all-conference team, along with Manny Harris of Michigan, E’Twaun Moore from Purdue and Wisconsin’s Marcus Landry. Landry is the only senior on the pre-season squad.
Iowa opens the season Sunday, November 9 with an exhibition contest against Wayne State (1:05 p.m., Mediacom Connections). The regular season begins Friday, Nov. 14 when the Hawkeyes host Charleston Southern.