Oct. 29, 2009
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CHICAGO — The Big Ten Conference hosted its annual basketball Media Day on Thursday morning at the Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare. All 11 men’s and women’s head coaches — along with student-athletes from each institution — met the media for four hours.
The Iowa roster is young, but talented, with Big Ten experience. The Hawkeyes return five lettermen, which includes four starters from a year ago, and welcome five newcomers to the fold.
“This is an incredible league,” Lickliter said. “We have 22 out of the top 30 scorers back, we’ve got the all-conference team and all the members back from the first team. The systems are incredible and the coaching is fantastic. It’s a terrific challenge and one that really — if you love the game — you appreciate it. This year our veterans are still young, but it’s fun.”
Bawinkel says the team has worked extremely hard in practice these past two weeks and is ready for the season to start.
“I’m extremely excited to get the season started because it’s a long preseason,” said Bawinkel. “We’re ready to get the games started. The team is gelling. The freshmen are really buying into Coach Lickliter’s system and they’re doing what they need to do to improve.”
The senior from Winnebago, IL, feels like he has really improved defensively since last season.
“I understand where I need to be and how to guard in certain situations,” Bawinkel said. “I think I understand everything a little better after a year of experience.”
After three home games to open the 2009-01 season, the Iowa Hawkeyes play two contests at the O’Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic in Kansas City, MO, which is the hometown of Cole. The junior is excited to head back home and play in front of family and friends.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to play in front of my home crowd,” said Cole. “This will be a really big motivation boost for me.”
Michigan State, last year’s NCAA runner-up, was named the preseason favorite for the conference title, ahead of Purdue and Ohio State. Only the top three men’s teams are revealed.
The Spartans three starters and 12 letterwinners from a team that finished with a 31-7 overall record and a 15-3 conference mark, earning its first outright Big Ten title since 1999. Reigning Big Ten Player of the Year Kalin Lucas of the Spartans was tabbed as the Preseason Player of the Year.
Purdue brings back all five starters and nine letterwinners from a squad that won its first Big Ten Tournament title last season. Joining Lucas on the preseason all-conference team is Purdue’s Robbie Hummel, along with Manny Harris of Michigan, Ohio State’s Evan Turner and Talor Battle of Penn State. All five are juniors. Four of the five players recognized were named first team all-Big Ten last season, with the exception of Hummel, who was a third team honoree.
Iowa will hold a Black and Gold Scrimmage on Saturday, Oct. 31, in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The event will take place approximately 30 minutes after the Indiana at Iowa football game. There will be an autograph session immediately following the scrimmage. Admission is free to the public.
The Hawkeyes open their season Sunday, Nov. 8 with an exhibition contest against Marian (Ind.) University (12:35 p.m.). The regular season tips off Sunday, Nov. 15, when Iowa entertains Texas-San Antonio in Iowa City in a preliminary game of the O’Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic.