Dec. 27, 2011
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — The ante is going up for the University of Iowa men’s basketball team. The Hawkeyes open Big Ten Conference play tomorrow night against Purdue.
The Boilermakers bring a 10-3 record into Carver-Hawkeye Arena after posting an 81-56 victory over IPFW on Dec. 20 in West Lafayette, Ind. The Hawkeyes were also victorious over the Mastodons this season, winning 82-72 on Nov. 26.
“They’ve got some weapons starting with (Robbie) Hummel,” said UI head coach Fran McCaffery on a Tuesday media teleconference. “Hummel and (Ryne) Smith with (Lewis) Jackson having the ball. Those three really present problems for any team that would play them.”
Hummel, who missed parts of the last two seasons with knee injuries, paces the Boilermakers in scoring at 17.5 points per game, while Smith and Jackson average 11.0 and 10.8 points, respectively. Hummell is also leading the team in rebounding (5.9) and blocks (1.5).
“They’re (Big Ten defenses are) going to get after him. That will really start tomorrow. Purdue gets after every point guard, and he’s got to handle it. His assist-to-turnover numbers are as good as anyone in the country, and that’s what we need from him for us to win.”
UI head coach Fran McCaffery on Roy Devyn Marble
“Hummel is as complete a player as you’ll ever see,” said McCaffery. “I have been impressed with how he’s come back a second time, and the role he’s in. He’s still the guy. That’s not easy to do when you’re coming off of two knee surgeries. He makes big shots, big plays and settles everyone down.”
Purdue is also a stout defensive team, limiting teams to 59.6 points and 39.4 percent shooting from the floor and 33.6 percent from 3-point range.
“They really defend,” said McCaffery. “That’s been a staple of their teams since (head coach) Matt (Painter) has been there and when (former head coach) Gene Keady was there. You’re going to have to beat them.”
With his consistent play over the course of the past month, sophomore guard Roy Devyn Marble will be a marked man for opposing defenses. He’s averaged 15.5 points and 7.3 assists over the past six games, and has a 48-to-12 assist-to-turnover ratio on the season.
“They’re (Big Ten defenses are) going to get after him,” said McCaffery. “That will really start tomorrow. Purdue gets after every point guard, and he’s got to handle it. His assist-to-turnover numbers are as good as anyone in the country, and that’s what we need from him for us to win.”
Freshman Aaron White has come on for the Hawkeyes over the past three games, averaging 15 points on 64.3 percent (18-of-25) shooting to go along with 5.3 rebounds. The forward finished with 18 points and six rebounds in the Dec. 23 victory over Boise State, which led to him being named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week on Dec. 26.
“He’s gotten a lot of minutes,” said McCaffery. “He’s shot the ball well, rebounded well and made big plays when we’ve needed them.”
“They all have to be right in the middle of everything,” he said. “I expect a lot out of each and every one of them. They’re going to be on the floor and have opportunities to shoot and make plays. What they have to be is consistent winning players.”
McCaffery is looking for the Hawkeyes to get off to a solid start in Big Ten play to build confidence.
“The Big Ten is one tough game after another,” said McCaffery. “It’s important we come into the game with the right mindset, follow the game plan and play well. That’s critical.
“All we’re trying to do is prepare for the next opponent and play well. If we play well then we’ll try to continue to get better.”
Tomorrow’s game will be televised on the BTN beginning at 8:36 p.m. (CT). Eric Collins and Tim Doyle will call the action.