March 16, 2012
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EUGENE, Ore. – After five hours of traveling, the University of Iowa men’s basketball team arrived in the Pacific Northwest. Iowa plays Oregon of the Pac-12 Conference Sunday at 4 p.m. (CT) in Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene in the second round of the NIT.
The team departed Cedar Rapids via team charter at approximately 10 a.m. (CT). The first leg of the trip was a two-hour flight to Sheridan, Wyoming. While the plane refueled, the team got a chance to stretch their legs and check out the scenic mountains.
After 30 minutes, the team boarding the charter for another two-hour flight and arrived in Eugene at approximately 1:15 p.m. local time.
The team was able to travel to Oregon a day earlier than it would on normal road trips due to the student-athletes not having classes this week (spring break).
“I think it was important for us to come out two days before to get accustomed to the time change and our surroundings,” said head coach Fran McCaffery. “We will head over to the gym tonight and will also have a practice over there tomorrow afternoon in preparation for our game.”
For many of the Hawkeyes, traveling this far west is a new experience for them.
“I’ve never been west of Kansas, so this is different for me,” said sophomore Roy Devyn Marble. “That said, we are excited to be here. We are looking forward to having a couple good practices and playing Oregon on Sunday.”
“I played in a couple AAU tournaments in Las Vegas and Los Angeles last year, but this is my first visit to the Pacific Northwest,” said freshman Aaron White.
Senior co-captain Matt Gatens said the team isn’t interested in resting on their laurels from Tuesday night.
“We played well and beat a very good Dayton team the other night,” said Gatens. “But we aren’t satisfied; we continue to learn and grow from each experience, and want to carry our momentum into our next game.”
After watching tape of Oregon the last couple days, White said he expects another up-tempo game.
“We both like to get up-and-down the floor, so it should be an exciting game,” said White.
To keep up-to-date with photos and other timely information this weekend follow the team via twitter at @IowaHoops and facebook.com/hawkeyehoops.
On an NIT scheduling note, Northwestern plays at Washington tonight in Seattle at 9 p.m. (CT) on ESPNU. The winner of that game will play the winner of Iowa-Oregon in the NIT quarterfinals on Tuesday, March 20.