March 17, 2012
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EUGENE, Ore. — The University of Iowa men’s basketball team held its final practice Saturday afternoon at Matthew Knight Arena in preparation for tomorrow’s second-round NIT game against Oregon.
The game tips off at 4:05 p.m. (CT) and will be televised on ESPNU and streamed online at ESPN3.com. Roxy Bernstein and Miles Simon will call the action.
Assistant coach Andrew Francis has been studying Oregon the past few days preparing the scouting report for the Hawkeyes. Francis says the Ducks are a talented team that is very quick, athletic and aggressive offensively.
Eight of Oregon’s 13-player roster is comprised of upperclassmen. Francis says their experience and veteran squad is one of their strengths.
“They aren’t going to be intimated by the situation,” said Francis. “We have to respect how good and confident they play at home. They’re going to throw some different presses at us and try to speed the game. It’s going to be a good challenge for us.”
Francis said he has been impressed with how the Hawkeyes have grown and matured during the season.
“As the year has progressed, our guys have really grown up with how we prepare and how we get focused for each opponent,” Francis said. “Our guys did a really good job after a long day of travel of coming in and having a good practice yesterday. We were back at it today with another solid practice. You can see the maturation in this team.”
Francis said three main keys to the Hawkeyes in advancing to the quarterfinals are valuing the basketball, defensive rebounding, and offensive aggressiveness and execution.
“One of the biggest keys is that we need to take care of the basketball,” said Francis. “We need to keep our turnovers down. Also, we need to take care of the defensive glass. Oregon is very athletic, very active on the glass and relies on second-chance points. We also need to be able to handle their changing and pressure defenses. If we can attack them for scores it will give us a good chance to win the basketball game.”
The team will have a team dinner tonight at the hotel and then rest the remainder of the night before tomorrow’s game.
Sunday will mark the team’s first game on the West Coast since Dec. 19, 1993 when the Hawkeyes played at Cal-Irvine.