March 18, 2013
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Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
IOWA CITY, Iowa — After earning its first postseason berth in six years a year ago and advancing to the NIT second round, the University of Iowa men’s basketball team earned its second consecutive NIT appearance Sunday and has aspirations to make more noise in this year’s tournament.
The NIT journey begins Wednesday at 6 p.m. (CT) when the third-seeded Hawkeyes host sixth-seeded Indiana State (18-14). The game will be televised on ESPN2.
“We’re thrilled with the opportunity to play in a phenomenal NIT field and host a first round game,” said UI head coach Fran McCaffery. “I hope that we continue to work hard, prepare, remain unselfish and continue to support each other and continue to get better. We’ve had a tremendous season, so far, and we want that to continue and feel really good about where we are and where we’re headed.”
Season ticket holders can order tickets until noon (CT) today. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for UI students and younger. Season ticket holders may order as many tickets as they would like, but seat locations are not guaranteed to be the same as during the season.
Tickets will go on sale to the general public beginning at 1 p.m. (CT) today. Tickets may be ordered online, at hawkeyesports.com, by calling 1-800-IA-HAWKS, or in person at the UI Athletic Ticket Office in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The ticket office windows are open daily from 9 a.m. to noon and 1-5 p.m.
This marks Iowa’s seventh appearance in the NIT. Iowa also appeared in the 1995, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2012 tournaments. The Hawkeyes’ best finish in the NIT was in 1995 when Iowa advanced to the quarterfinals. The Hawkeyes have played 11 games all-time in the NIT and hold a record of 5-6. Ten of its 11 NIT games have been decided by nine points or less.
Eric May is excited to continue his collegiate career and knows the NIT field is extremely deep this year.
“There are a lot of teams that want to be playing right now that aren’t,” said May, a senior co-captain. “We’ve worked all season long, and this will be a great opportunity. (Indiana State) beat some really good teams this year. They’re a tough team, so we have to bring it. It’s going to be a good game.”
Junior Roy Devyn Marble, who averages a team-best 14.1 points, is looking forward to Wednesday.
“It’s definitely a good thing for us to be able to continue playing,” said Marble. “That’s always an honor and a blessing. We’re looking forward to it and making sure we stay focused and take care of business. We’re going to come in with the same focus and mindset we’d have if they were a Big Ten team.”
Indiana State finished fifth in the Missouri Valley with a 9-9 league mark. The Sycamores are led by junior Jake Odum, who was a first team All-Missouri Valley Conference selection. The guard, who averages 13.8 points and 4.6 assists, is only the sixth player in school history to earn first team All-MVC honors. He ranks in the top-10 in the league in scoring, assists and steals. Manny Arop is next on the team with 12.4 points per game and averages a team-best 5.2 rebounds.
“We have tremendous respect for Indiana State,” said McCaffery. “They have some incredibly impressive wins, and they’ve got some really good players. We know what’s in store for us.”
Wednesday will mark only the second ever meeting between the Hawkeyes and Sycamores. The two teams previously played on Dec. 16, 1940, in 39-37 Iowa victory.
One of sophomore Aaron White’s favorite Hawkeye memories is last year’s home NIT contest.
“Looking back on my freshman season, the Dayton game may have been the most fun we had all year,” White said. “Our fans were really loud; hopefully we get the same atmosphere Wednesday night.”
McCaffery, who will coach in game No. 100 at Iowa on Wednesday, hopes Hawkeye fans will duplicate last year’s turnout.
“We sold 13,800 tickets in 12 hours for last year’s first round game,” said McCaffery. “We need our fans to do that again for us because our student body is on spring break. We’re relying on our fan base to create an electric atmosphere.”
The winner of the Iowa-Indiana State first round contest will meet Massachusetts (21-11) or Stony Brook (24-7) in the second round.