March 26, 2013
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — The University of Iowa men’s basketball team finished its second day of preparation for Virginia today at John Paul Jones Arena. The Cavaliers and Hawkeyes meet in the NIT quarterfinals tomorrow night at 6:03 p.m. (CT).
The Hawkeyes flew via charter yesterday afternoon and arrived in Charlottesville at approximately 5:30 p.m. The team went straight from the airport to the gym for a two-hour practice, followed by dinner and a film session.
On Tuesday afternoon, the team had another two-hour hour workout; mainly concentrating on the scouting report. UI assistant coach Kirk Speraw has the Cavalier scout and believes they are similar to Big Ten-foe Wisconsin.
“They are very patient and will work the offense a long time,” said Speraw. “We are going to have to play great defense for the entire 35 seconds. We are going to have to get out and run, and attack before their defense gets set both on makes and misses. They are extremely sound in their offensive game; they run a lot of motion.”
Speraw says the scout team, which learns the opposing team’s offense and defensive sets, has done a good job preparing the team for the game.
“(Virginia) is a team that doesn’t turn the ball over. We want to try to force turnovers, and at the same time, we need to possess the basketball and play smart. Our practices have been focused and intense. We’ll be ready to go tomorrow night.”
UI junior Roy Devyn Marble
“Our scout team has done a good job trying to simulate what Virginia will do,” Speraw said. “I think we have a good feel of what to expect.
“Virginia is an outstanding basketball team. They’ve won 19-straight at home so this is a very tough arena to play in. It’s a matter of handling the environment, their runs and making sure we have great patience and execution on the offensive end.”
Iowa is in the midst of its second trip to the state of Virginia to square off against an ACC opponent; the Hawkeyes played at Virginia Tech on Nov. 27 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
Junior Roy Devyn Marble has elevated his game in the postseason, averaging 26 points and 5.5 assists in Hawkeye victories over Indiana State (68-52) and Stony Brook (75-63). Marble believes turnovers will be key to the Hawkeyes leaving Charlottesville with their third true road victory of the year.
“(Virginia) is a team that doesn’t turn the ball over,” said Marble. “We want to try to force turnovers, and at the same time, we need to possess the basketball and play smart. Our practices have been focused and intense. We’ll be ready to go tomorrow night.”
Senior Eric May says that being one victory from the team’s first-ever NIT semifinals appearance in New York City is a motivating factor.
“We had some really good practices,” said May, a co-captain. “It’s going to be important that we communicate on defense and execute our offense sets tomorrow night. Virginia is an excellent team. We are ready for tomorrow night’s opportunity.”
Wednesday will be only the second-ever meeting between the Hawkeyes and Cavaliers. The two previously met in the first round of the 1997 NCAA Tournament in Salt Lake City — a 73-60 Iowa victory.
The team will have another film session tonight and a Wednesday afternoon shootaround before hitting the hardwood against the Cavaliers tomorrow night. The game will be televised on ESPN2 (HD).