Nov. 6, 2013
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IOWA CITY, Iowa —Don’t be deceived by UNC Wilmington’s 2012-13 record of 10-20, University of Iowa head men’s basketball coach Fran McCaffery warns.
“This is not an easy opening game by any means,” he said Wednesday at a news conference inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Iowa hosts the Seahawks on Mediacom Court on Friday with tipoff scheduled for 8:32 p.m. (CT).
“They have tremendous quickness on the perimeter in particular,” McCaffery said of UNC Wilmington. “They have similar depth to what we have and they are going to go at least 10 deep. Then you add a fifth-year senior point guard to settle everybody down.”
The Seahawks return five of their top six scorers from a year ago, including senior guard Chris Dixon, who averaged 13.6 points, four rebounds and 4.5 assists over the final 15 games. Sophomore guard Craig Ponder reached double digits 10 times last season and twice scored more than 20 points in a game.
UNC Wilmington played two exhibition games, defeating Belmont Abbey 101-51 on Oct. 30 and Methodist 92-51 on Nov. 2.
“They realized what I was saying and tried to effect change. You want to see improvement as an understanding of what is expected.”
UI head basketball coach
The Hawkeyes are coming off an 87-65 exhibition win against Augustana (Ill.) on Nov. 3. The effort didn’t sit well with UI junior forward Aaron White.
“This team hasn’t won anything,” White said after the exhibition. “We’ve got to prove, on the floor, what people are saying about us.”
McCaffery appreciated White’s comments, saying it is what the team needs.
“I can’t be the only one that says it,” McCaffery said. “Someone in that locker room has to say it.”
The Hawkeyes have responded well after Sunday’s scolding.
“They realized what I was saying and tried to effect change,” McCaffery said. “You want to see improvement as an understanding of what is expected.”
Eleven Hawkeyes scored in the exhibition win, led by White and senior Zach McCabe with 16 points apiece. Sophomore center Adam Woodbury scored 10 points with 11 rebounds in 18 minutes; McCaffery said he wants the 7-foot-1 post to be a consistent “double-double guy.”
“He has been spectacular,” McCaffery said of Woodbury. “He has been rebounding, running, out-letting, moving his feet. He has been physical and he has been passing the ball well. We are able to run the offense through him and he has been scoring a lot better.”
Friday’s game marks the 500th men’s basketball game to be played in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Iowa will play its first five games at home.
The Hawkeyes play Nebraska-Omaha on Sunday with a 3:30 p.m. (CT) start.