Nov. 4, 2015
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By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — It won’t be a typical exhibition contest Friday when the University of Iowa men’s basketball team hosts Augustana (South Dakota) inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The Vikings are the No. 1 ranked NCAA Division II team by two publications and the second-ranked team by another. Augustana returns all five starters and 12 letterwinners from a team that won 31 games last season.
“We have to come to play,” said senior Adam Woodbury. “We had a slow start against Sioux Falls, and we can’t have that against Augustana. They have too good of a team, bring a lot of guys back, and have a good record.
The Hawkeyes led by six points at the half in their Oct. 29 exhibition contest against Sioux Falls. Iowa followed with a 53-point second half to run away with a 99-73 victory.
With Augustana coming to Iowa City, it’s a perfect scenario for UI head coach Fran McCaffery. Iowa will be tested against a quality, experienced team to prepare it for the rigors of facing Marquette, Dayton, and Notre Dame later this month.
“This game will better prepare us for what we’re going to face in the ensuing weeks,” UI head coach Fran McCaffery said Wednesday at a news conference. “They’re going to challenge us in a different way.”
McCaffery is eying a 10-man rotation for the 2015-16 season. Week-by-week, McCaffery says the pieces of the puzzle have been coming together.
“I am a firm believer that you need 10 guys,” said McCaffery. “We clearly have a number of candidates for that. It’s a little bit clearer this week than it was last week and hopefully it will get even clearer. We’re looking for that separation.”
McCaffery wants to make the redshirt call or calls before the start of the regular season. Freshmen Christian Williams, Andrew Fleming, and Ahmad Wagner are likely contributors, meaning the book is open on possible redshirts for Isaiah Moss and Brandon Hutton.
“We need to make the decision soon and then make sure what we think makes sense,” he said. “There will be discussion to why and what we think is best, and then hopefully everybody is all in.”
Friday’s game will tip off at 7:05 p.m. (CT). Admission is $5 for adults and free for UI students and youth. The contest will be streamed live on BTN Plus with Zach Mackey and Jess Settles on the call.