What a big difference the 2010 Big Ten season and the 2011 Big Ten season are for Iowa. Record is not one of the major differences, but conversations are when you listen to the Big Ten Network announcers or simply the Iowa fan base. While Iowa isn't picking up too many wins yet, they are gaining respect in how they are competing and making opponents work.
Iowa took both Wisconsin and Michigan to OT in February, only to lose on the last shot. Iowa didn't win on Saturday at Illinois, but they competed and played hard for forty minutes. The difference in the Illini's senior leadership vs. Iowa's sole senior, #50 Jarrayd Cole, really showed the contrast between the two programs.
Iowa is young. Though, so is Michigan and the Wolverines aren't where they need to be yet either. Experience is a big factor, when it comes to success in the Big Ten. Next year, both Iowa and Michigan should be interesting to watch, since they are both very young.
Iowa's best win to date was at home vs. Michigan State, who are aiming for another NCAA date in 2011. Iowa's final two Big Ten games are at Michigan State on Wednesday night, then Senior Day at Carver-Hawkeye Arena vs. Purdue on the weekend.
Will Iowa make a major move in 2011-12 in the Big Ten?
Iowa's last NCAA Tournament win came ten years ago, when Iowa was a #7 seed and beat Creighton in the First Round only to fall to Kentucky in the Second Round. Iowa was coached by Steve Alford, now at New Mexico, who was in his second season as head coach at Iowa. Alford lead Iowa to two more NCAA Tournaments, but no wins.
Fran McCaffery should enter season two with all, but one major contributor back. Cole has been a captain for three seasons at Iowa and is playing very well as the sole senior on the 2010-11 squad. Cole's leadership will be missed, along with his post defense and hard work inside and with a mid-range jump shot, which has improved as a senior.
Experience is extremely important in Big Ten basketball ...
## Player-Team Cl G Minutes Avg/G
1.Battle, Talor-PSU................. SR 16 622 38.88
2.Thompson, Michael-NU...... SR 16 612 38.25
3.Diebler,Jon-OSU.................. SR 15 569 37.93
4.Taylor, Jordan-WIS............ JR 15 564 37.60
5.Johnson, JaJuan-PUR........ SR 15 541 36.07
6.Hoffarber, Blake-MINN..... SR 16 574 35.88
7.Novak, Zack-MICH............. JR 17 605 35.59
8.Lucas, Kalin-MSU............... SR 15 531 35.40
9.Sullinger,Jared-OSU........... FR 15 530 35.33
10.Gatens, Matt-IOWA......... JR 16 565 35.31
11.Morris, Darius-MICH....... SO 17 600 35.29
12.Leuer, Jon-WIS................. SR 15 529 35.27
13.Davis, Mike-ILL................ SR 16 557 34.81
14.Moore, E'Twaun-PUR...... SR 15 522 34.80
15.Cartwright, Bryce-IOWA.. JR 16 552 34.50
It has been a long time, since Iowa had much senior leadership to draw upon, like the majority of Big Ten programs this season. Next season, three seniors should be key contributors, along with Iowa's mix of young talent that Coach McCaffery will have to draw from.