Saturday, November 19, 2011

It's time to take my black & gold hat off for Iowa vs. Creighton

From 1974 to 1982, my loyalty was often to the Iowa Hawkeyes, in college basketball. But, in 1982, I enrolled at Creighton University, so on Sunday, November 20Th at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, its Creighton University (3-0) vs. the Iowa Hawkeyes (3-0).

It doesn't happen very often. The last time it happened was over ten years ago, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, with Iowa advancing that day with a 69-56 win. Iowa played the previous two seasons in a home and home vs. Creighton, with the Jays winning both of those games by two and nine points. An earlier game was played in the 1990 non-conference in the old Amana-Hawkeye Classic championship game in Iowa City, losing by six.

Now, it's time for Game 5, since my years at Creighton. It's another neutral court.

Iowa has played three home games. Creighton won on the road at UAB on Wednesday night, 70-60, in the Blazers season opener. It was the first loss at home in the non-conference for UAB, since the 2005 season.

Creighton played at Wells Fargo Arena last season. The Bluejays lost at the buzzer to Iowa State.
This will be the first of three non-conference games vs. Big Ten opponents for the Bluejays this season. First up is Iowa on a neutral court. Creighton will play @ Nebraska and vs. Northwestern at CenturyLink Arena, as well.

Creighton is lead by sophomore Doug McDermott at 20.3 ppg, while Iowa is lead by three year captain, senior Matt Gatens at 16.3 ppg.

Creighton is lead by junior Gregory Echenique at 6.7 rpg, while Iowa is currently lead by a true freshman off the bench in Aaron White at 6.0 rpg.

Creighton is lead by a former Linn-Mar prep, in Gonzaga transfer, junior Grant Gibbs, who is averaging 4.7 apg. Iowa is lead by senior co-captain Bryce Cartwright at 6.3 apg. Cartwright was very solid in assists last season in the Big Ten.

Head coaches:
Both programs are headed by second year coaches. Creighton hired former UNI and ISU coach Greg McDermott, an Iowa native, took replace sixteen year coach Dana Altman, who is now at Oregon. Altman and McDermott squared off to close out the 2011 postseason last year. Former Siena Coach Fran McCaffery took over Todd Lickliter at Iowa last season. McDermott is 5-4 lifetime as a head coach vs. Iowa. This is the first time he has faced McCaffery head to head.

It should be an interesting game. Both teams are playing better than last season, with a deeper roster for each. It will be Iowa's first real test. Creighton passed its first test at UAB on Saturday night, but Iowa is even bigger, since it is a neighboring state and both teams are looking to keep a win streak going.

Some of the players have faced each other before. Iowa's Gatens and Creighton's Gibbs both played against one another in high school in Iowa.

A Creighton win over Iowa would be a great start in Year 2 for coach Greg McDermott. The same can be said for Coach Fran McCaffery. Go Jays! On Iowa!

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