College Basketball Top 25: #22 Iowa Hawkeyes


Roy Devyn Marble could be one of the best players in the Big Ten in 2014. (Iowa Athletics)

22. Iowa Hawkeyes

When Fran McCaffery took over in Iowa City, he was tasked with bringing his up-tempo offense to the slug-it-out Big Ten, where scoreboards went to die. Three years in, and Iowa is ready to break out. Led by 6-6 senior guard Roy Devyn Marble (15 ppg, 3 apg), the Hawkeyes should make the jump to NCAA Tournament team and conference contender this season. Iowa returns almost everyone of consequence from last season’s 25-win team, including Marble, who will serve as the lynchpin for this talented and tall group. The son of Hawkeyes legend Roy Marble, RDM has the chance to leave his own mark on the program, and could emerge as one of the best players in the Big Ten.

Outside of Marble, Iowa returns leading rebounder Aaron White (6.8 per) and brings in Top 100 recruit Jarrod Uthoff, who transferred from Wisconsin. The Hawks are stacked inside, with seven players listed at 6-7 or taller. One of those guys is forward Zach McCabe, who coaches believe may develop into the team’s best defender. Speaking of defense, the Hawkeyes were among the nation’s stingiest teams last season, allowing just opponents to shoot just 39.5 percent from the field and 29.5 percent from the three-point line last season.

BOTTOM LINE: If nothing else, the Hawkeyes should be fun to watch in Fran McCaffery’s run-and-gun system. McCaffery has had success at every level he’s coached, and transformed Siena from downtrodden MAAC program into a mid-major monster who earned a No. 9 seed in the NCAAs, knocked off Ohio State and scared the living crap out of top-seeded Louisville in 2009. Everything seems to be going according to plan at Iowa, which has momentum and finally, the players to compete in the rugged Big Ten.

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