Gophers basketball finds a model to follow in Iowa

  • Article by: AMELIA RAYNO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 18, 2014 - 11:29 PM

Fran McCaffery has the Hawkeyes flying high in his fourth season.

hide

Fran McCaffery’s temper got him ejected at Wisconsin on Jan. 5, and it gave the Badgers four points in a four-point victory.

Photo: Andy Manis • Associated Press,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Having come to Iowa City nearly four years ago, when the bleachers didn’t quite rattle and Fran McCaffery was still a little-known up-and-comer, Devyn Marble has the appreciation that comes with perspective.

Everything, now, seems different for Iowa. The home games, which are all sold out for the rest of the season; the national rankings, which now include the Hawkeyes; Marble’s Facebook page, which has gotten a little crowded.

Iowa basketball, it seems, is hitting a pinnacle it has been steadily building toward since Marble and McCaffery arrived on campus before the 2010-11 season. It is against that backdrop that the Gophers, fresh off an inspiring home victory over No. 11 Ohio State on Thursday, will find themselves when they take the court Sunday in front of another full-house Hawkeyes crowd.

Iowa, too, is coming off a victory over Ohio State — 84-74 last Sunday at Columbus, the first time the program has bested a top-five team (the Buckeyes were No. 3 at the time) in more than 10 years. Iowa (14-3) sits at No. 14 in the AP poll, and the three losses have each been by five points or fewer, all to opponents currently ranked in the top 10: Villanova, Wisconsin and Iowa State.

“It’s grown a lot,” said Marble, whose father, Roy Marble, is Iowa’s all-time leading scorer. “Fans are definitely coming out more and supporting us. Social media is different. Walking to class is different. Just everything. So people are definitely excited about how far we’ve come and are definitely proud of us. When we go out there, we play for more than just ourselves — we know that.”

On Sunday, the Gophers will hope to build on their recent success and push themselves a little closer to the same pinnacle Iowa is experiencing.

It won’t be easy. The Gophers have lost their past two visits to Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Last season, they jumped out to a 21-5 lead before Iowa took over to win 72-51 in perhaps the ugliest loss of the season.

“It was very embarrassing,” center Elliott Eliason said. “We had a huge lead and we just quit and got our butts kicked. They’re playing great basketball right now. They’re a totally different team. They’re a great team right now. We have to have our guard up. We can’t get complacent with this win and go down and get our business handed to us.”

Iowa, which has won 19 consecutive games at home, has size at every position — a matchup aspect that seems a disadvantage for the Gophers. But Minnesota has played well when outsized in a couple of games this season — a loss against Syracuse in Hawaii and a victory over Florida State at home.

The Hawkeyes are extremely balanced, effective at getting out on the break with difference-makers in Marble and Aaron White inside.

And while Iowa has struggled to close out tight games in the past, the Hawkeyes found a way to get over that hurdle against Ohio State, rallying from a nine-point deficit in the second half to finish on a 22-9 run. Two games earlier, Iowa had fallen in a 75-71 heartbreaker at Wisconsin, a game in which the Badgers made four free throws awarded to them after McCaffery was issued two technical fouls and ejected for bumping a referee.

Redemption came a week later, with that coveted road victory at Ohio State.

“For us to go in there and play as well as we did I think says a lot about our progress,” McCaffery said. “We had a number of opportunities in that game to just kind of go away, and we just kept coming.”

A year ago, Iowa showed glimpses of being a team that was a year away from being something special. The Hawkeyes harassed teams defensively with their zone and their press, and they showed spurts of dominance. But six losses by four points or fewer along with zero victories over ranked opponents kept Iowa out of the NCAA tournament.

After a run to the championship game of the NIT, the Hawkeyes — the core of whom now has as much experience playing together as any team in the Big Ten — held a meeting before the start of this season to air out past frustrations and set a new lofty goal: competing for the Big Ten championship.

Right now, that pursuit is looking realistic. Things have definitely changed in Iowa City.

“To be honest, I thought that last year would be how we’re playing this year,” Marble said. “At the same time, we had five freshmen coming in last year, so you know it doesn’t always go as planned. I knew at some point we would be able to get over the hump. We’re now more experienced, we have even more depth — people that can come and contribute off the bench. So I’m not surprised at the success we’re having. We just have to continue to find ways to keep playing.”

 

  • related content

  • Gameday preview: Gophers basketball at Iowa

    Saturday January 18, 2014

    U men’s gamedayNOON AT NO. 14 IOWA • CARVER-HAWKEYE ARENa • BTN, 1500-AMGophers at a glance: Only one other time...

  • Gophers' Mathieu only continues to grow as a player

    Saturday January 18, 2014

    The 5-9 point guard continues to improve his game and contribute in a huge way to Minnesota's success.

  • Senior Devyn Marble scored 22 points on 7-for-13 shooting in Iowa’s 84-74 upset at Ohio State last week.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
Utah 6:00 PM
Orlando
Charlotte 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Brooklyn 6:30 PM
Cleveland
Washington 6:30 PM
Miami
Minnesota 6:30 PM
Boston
Toronto 6:30 PM
Detroit
Chicago 7:00 PM
Memphis
Portland 7:00 PM
San Antonio
LA Clippers 8:00 PM
Denver
Oklahoma City 9:30 PM
LA Lakers
Tampa Bay 6:00 PM
New Jersey
Anaheim 6:30 PM
Ottawa
NY Islanders 6:30 PM
Detroit
Boston 7:00 PM
Winnipeg
Dallas 8:00 PM
Calgary
Wilberforce 71 FINAL
Youngstown St 92
Jackson State 49 FINAL
Tulane 56
Siena 5:00 PM
Radford
Stillman 6:00 PM
Alabama
Case Western Reserve 6:00 PM
Bucknell
Niagara 6:00 PM
Buffalo
SD Christian 6:00 PM
UC Santa Barbara
Concordia (MI) 6:00 PM
Central Mich
Northern Ill 6:00 PM
Dartmouth
North Florida 6:00 PM
Florida A&M
Hiwassee 6:00 PM
Gardner-Webb
Tennessee St 6:00 PM
Hampton
NC A&T 6:00 PM
Kent State
Central Penn College 6:00 PM
Liberty
Bethune-Cookman 6:00 PM
Mercer
Eastern Ky 6:00 PM
Miami-Florida
Northern Ky 6:00 PM
Morehead State
Northern Ariz 6:00 PM
Norfolk State
MD-Eastern Shore 6:00 PM
Old Dominion
St Marys-CA 6:00 PM
St Johns
Clemson 6:00 PM
South Carolina
Tenn Tech 6:00 PM
Tennessee
Washington-MD 6:00 PM
William & Mary
Furman 6:30 PM
Fla Gulf Coast
South Dakota St 6:30 PM
CS-Bakersfield
Milligan 7:00 PM
Lamar
LSU-Alexandria 7:00 PM
ULM
Southern Utah 7:00 PM
Loyola-Chicago
Chattanooga 7:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
Seattle 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Lipscomb 7:00 PM
Princeton
Winthrop 7:00 PM
SE Louisiana
Dickinson State 7:00 PM
North Dakota
New Orleans 7:05 PM
Southern Ill
TX-Pan American 8:00 PM
Creighton
Colorado State 8:00 PM
Denver
Alabama A&M 8:00 PM
Marquette
Ark-Pine Bluff 8:00 PM
Texas Tech
Eastern Wash 9:00 PM
California
Idaho State 9:05 PM
Utah State
Arizona 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 10:59 PM
Chaminade
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Ohio Valley 33 FINAL
Youngstown St 84
East Tenn St 48 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 61
Cal-Irvine 44 FINAL
Purdue 69
Campbell 63 FINAL
Stetson 76
Jacksonville St 70 FINAL
Charleston Southern 43
Louisiana 64 FINAL
Alcorn State 57
Denver 63 FINAL
Wright State 72
Blue Mountain 27 2nd Half 5:30
Central Arkansas 59
Texas State 27 2nd Half 17:01
Bethune-Cookman 10
Albany 15 1st Half 8:09
Pepperdine 11
TX-San Antonio 17 1st Half 6:50
Houston 23
Yale 3:30 PM
Bucknell
Northern Colorado 3:30 PM
Fla Gulf Coast
Belmont 4:00 PM
Mercer
Massachusetts 4:00 PM
Georgia State
George Mason 4:05 PM
Winthrop
Portland State 4:30 PM
Princeton
UCLA 5:00 PM
Samford
Mobile 5:00 PM
Alabama State
Nicholls 5:30 PM
Texas Tech
Toledo 5:30 PM
Nevada
UMass Lowell 5:30 PM
(13) Duke
St Marys-CA 6:00 PM
Virginia
McNeese State 6:00 PM
Rice
McMurry 6:00 PM
Houston Baptist
NJIT 6:00 PM
Seton Hall
(6) North Carolina 6:00 PM
Maine
Lafayette 6:00 PM
Stony Brook
Siena 6:00 PM
Binghamton
Longwood 6:00 PM
Clemson
Savannah State 6:00 PM
Florida State
(19) Syracuse 6:00 PM
(9) Baylor
Buffalo 6:00 PM
Manhattan
Ohio U 6:00 PM
La Salle
Canisius 6:00 PM
Michigan
Davidson 6:00 PM
NC State
Northern Ky 6:00 PM
Delaware
Saint Louis 6:30 PM
Austin Peay
(25) DePaul 6:30 PM
(2) Connecticut
Florida Atlantic 7:00 PM
Long Beach St
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
Tulane
Miss Valley St 7:00 PM
Memphis
Ark-Pine Bluff 7:00 PM
UAB
Bowling Green 7:05 PM
Illinois State
Arkansas State 7:05 PM
Missouri State
ULM 7:05 PM
Wichita State
(16) Oregon State 8:00 PM
Southern Ill
Utah Valley U 8:30 PM
Montana
Pacific 9:00 PM
New Mexico St
No Dakota State 9:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Utah State 9:00 PM
Sacramento St
Bethesda (CA) 9:00 PM
Fresno State
LSU 9:30 PM
UC Santa Barbara

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Will Christian Ponder ever be a full-time starter in the NFL?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close