Blogs > Pemberton's Point

Inside look at high school and Oakland University sports from Oakland Press sports writer Dave Pemberton.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Oakland-Iowa preview

The opponent — The Iowa has a young team this season under second-year head coach Todd Lickliter. The Hawkeyes (3-0) start three true freshman and a sophomore. Freshman guard Anthony Tucker (15.3 points) and freshman guard Matt Gatens (12.7 points, 6 assists) are Iowa’s two leading scorers. Tucker (6-4, 200) hit seven 3-pointers in Iowa’s win over The Citadel, while Gatens (6-5, 215) has been the team’s best passer.
Senior forward Cyrus Tate (6-8, 255) mans the middle for the Hawkeyes, he is averaging 10.3 points a game and is the team’s leading rebounder at 7.3 per game. Tate, who averaged 8.3 points a game last season, is the team’s leading returning scorer from last season.
Freshman forward Aaron Fuller (6-6, 210, 8.7 points per game) and sophomore Jeff Peterson (6-0, 192, 6.6 points per game) round out Iowa’s starting lineup. Sophomore guard Jake Kelly (5.7 points, 3 assists) and junior guard Jermain Davis (5 points) are the Hawkeyes top two guys off the bench.
Iowa is currently 3-0, but has played against weak competition. Iowa’s three opponents — Charleston-Southern (1-2), Texas-San Antonio (1-2) and The Citadel (1-2) — are a combined 3-6 and all three wins were against non-Division I opponents.
The Hawkeyes are traditionally tough at home and have won 44 of their last 54 at home.

Key matchup — Oakland’s Keith Benson vs. Iowa’s Cyrus Tate. The loss to Syracuse proved the Golden Grizzlies need a third scorer to help shoulder some of the load off Johnathon Jones and Erik Kangas. Benson needs to be that guy and has shown flashes that he can be, but continues to be plagued by foul trouble. Tate is giving up two inched to Benson, but will have a strength advantage. Tate played his best game in Iowa’s only close contest, scoring 18 points on 8-for-9 shooting in a 73-67 over Texas-San Antonio. Benson (8 rebounds a game) and Tate are both their team’s leading rebounder so this will also be an important matchup on the glass.

Matchup history — This will be the first meeting between Oakland and Iowa. The Golden Grizzlies are 2-16 all-time against the Big Ten, with their last win over a Big Ten opponent being a 97-90 win over Michigan back on Nov. 17, 2000. The Grizzlies have lost 10 straight to Big Ten opponents. Iowa is 19-1 against current member of the Summit League, with its lone loss being to South Dakota State.

The skinny — Oakland will be playing its second of three games in six days against BCS opponents. The Grizzlies really struggled in the first half against Syracuse and will need to carry some of their momentum from the second half into the Iowa game. If Oakland falls behind early, coming from behind at Carver-Hawkeye Arena may be too much to ask. Iowa has not faced nearly as tough competition as the Grizzlies have thus far this season, which could prove to be a factor. Iowa’s three freshman (Tucker, Gatens and Fuller) have played well in the team’s first three games and will play huge roles against Oakland.



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