Villanova Wildcats (6-0) vs. #23 Iowa Hawkeyes (7-0)
When: Sunday, November 30, 2013, 9:30 p.m.
Where: Paradise Island, Bahamas
Coverage: NBC Sports Network
Iowa Previous Season Record: 25-13, Lost to Baylor in NIT Championship Finals
Key Players for Iowa: #4 Roy Devyn Marble (6-6, 200) Sr., G; #15 Zach McCabe (6-7, 235) Sr., F; #30 Aaron White (6-9, 220) Jr., F
Scouting Report: Prior to the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament, the Iowa Hawkeyes had been destroying opponents left and right. Opponents were averaging a meager 54.6 points per game. Meanwhile, Iowa was averaging a whopping 92.3 points per game, leaving about a 40 point margin. The Hawkeyes come down to the Bahamas and all of a sudden this sheer dominance is stalled. They won their first game by three in overtime over Xavier, only after coming back from a 15 point deficit. Iowa would then go back to their big win ways and beat UTEP by 36. They have a lot of veterans and are a contender for the Big Ten Conference title. Leading the way is captain Roy Devyn Marble. Marble is the cornerstone of this team. He is the top scorer on the team, averaging 15.7 points per game. So far in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament he has shown that during times of adversity, he can turn it up. He had 30 points in the first round against Xavier in the comeback win, before leaving due to leg cramps. He had a quiet 7 points in the win against UTEP, and that opened the floor up for forward Aaron White. White is the second leading scorer with 13.6 points per game. He is also a decent rebounder, averaging 6.9 a game. He was the top scorer of the UTEP game where he had 17 points. From the bench, Zach McCabe is a long range threat. He is the best three point shooter on the team. He is shooting 50% from three point range. Peter Jok is another scoring threat on the bench, he can score from anywhere and can quietly have a double digit scoring game. Big man Jarrod Uthoff is an effective weapon of the bench, he can score and grab rebounds. He averages 9.6 points per game and 6.9 rebounds per game. As a team, Iowa is a great at free throw shooting. They will cash in and capitalize on the free points. Defensively, the Hawkeyes like to run the press and do it well without committing fouls.
Outlook: Thanks to a clutch catch-and-shoot three pointer by Ryan Arcidiacono, this is not the Battle 4 Atlantis championship game that most did not expect. Kansas won’t be making an appearance and instead will be playing in the consolation game. For Iowa, Villanova may potentially be the toughest opponent they have faced thus far. They went through the first five games virtually untested against teams that they were supposed to win easily. When they did face good competition in Xavier, they just barely squeezed by in overtime. However, Iowa isn’t a team to simply look past. They still are a top 25 team and are Big Ten contenders. After beating Kansas, Villanova should be able to win this game. They could ride the momentum from last night or they can falter. Just like last season, after beating Louisville and Syracuse in the same week they responded by losing two straight to Notre Dame and Providence. The key is to contain Marble and White. Daniel Ochefu and JayVaughn Pinkston need to get the job done in the paint and outplay Iowa’s bigs. They need to outrebound and dominate paint play offensively and defensively. They have to prove that their victory last night was not a fluke. I see Villanova giving Iowa more than what they can handle, but they cannot play sloppy.