Greetings from Redbird Arena. It might be cold outside (and getting frigid tonight), but it could be hot inside when ISU takes on Northern Iowa. The Panthers lead the Valley in scoring in Valley games. They aren't as defensive-minded as previous UNI teams. ISU wouldn't mind getting in an up and down game, so this could be a game in the 70s or maybe 80s. Sure many of you are homebound tonight, so fire away with some questions.
The officials are Rick Randall, Brad Ferrie and Kipp Kissinger. If I remember right, Kissinger doesn't take much from coaches and is not afraid of T-ing up anyone.
New addition for UNI this season is 5-10 guard Wes Washpun. He is a transfer from Tennessee who is a lefthander and gives the Panthers two good ball-handling guards along with Deon Mitchell. Washpun leads the Valley in FG percentage in league games, which is almost unheard of for a guard who takes a lot of perimeter shots. He has made 9 of 12 outside the arc, too. He could be fun to watch. It will be interesting to see how the Redbirds' 2-3 zone works with a lot of good shooters. But so did Drake.
Heard the ISU football signing party had the best attendance ever and the majority of folks will be heading over to RBA for the game. That's good. Crowd won't be very big and anyone (especially if they've had some liquid refreshment) will be needed.
UNI has five freshmen on its roster and three of them are redshirting. Ben Jacobson likes to redshirt as many as possible, especially front court players. It's a good strategy as they can add much needed weight and muscle. I'm sure Dan Muller would like to redshirt a player or two every year once the recruiting situation and class balance gets a little more settled down.
I would say it is holding UNI to eight or less 3-pointers. The Panthers are averaging over 10 makes a game in Valley action. They are going to make some, but the Redbirds can't let them get on a roll. The other key defensively is being able to hold Seth Tuttle to 14 points or less. Tuttle is one of Valley's best low-post players and can take over a game. I don't think he will against Reggie.
Reggie Lynch's offense definitely has been most pleasant surprise. I wasn't sure how much he would be able to contribute on offensive end, but knew he could compete on defense. It seems every game he gets more comfortable offensively and he can really finish with both hands. On other end, I really thought Zach Lofton would be avg about 15 a game. He's really struggled shooting the ball. He has great form, but seems to be going too fast. When he starts slowing down, he will do much better offensively especially shooting.
Yes, Buss was 6-9, but he was more of a perimeter player. A great shooter and that definitely hurts the Panthers. I haven't seen much of UNI on TV, so anxious to see Washpun in action. ISU plays zone, but Paris Lee is one of the front defenders in the 2-3 zone and will be fun to see him defend Washpun. Paris has some of quickest hands in MVC.
Funny story. I was told last week that Torrey Ward was going to wear multicolored headband that first 500 students got and he was wearing in warmups. But when game started, Ward was without it. I asked him this week why he didn't wear and said officials told him he would get a technical foul. Players must wear solid color headbands and evidently same rule holds for coaches.
Buss was averaging 3.8 boards in Valley games, so probably hurts one or two rbs. Ben Jacobson said biggest thing has been not making defensive stops at crucial junctures late in games, which UNI seemed always to do, especially against UNI. They lost three of their best defenders from last year in James, Sonnen and Koch and haven't been able to make up for that.
Watch out for Southern Illinois, folks. I had the Salukis penciled in for Thursday at St. Louis, but they've won three straight games and could be challenging for a top-six spot. I would think Drake and Loyola are definitely headed for Thursday with other two open.
Glad you could join the party, Pfurrow! Come again
ISu starters the same with Lee, Knight, Hunter, Zeisloft and Lynch. UNI starters also same except frosh Jeremy Morgan replacing senior Chip Rank. Ben Jacobson probably wants to shake up things little with UNI 1-8 on the road
Not much of a crowd. Considering the weather, don't blame anyone. We will do again at 2:30 Sunday before Redbirds play Loyola in Chicago. Thanks for jumping in everyone.