Dec. 18, 2013
Editor's Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa's Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- When talking about the University of Iowa men's basketball team's depth, ESPN college basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla may have said it best last Friday... "Iowa's like Noah's Ark. They have two of everything. I'm impressed with the Hawkeyes' depth."
Iowa's depth has been a popular topic before the season began and has continued through the first two months of play. After 12 games, the numbers reinforce that the Hawkeyes are one of the deepest team in the country.
Entering this week's slate of games, Iowa's reserves rank third nationally in scoring (40.2) and blocked shots (3.8) and first in rebounding (23.7).
Sophomore Jarrod Uthoff, who saw his first collegiate game action last month, is one of the most productive players off the bench in the country. The Cedar Rapids, Iowa, native averages 10.4 points and 6.8 rebounds. He is one of only eight Division I players in the country averaging better than 10 points and six rebounds coming off the bench.
Uthoff doesn't view the team in terms of starters and reserves, but rather 10 guys who play pivotal roles in the team's success.
"I don't feel like there's any drop off between the guys who start and those coming in off the bench," said Uthoff. "We maintain the same energy and production level."
Uthoff believes the team's depth is one of the team's strengths and gives the Hawkeyes an edge over the opposition.
"Being able to play different guys in different situations and playing fresh guys all the time gives us a huge advantage," he said.
UI head coach Fran McCaffery has said from day one that this is the deepest team he has ever coached.
"We have a lot of good players, and they're all going to play," said McCaffery. "As long as you have unselfish people that are committed to winning, you can pretty much play any of them at any time with each other, provided you have enough rebounding and have a point guard on the floor.
"We have multiple options at point guard, at center, and on the wing, so I'm able to sub freely with great confidence."
In addition to Fraschilla, CBS college basketball insider Jon Rothstein has praised McCaffery and the team's depth all season.
"Iowa is the type of team that will score 90 and have nine different guys who can score 10 points apiece," said Rothstein. "The Hawkeyes have many ways to skin a cat."
Iowa's bench might become even deeper Sunday when it returns to action against Arkansas-Pine Bluff in the team's nonconference finale. Junior Josh Oglesby, who has been sidelined since the start of the season with a foot injury, may make his season debut, depending on the guard's progress this week.
Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. (CT) on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Tickets are available for $15 for adults and $5 for UI students and youth. The first 1,500 fans in attendance will receive an Iowa stocking.