Iowa looking to turn things around against Temple
NEW YORK (AP) When people talk about picking a team to advance deep into the NCAA Tournament, one of the biggest things they look for is how a squad played at the end of the season.
If that's so, Iowa certainly doesn't fit the bill.
The seventh-seeded Hawkeyes (21-10) lost six of their final eight games, including a loss to Illinois in their first game in the Big Ten Tournament.
They will try and turn that around when they face 10th-seeded Temple (21-11) on Friday in the opening round of the South Regional at Barclays Center.
''Toward the end, I think the Big Ten season really started to wear on us,'' Hawkeyes leading scorer Jarrod Uthoff said. ''Day in and day out, you're playing great teams. It's not like you're playing poor competition. Losing to those good teams, I think it's a good experience for us, and I think we'll bounce back in this tournament.''
Coach Fran McCaffery agreed with Uthoff to a point.
''I think that's as a good explanation as any,'' he said. ''But I'm a little more pragmatic. When I look at it, we pretty much lost to good teams. We lost to some teams that we were probably supposed to beat on paper. You lose on the road to Penn State, Malcolm Hill hit a big time step back jumper and you lose a two-point game against Illinois. Those are things that happen in the Big Ten.''
Then he added the caveat Iowa fans want to hear.
''We're not in Panic City by any means,'' he said.
Panic has never been a word to describe Temple coach Fran Dunphy.
''I don't think too much about their struggle. They are really a good team, and I think this is a whole new world, the NCAA Tournament is a fresh start for everybody,'' Dunphy said. ''The life that we lead, the fragile nature of the life that we lead is sometimes the games come down to a made shot or a missed shot, and a bad pass or a nonrebound or whatever, and that's just the way it is.''
Things to watch out for when the Hawkeyes meet the Owls:
OLD BUDS: McCaffrey and Dunphy are a couple of Philly guys who have known each for a long time. ''I can remember his dad being a Philly cop, and part of his chores at the end of his career were to take care of the Palestra,'' Dunphy said. ''So I would see him all the time. His mom and his dad were very, very terrific basketball fans and great Philadelphians.''
FIRST TIME: McCaffrey's first NCAA Tournament game as a head coach was in 1988 when his Lehigh team faced top-ranked Temple. The Owls beat Lehigh 87-73.
TAKING CARE: Don't look for the ball to be flying all the over the place on Friday. These are two of the stingiest teams in the country as far as turning the ball over. The Hawkeyes average 10.4 turnovers a game and the Owls are even better at a Division I-leading 9.2 per game.
TOUGH RUN: Dunphy has a 3-15 mark in the NCAA Tournament at Penn and Temple, often as an underdog. ''We haven't been wearing white shirts too many of those years either, but that's the way life goes. So would I like to have more wins as a basketball coach in the NCAA? Sure. … I'd like to reverse the number, but that's not what life has presented to me.''
MAKING 3s: Temple led the American Athletic Conference with 7.8 3-pointers per game. Iowa has averaged 8.2 3s per game.