Texas-Iowa Preview

BY foxsports • November 19, 2014

Texas and Iowa have mirrored each other closely through two games, dominating lesser competition with balanced scoring and suffocating defense.

They'll likely learn a lot more about themselves Thursday night when the 10th-ranked Longhorns meet the Hawkeyes in a 2K Classic semifinal at Madison Square Garden.

Texas has knocked off Alcorn State and North Dakota State by a combined 170-103 margin, while Iowa outscored Hampton and North Dakota State 177-112 in its victories. The Hawkeyes boast six players averaging at least 8.0 points, while six different Longhorns are scoring 7.5 or more per game.

Both teams have stifled opposing offenses with Texas giving up 51.5 points per game on 28.6 percent shooting and Iowa 56.0 on 30.2 percent while forcing 33 turnovers.

The Longhorns have also shown an improved touch from 3-point range, going 12 of 25 in Sunday's 85-53 win over Alcorn State with eight different players making at least one. Isaiah Taylor, who made just five as a freshman, was 2 for 3 and scored a team-high 12.

Texas has finished no better than eighth in 3-point percentage in the Big 12 over the past three seasons.

"A lot of teams don't really think we can shoot," said Jonathan Holmes, who hit both 3-point attempts and is 8 of 9 from the floor overall. "A lot of teams would like to go zone ... but we've got shooters out there. That will make it even harder to defend us."

Iowa was vulnerable from long range in Monday's 87-56 win over North Dakota State, letting the Bison go 10 for 27. The Hawkeyes, who limited opponents to 31.7 percent from 3-point range last season, limited Hampton to a 4-for-18 performance in their opener.

Highly touted freshman forward Myles Turner has 25 points, 13 rebounds and eight blocks in 40 minutes of action so far, helping Texas claim a plus-19 rebounding margin.

Iowa, which has received votes in the AP poll, is plus-14 on the boards and looks capable of holding its own on the interior given the performances by centers Gabe Olaseni and Adam Woodbury against the Bison. Olaseni had 14 points and 11 rebounds in 17 minutes off the bench, while Woodbury had 10 and 11 as a starter.

"I feel good about where we are, no question," coach Fran McCaffery said. "I watched the Texas game against North Dakota State, incredibly talented team. You see why they're ranked in the top 10. We'll have to play better than we've played so far, but we've got a couple days to get ready."

Like Taylor, Iowa point guard Anthony Clemmons appears to have improved his range, going 5 for 6 from beyond the arc overall after hitting a career-best three 3-pointers against North Dakota State. He made six through all of 2013-14.

Both Texas and Iowa have had mixed results on free throws. Iowa was 23 of 33 in its opener before an 18 for 20 against the Bison, while Texas has gone 9 of 18 and 18 for 21.

The all-time series is even at two victories apiece after Texas won the most recent meeting 85-60 on Nov. 23, 2009, in Kansas City.