By Patrick Vint on April 9, 2020 at 12:00 pm
© Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

We're eight days in, and it's time for dessert.  Here are the one-on-one rules:

  • shoot for first possession
  • alternating possessions
  • play to 15, must win by 2
  • 3s are worth 3 points

Gabe Olaseni def. Chauncey Leslie 15-10 (67-33)
Mike Gesell def. Jeff Peterson 15-2 (91-9)
Tony Freeman def. Jack Nunge 15-11 (65-35)

GAME ONE: No. 2 Luke Recker vs. No. 15 Brennan Cougill

For those who weren't there, it's hard to underestimate the effect that Luke Recker's transfer from Indiana to Iowa had.  You have to remember, the knock on Tom Davis had been that he couldn't recruit top-level talent.  Here was a highly-touted recruit from Indiana, who had been an all-conference guard and led the Hoosiers in scoring as a sophomore, moving to Iowa.  Yes, there were extenuating circumstances -- Recker's dad lived about 20 miles from Iowa City, and Recker had been in a horrible car accident and wanted to be close to his Chicago-based girlfriend afterwards -- but this was the affirmation of Alford's ability, nevermind that his three stars were a Davis recruit, an Indiana transfer and a former JUCO.

Recker averaged 18 points per game in his first half-season at Iowa before fracturing his kneecap and missing the rest of the campaign.  Only Haluska scored as many in a single season during the Alford regime; only Uthoff, Jok and Garza have scored as much since.  Recker nearly matched that mark as a senior, scoring 17 per game.  Luke didn't do much else, which contributed to some of Iowa's problems in 2002-03, but for purposes of this tournament, dude could get buckets.

While John Lickliter became the lasting image of the Todd Lickliter era for many, Brennan Cougill best epitomized it.  Cougill, a Sioux City native, was the 2009 Iowa Mr. Basketball, but was also not equipped for the Big Ten.  That made him a perfect fit for Lickliter, especially as a post player for a coach who didn't see much need for them.  He averaged 4 points per game as a freshman, making seven starts that season, before grades got the better of him.  He transferred out, eventually landed at Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and posted 9 points per game over two seasons there.

GAME TWO: No. 4 Jordan Bohannon vs. No. 13 Josh Oglesby 

Despite the fact that his brothers had also played considerable Division I basketball and his dad is a former Iowa quarterback, Jordan Bohannon was kind of a recruiting afterthought.  He responded by becoming the program's all-time leader in three-point shots, shooting 40% from behind the arc and averaging more than 11 points per game in his three full seasons, with a particular aptitude for delivering dagger threes.  In many ways, he's been the basketball version of Tyler Sash: Probably not the best player on any of his teams, but The Guy in every big moment for all of them, the person involved in the play you'll never forget.  He's got one more season left in Iowa City to deliver even more of them.

Oglesby was supposed to be like that, but his shot never found the needed consistency: Oglesby shot 37% from three as a freshman and 40% as a junior, but sub-30% as a sophomore and senior.  With a game predicated on the perimeter jumper, and without consistent form, he never got consistent playing time.  In four years, he started a handful of games, and averaged 18 minutes and 5 points per contest.

GAME THREE:  No. 2 Aaron White vs. No. 15 Sean Sonderleiter

Dunk L'Orange was the evolutionary Doug Thomas, a guy who could electrify the crowd with an alley oop or a jam over a defender, but also good enough in other areas to lead the team to sustained success.  White was a terror in the post, and absolutely devastating in transition.

He could also make a jumper when called upon, and had the length and athleticism to be a borderline-great defender.  The numbers: Four seasons as a starter, all with a double-digit scoring average and half-dozen rebounds per game, with 16 points per game for a 2014-15 team that finally felt like Iowa's true return to the Davis-era results.  There have been better players under Fran McCaffery.  I'm not so sure there have been more important ones.

Sean Sonderleiter was a 6'9" center on a team that didn't need another center and in a conference where 6'9" doesn't usually constitute one.  He made spot starts over four seasons, including a 2002-03 campaign where he averaged 21 minutes, 8.5 points and 4 rebounds.  But he was always stuck behind Jared Reiner, Reggie Evans and Glen Worley, which made his role rather limited.

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