By Patrick Vint on April 13, 2020 at 12:00 pm
© Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

There are eight games left in the first round, and things are about to get difficult. 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

Luke Recker def. Brennan Cougill 15-1 (96-4)
Jordan Bohannon def. Josh Oglesby 15-0 (98-2)
Aaron White def. Sean Sonderleiter 15-0 (99.5-0.5) (Sean's mom is also an avid reader)

GAME ONE: No. 7 Eric May vs. No. 10 Glen Worley

May is the Patient Zero of the Lickliter-McCaffery transition, an absurd athletic talent that always seemed too fast for Lickliter's slow-down style and was quickly diminished by injury in McCaffery's system.  May, a 6'5" guard out of Dubuque, averaged 9 points and 5 rebounds per game as a freshman; he shot just 28 percent from three and just 40 percent from the field, but the athletic ability literally jumped off the floor.  May was deadly as a wing on the break, but didn't have the handle to lead the break or get his own shot.  He got more efficient as a sophomore, scoring 8 per game but on significantly fewer looks.  He would have been a perfect fit for McCaffery, were it not for a back injury that limited his minutes in his last two years.  He became a devastating transition threat and wing defensive specialist in his senior season, and was arguably at his best in those roles.

Worley was one of the first big recruits of the Alford era, a local kid with four-star talent.  He then committed 453 fouls and 289 turnovers over four seasons, the foul mark a program record.  It is a testament to Worley's ability that he played enough minutes to commit that many fouls; most guys averaging north of 6 fouls per 40 minutes don't also average 8.4 points and 4.4 rebounds per game over the course of their careers.  He developed a reliable outside shot as an upperclassman, and was the legitimate second option for his junior season.  But the boneheadedness never really left; even as a senior, with his role diminished by injury, he was committing 3.8 turnovers and 5.4 fouls per 40 minutes.

GAME TWO: No. 5 Joe Wieskamp vs. No. 12 Jermain Davis

Wieskamp is a Rich Man's Eric May: More athletic, better outside shot, longer, but beset by many of the same problems.  His 14 points per game last season, as a legit second option behind the arguable best player in college basketball, was essential to Iowa's surprising success.  But he had a maddening tendency to disappear for long stretches of time, and opposing coaches could scheme him into the ether, especially when C.J. Fredrick was unavailable.  Still, he's just a sophomore, and he's probably the best high school basketball player in state history, so the story is far from complete.

Davis, a 6'4" guard, transferred into the program from Kirkwood in 2008.  He averaged 4.5 points per game, dropped 16 in a win over Iowa State that was probably the high water mark of the Lickliter era, and then transferred out to Minnesota State.  So runs the world away in the Lickliter era.

GAME THREE:  No. 1 Reggie Evans vs. No. 16 Dan Bohall

If it weren't for Reggie Evans, the Steve Alford tenure at Iowa would have been about half of its actual length.  So important was the double-double machine in his two seasons that he changed the course of human events.  Evans, an unheralded JUCO transfer, led the nation in rebounding, free throws and free throw attempts in his first season.  He averaged 15 points and 11 rebounds per contest with almost no offense being run through him; once Recker joined the squad at semester break, Iowa had a three-headed monster, with Recker and Oliver in the backcourt and Evans cleaning up the mess in the post.  Iowa tried to run more offense through Evans as a senior, once the secret was out.  Evans averaged the same 15 and 11, but Iowa's offense stagnated and the team imploded down the stretch.  Reggie's game was never complicated.  Get boards, get putbacks, get to the line.

Dan Bohall walked onto the program from Sioux City in Alford's last year, and briefly became a starter in Lickliter's first season, getting the call in the new coach's first seven games.  He averaged 3 points per game.  And then he got picked up for falling asleep in a dorm shower, got shuttled to the end of the bench, and quit basketball altogether when the season was over.

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