Real Iowa basketball season starts Sunday -- vs. Creighton

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Iowa hosts Northern Illinois tonight in men's basketball, but it's just Tomato Can No. 3 in the Hawkeyes' season to date.

The Huskies of DeKalb opened their season with a 96-34 loss at Purdue last Friday, and no, I'm not making up that score. It was 96-34.

NIU followed that up with a 59-57 loss to Milwaukee. So don't expect the Huskies to come to Carver-Hawkeye Arena and be much more entertaining than were Tomato Cans 1 and 2, Chicago State and North Carolina A&T.

But Sunday, the Hawkeyes go to Des Moines to play Creighton. And the season begins.

Wednesday, Creighton notched its first nonconference road win since 2008 when it took down Alabama-Birmingham, 70-60. The 3-0 Bluejays got sterling performances out of two Iowans, sophomore forward Doug McDermott of Ames and junior guard Grant Gibbs of Marion and Linn-Mar High.

McDermott tossed in a career-best 27 points. The most unlucky thing to happen to Northern Iowa men's basketball in the last several years was Greg McDermott leaving Iowa State to become Creighton's coach. Greg took son Doug with him, as UNI generously let Doug out of his commitment to the Panthers.

Gibbs is a transfer from Gonzaga. At UAB, he had five points, seven rebounds and seven assists without a turnover. That's the Gibbs Linn-Mar's fans and opponents remember from his playing days there. Good player. He's just 6-foot-4, but Gibbs had nine rebounds in the Bluejays' season-opener against North Carolina A&T. He's averaging 8.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game. Oh, and just 1.0 turnovers. He's made a 3-pointer in each game thus far.

Again, good player. Like Doug McDermott, who averaged 14.9 points as a freshman and is over five points per game ahead of that pace this season.

Sunday, Iowa vs. Creighton. Basketball season begins.


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