116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — Tuesday means we’re 124 days from Selection Sunday, so get that bracketology ready.
Tuesday itself will be a less dramatic day in college basketball than March 13, but it’s still circled on the sport’s calendar in bright red ink. It’s Opening Night of the 2021-22 season.
For the Iowa men’s team, it brings the first of six home games in a 17-day stretch.
The opener is against the Longwood Lancers at the unusual and less-than-ideal tipoff time of 9:05 p.m. Iowa plays six Bee Gees (BGs, as in Buy Games) before what you might call the real season begins.
The Bee Gees have been booked for the Hawkeyes to develop some flowing and growing before they face Virginia, Purdue, Illinois and Iowa State in succession, starting Nov. 29. Maybe we’ll have a handle on some current questions when that stretch starts. Like …
1. How much does senior transfer forward Filip Rebraca’s game transfer to Iowa’s? The 6-foot-9, 230-pounder averaged 16.8 points for North Dakota last season.
2. Is junior Joe Toussaint ready to be the Hawkeyes’ point guard for 28 or 30 minutes per game?
3. Will sophomore forward Keegan Murray seamlessly transition from his team’s Sixth Man last season to its Main Man this one?
4. Should this Iowa team be better than the ninth-place slot in the Big Ten it was assigned in a preseason poll of conference media members?
“I think we have a really good team,” Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery said Monday.
About preseason picks, he said “I don't think anybody in our business, and that's players and coaches, really put much into that because everybody has got different opinions, and it doesn't matter.”
McCaffery’s son, sophomore forward Patrick McCaffery, is slated to make his first collegiate start Tuesday. He agrees with Pops about rankings.
“Whatever anybody’s ranked or whatever, it really doesn’t matter,” Patrick McCaffery said. “We were able to kind of figure that out another way last year (as the preseason No. 5 team in the AP Top 25).
“Everybody laces up their shoes the same way. If I cut you, you cut me, we’re both going to bleed.
“I think we like being the underdog more so than kind of the hunted. I think we would rather kind of come in with a chip on our shoulder and really kind of embrace that and try to prove a lot of those people wrong, and prove the people who believed in us right.”
But first, Longwood.
“We have a great fan base,” Murray said. “See you guys on Tuesday.”
If they’re night owls, yes.
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