Iowa Men's Basketball

Iowa men's basketball: No Cook, Moss, Bohannon (?) and a tough 2019-20 schedule

Game at Syracuse added to Iowa's 2019-20 nonconference slate

Syracuse’s Rakeem Christmas (25) and Iowa’s Adam Woodbury (34) battle for a loose ball during the last time the Orange and Hawkeyes met in men’s basketball. Syracuse won the 2014 game at New York’s Madison Square Garden, 66-63. They meet again in Syracuse on Dec. 3. (Jim O’Connor/USA TODAY Sports)
Syracuse’s Rakeem Christmas (25) and Iowa’s Adam Woodbury (34) battle for a loose ball during the last time the Orange and Hawkeyes met in men’s basketball. Syracuse won the 2014 game at New York’s Madison Square Garden, 66-63. They meet again in Syracuse on Dec. 3. (Jim O’Connor/USA TODAY Sports)

Two things happened this week that added to next season’s challenges for the Iowa men’s basketball team.

Thursday, it was announced the Hawkeyes will play at Syracuse on Dec. 3 as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. That’s a road game against a team that almost always is good.

More problematic, perhaps, was this week’s news that the NCAA is moving the 3-point line to the international basketball distance of 22 feet, 1¾ inches from 20-9 in men’s basketball.

Iowa had four players who averaged over one made 3-pointer per game last season. If Jordan Bohannon takes a medical redshirt season because of the hip surgery he underwent last month, three of those four players won’t be on next season’s active roster.

Nicholas Baer (45 of 118 from 3-point distance) was a senior last season. Isaiah Moss (48 of 114) transferred to Arkansas. Bohannon was 79 of 206, and most of those shots were probably from beyond 22-1 3/4.

That leaves Joe Wieskamp, who was 59 of 139.

So who else will shoot next season? Big men Luka Garza (21 of 72 last season) and Jack Nunge (19 of 57 in the 2017-18) don’t hesitate to pop 3s, but opponents will give them 22-footers and take their chances.

One wouldn’t expect freshman forward Patrick McCaffery or frosh guard Joe Toussaint to make many 3s as rookies. Soph-to-be Connor McCaffery hit on just six all last season, in 29 tries.

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That would seem to leave redshirt freshman guard C.J. Fredrick, who made 107 3s as a senior at Covington (Ky.) Catholic High.

And ... perhaps guard Bakari Evelyn, who is visiting Iowa City this weekend. He is a graduate transfer who hit 48 of 157 3s for Valparaiso last season and 57 of 149 the season before.

New Mexico State is Iowa’s prime competitor to get Evelyn. The Hawkeyes could use a win there.

As for the schedule, Iowa’s nonconference lineup isn’t the most-fearsome in college ball, but it’s pretty good. It certainly is one of the best the Hawkeyes have had in McCaffery’s decade as coach.

It has an ACC team, potentially two Big 12 teams, two Big East teams and a highly respected foe in Cincinnati of the American Athletic Conference. If Bohannon sits out, Iowa will be meeting those teams without three starters from last season, two of whom were expected back next season.

Tyler Cook’s decision to turn pro wasn’t a shock. Moss’ exit wasn’t something that could have been safely predicted, though, and Bohannon averaged 11.6 points and led the team in assists for the third-straight year.

Fredrick may need to be really good right away. Toussaint may need to be good sooner rather than later. Evelyn, if landed, may need to assimilate with the team in a hurry.

Here’s the nonconference schedule:

Nov. 6: SIU-Edwardsville (10-21 last season)

Nov. 11: DePaul (19-17)

Nov. 15-25: Two home games connected to the Las Vegas Invitational, neither of which will be a team from an upper-level conference

Nov. 28: vs. Creighton (20-15) in Las Vegas

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Nov. 29: vs. San Diego State (21-13) or Texas Tech (31-7) in Las Vegas

Dec. 3: at Syracuse (20-14)

Dec. 12: at Iowa State (23-12)

Dec. 15: Oral Roberts (11-21)

Dec. 21: vs. Cincinnati (28-7) in Chicago

Dec. 29: Kennesaw State (6-26)

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