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Big Ten Basketball: Analyzing each team’s 2021-22 opening night matchup

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - MARCH 14: The Illinois Fighting Illini hold up the Big Ten Basketball Championship trophy with a win over the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Big Ten Basketball Tournament championship at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 14, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - MARCH 14: The Illinois Fighting Illini hold up the Big Ten Basketball Championship trophy with a win over the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Big Ten Basketball Tournament championship at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 14, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /
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Iowa Basketball
Big Ten Basketball Joe Toussaint Iowa Hawkeyes (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

Longwood at Iowa

After a convincing  99-47 win over Division II school Slippery Rock, the Iowa Hawkeyes will look to continue their winning ways versus Longwood on Tuesday at 10 (ET) on the Big Ten Network. The television coverage has more to do with being the lone Big Ten game being played at that time than it does with the Hawkeyes being must-see television.

Head Coach Fran McCaffery’s squad will be returning fewer than 40 percent of their scored points last season, 24.1 of them having belonged to Luka Garza. Despite finishing with an impressive 14-6 record that earned them a No. 2 seed, the Hawkeyes were upset by No. 7 seed Oregon in the second round. There should be few aspirations of a similar season, but that should not prevent these Hawkeyes from trying to win as much as possible.

Potential warning signs: Longwood finished the Big South season with a 10-10 conference record and will be returning 60 percent of their scoring, a stat that the Hawkeyes should easily overcome. Putting the victory aside, if the Hawkeyes are getting their looks from the three-point line – even if they make them – it will be a bad sign.

Last season the Hawkeyes averaged over 25 three-point attempts per game, this season they still have their No. 1 player in three-pointers made in Jordan Bohannon, but lost their second through fifth best shooters. Last season the Hawkeyes attempted fewer than 20 three-pointers in just five games. There is no reason why Coach McCaffery cannot continue the trend of the offense going through Keegan Murray and Patrick McCaffery.

For continued success: The easy answer is to score 99 points every game and you will be successful, but that clearly will not happen. If they were to try, however, it would have to be a complete team effort, which means the bench will have to play a major role in the games. The benefit of not having superstars in the form of Joe Weiskamp and Luka Garza is that when you do go to your bench, you do not lose that much.

Last season Coach McCaffery had nine players who averaged eleven minutes or more, this season, with the improvement of Austin Ash and the introduction of Payton Sandfort, the Hawkeyes can get back to a 10 man rotation.