With the Hawkeyes tipping off their 2013-2014 campaign this Friday, I wanted to take a look at their first opponent of the year, the UNC-Wilmington Seahawks.
The Seahawks are a member of the Colonial Athletic Association and are led by coach Buzz Peterson. They are going into this year picked to finish eighth in the CAA. They are coming off a season in which they didn’t perform as well as they might have hoped. They finished 10-20 overall and 5-13 in the conference.
The Seahawks will return four of their five top scorers from a year ago, which is promising for Peterson. The only problem is, they lost top scorer Keith Bendleman, who averaged 17 points and 11 rebounds per game a season ago.
Losing your leader is probably a little unsettling for Peterson, but finding out who is going to fill that role might be the biggest mystery. To go along with that, no other player averaged double figures last season. Chris Dixon was the closest with 9.8 points per game.
So far this season they have won both of their preseason games against Belmont Abbey and Methodist. Cedrick Williams led the team against Belmont Abbey with 15 points and Tanner Milson came in at 13 points. Five players total reached double figures. The team shot a whopping 66% from the floor in the game.
In the game against Methodist the team shot 61% and they were led by Milson with 13 points and Addison Spruill, who had 12 points.
Now obviously these aren’t very good teams they were playing, but they were wins by a combined 91 points.
In both games Peterson went with a starting lineup of Dylan Sherwood (6-9), Williams (6-9), Dixon (6-0) and Ben Eblen (6-1). Freddie Jackson rounds out the starting lineup at 6-4.
This team will no doubt struggle with the fact that they are significantly undersized compared to the Iowa Hawkeyes. Coach Fran McCaffery will have a lineup that stands much taller than the Seahawks.
When it comes down to it, it will all depend on how each team shoots and adjusts to these new rules the NCAA as implemented with the hand checking. Free throws will be a crucial part of every game played this season.
Now all that remains is to see who wins the game Friday night at Carver Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City. I fully expect the Hawkeyes to come out and dominate the season opener in a season that is full of high expectations.