1. Luka Garza is the best player in college basketball
Luka Garza (6-11, 265) had a breakout campaign as a junior last season, averaging 23.9 points (54.1 percent) and 9.8 rebounds. He’s the favorite according to several outlets to win the Naismith College Player of the Year after falling narrowly short to Obi Toppin last season. Garza briefly considered entering the NBA this past summer, but removed his name from consideration in early August.
Instead, Garza will be preparing to take the Hawkeyes all the way this season. The last time the Hawks won a Big Ten regular season title was 1979. The farthest the program has ever gotten in the NCAA Tournament is the Final Four in 1980, when they were coached by Lute Olson.
“I think you’ll see a better player, just because he’s worked that much harder since the season ended because he was in the gym, even though it was hard to find gyms,” said Fran McCaffery. “When he was on vacation, he was doing sprints on the beach. The guy is just relentless, and that’s why he’s great.”
Garza averaged 32 minutes per game last season, by far his career-high in college. With the depth Iowa has this season, perhaps the Hawks can keep Garza fresh for later in games. Staying out of foul trouble will also be key. Either way, Iowa has the best player in the nation, which automatically means they have a chance to win against anyone.