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Should Iowa Make a Rotation Adjustment?

Melsahn Basabe and Jarrod Uthoff have done plenty to show they are deserving of more playing time. Does Fran McCaffery feel the same way though?

Matthew Holst

Iowa is coming off their best win of the season on Sunday and they did it using ten players. The win at Ohio State was an impressive one scoring 84 points against one of the best defensive teams in the country, so it's tough to nitpick after a win. There are two players that stood out in that game that are well deserving of more minutes as the B1G season continues. Melsahn Basabe and Jarrod Uthoff are playing great basketball in limited action this season.

In the Ohio State win, Basabe played 18 minutes yet put up a great line of 11/10/1. He helped control the boards and had a key put back that kept Iowa on top late in the second half. It wasn't just this game that Basabe excelled in though. He played great against Northwestern (16/10) and, to a certain extent, Wisconsin (2/9 with 2 blocks). He has been a huge reason why Iowa is 3rd in the nation when it comes to rebounding.

Fran McCaffery is clearly trying to keep his players rested so they can be strong the entire season, but if Basabe is only going to play 18 minutes against a team like Ohio State then will he ever let him loose? I'm not going to sit here and make him out to be a lottery pick, but when one of your starters is averaging 8.5 points (on 65% shooting) and 9 rebounds per game in B1G play then he deserves more than the 21 minutes per game he's getting.

Jarrod Uthoff played a complete game off the bench against the Buckeyes and actually tied his season high of minutes (26). He scored 11 points on 4 of 7 shooting and added 2 rebounds. He didn't commit a foul or turn the ball over in 26 minutes. While Uthoff's numbers won't make you jump out of your seat (8.5/3 in B1G play), the talent can easily be seen. There is a reason why he was rated the best player coming out of Iowa when he graduated high school and there's a reason why Wisconsin fans were upset when he decided to transfer.

Uthoff's shooting percentages are great across the board, which is surprising from a 6'8 sophomore. He's shooting 57% from the field (2nd on team), 54.5% from three (leads team), and 84% from the free throw line (2nd team). Rarely do you see him put up a bad shot, which is probably why his percentages are so great. Also, Uthoff has shown some ability to drive the lane when the opportunity presents itself. This up-tempo style of offense that Fran has the Hawkeyes play is perfect for Uthoff.

So, what kind of minutes do these two deserve and how do you make it happen? Well, Melsahn Basabe should see an increase in minutes from 21 minutes in B1G play to 26. This kind of increase would give you a fully rested Basabe each and every game and would give him more opportunities to shine. Without getting too deep into rotations, there's a way to get him those minutes.

Taking away 4-5 minutes from Zach McCabe and Josh Oglesby could do this. Those two have been solid for the Hawkeyes, but aren't upper echelon players in the conference. To keep shooters on the floor when McCabe and Oglesby are off the court for those ten total minutes, I propose keeping Uthoff in the lineup longer. Giving Uthoff five extra minutes would bump him from 21 in B1G play to 26. His production off the bench is great especially when Aaron White and Roy Devyn Marble are taking a breather. Mike Gesell has done a very good job averaging 9 points and 5 assists per game in B1G play, so taking him out of the lineup wouldn't make sense in terms of running the offense.

Right now it's tough to sit down and say Fran should be doing things differently, but most would agree that the Hawkeyes need to be playing 8-9 players max. The B1G season is only four games deep and Fran has one of the hardest schedules, so he'll need to put his team in the best position to win to give them a chance at the B1G championship.