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Will Iowa’s Backcourt Win Its Battle Against South Dakota?

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One matchup to look for in Iowa’s opening round NIT game.

NCAA Basketball: Iowa at Illinois Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

The Iowa Hawkeyes take on the South Dakota Coyotes on Wednesday night at Carver Hawkeye Arena. Iowa comes in as the favorite to move on to the next round. South Dakota, out of the Summit League, finished as the best team in the league, but lost in their conference tournament last week. Iowa is 0-1 against Summit League teams this season, losing to Omaha on December 3rd at home.

Coming into this game, the question is what Iowa team will show up against the No. 8 seeded Coyotes. Last time out the Hawkeyes didn’t put together their best performance in the Big Ten Tournament as they got stomped by Indiana in their first-round game. Missing out on the NCAA Tournament is disappointing, but the NIT is new life for this young Iowa team.

Besides, making a run in the NIT might be better for this team in the long run instead of a one-and-done performance in the NCAA Tournament. Hawkeye fans will get a chance to find out if Iowa can play consistent basketball in a tournament setting. Also, the NIT is no strange place for Hawkeye fans, in 2013 Iowa made a run all the way the NIT Championship game.

And now Iowa starts a new NIT journey. What matchup should Hawkeye fans being looking out for that will determine Wednesday’s game?

Let’s take a look.

-Backcourt Battle

This matchup is a reunion for one South Dakota player. Former Iowa point guard Trey Dickerson is the starting point guard for the Coyotes. Dickerson is having a solid year, he’s the team’s third leading scorer, averaging 10.4 points per game. Dickerson also leads the team in assists, averaging 2.8 per game.

Dickerson will be matched up against Jordan Bohannon. Bohannon, like Dickerson, averages 10.3 points per game and lead his team in assists. Neither player has a size advantage, Dickerson and Bohannon both weigh 180 pounds and are 6 feet tall.

Dickerson will be hungry to show Iowa fans what they missed out on. Bohannon will need to continue to play his game, knocking down open shots and make smart plays. In Bohannon’s last game, he had 24 points in his first Big Ten Tournament game against Indiana. Hawkeye fans would like another performance like that from him on Wednesday night.

The other two guys in the backcourt, will be the two team’s leading scorers: Peter Jok and Matt Mooney. Mooney a sophomore out of Chicago, is averaging 18.5 points per game. Mooney is a do it all type of player for the Coyotes, he averages 4.5 rebounds, 2 assists and 2.2 steals per game

If Mooney is matched up with Jok, he’ll have his hands full. Jok is averaging 19.8 points per game and is arguably the best pure scorer in the Big Ten. Coming into this matchup Jok should be hyped, this could be his last game at Iowa. Last time out the senior struggled against Indiana, scoring only 9 points on 4-11 shooting.

A bad game should add fuel to the fire for Jok, especially after it decided the team’s NCAA Tournament fate. I wouldn’t be surprised if Jok put in a 30 performance at Carver on Wednesday night. We all know that he’s capable of exploding from three at any point of the game.