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Three Burning Questions for Iowa Basketball In 2019-20

What three questions will Iowa have to answer going into the season?

NCAA Basketball: Iowa at Maryland Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

This is the Iowa feature in which we address the three most important questions that each team must answer heading into the 2019-20 season.

1. Will Jordan Bohannon play this season?

Iowa’s offense may look completely different than what it was last year. Tyler Cook declared for the NBA Draft and is now a member of the Denver Nuggets. Meanwhile, Jordan Bohannon is still on the roster but underwent hip surgery this offseason. It’s still up in the air whether Bohannon will play this year due to the surgery.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Iowa vs Tennessee Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Bohannon has made the most threes in Iowa Hawkeye history (264), claiming the record in just three years. The sharpshooter shot 38.3% from beyond the arc last year which opened up the paint for Tyler Cook to go to work down low. However, Bohannon has said that he plans on playing his final collegiate season at 100% health. That means that if he isn’t healthy by Iowa’s exhibition game on November 4th against Lindsey Wilson College, he will redshirt.

Fran McCaffrey said at Big Ten media day, “I would have said eight weeks ago, seven weeks ago, we’re playing it without him. Now there’s, I think, the possibility. He’s not playing, but he’s dribbling and shooting and doing some things.” The 6-foot guard’s leadership will be missed on the court if he can’t play this season, but it may open the door for other returnees to step up.

2. Can a Bohannon-less backcourt get the job done?

If Bohannon decides to redshirt this season, that leaves the backcourt without a lot of depth. While star sophomore Joe Wieskamp returns, Isaiah Moss transferred to Kansas so Iowa will also be without him. McCaffrey was so worried about backcourt depth that he brought in his first ever graduate transfer. Bakari Evelyn comes in from Valparaiso and is expected to most likely play significant minutes at both guard spots.

The Hawkeyes also bring in freshman Joe Toussaint from New York. Toussaint wasn’t a top-150 recruit or heralded as a top prospect, but he should be able to provide some meaningful minutes at the point and distribute to the scorers.

NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Media Day Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

Beyond some of the new additions, Iowa also brings back Connor McCaffrey, son of Fran, who should be able to provide some minutes. McCaffrey is not expected to be a star - he only averaged 4.4 points per game last season - but he can help an offense when needed. He recorded a career-high against UConn last season, scoring 18 points.

3. Can Iowa do anything besides score?

Fran McCaffery teams are notorious for not being weak on the defensive end. Iowa’s opponents scored 73.9 points per game which ranked 244th nationally. That’s not great. However, the offense scored 78.3 points per game which ranked in the top-50 which propelled the Hawkeyes to the NCAA Tournament.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round- Iowa Hawkeyes vs Cincinnati Bearcats Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The loss of leading-scorer Tyler Cook, Isaiah Moss, and potential loss of Jordan Bohannon to injury may make it really hard for Iowa to simply out score their opponents. That means the Hawkeyes may have to rely a little bit more on defense and rebounding, something they have not done in quite awhile. The only problem is that Tyler Cook also led the team in rebounds last year by a long shot, pulling down over 7 boards a game. When Iowa does manage to force a missed shot, it is crucial for them to limit the opponent to one possession. McCaffrey will need to find the guys that are willing to do the dirty work to secure the board to get the Hawkeyes back on offense, where they’re at their best.

The return of Luka Garza and Joe Wieskamp will help the Hawkeyes’ rebounding as they both averaged at least 4.5 rebounds per game. However, with most of the offensive burden falling on these two offensively as well, some other guys will need to step up.