Iowa lost the NIT championship game to Baylor by 20 points last night, but Fran McCaffery had to be pleased with the way his team played in the two weeks following the disappointment of not making the NCAA Tournament on Selection Sunday. Here are four takeaways from the Hawkeyes’ second-place finish in the nation’s second most prestigious postseason tournament.
- Roy Devyn Marble looks like an All-Big Ten player. With the exception of the championship game on Thursday (he didn’t score his first points of the second half until about the nine-minute mark), Marble looked like a player who is poised for a real breakout year in 2013-14. After averaging 15.2 PPG and 3.0 APG through the regular season, he averaged 24.3 PPG through his first four NIT contests. In those same games, he had 4.8 APG and RPG, while tallying at least one steal in two of them. Does that qualify the championship — six points, four assists, two steals, and two rebounds — as an anomaly? It’s hard to say exactly, but his steadiness over those first four games (and against strong competition, too) was unmatched during the regular season. Entering the NIT, Marble had dropped seven 20-plus point games, and never more than two in a row. If he can perform like that in the rough-and-tumble Big Ten, there will be room for him on next year’s All-Big Ten team. Read the rest of this entry »