Iowa basketball made headlines this past week when its head coach Fran McCaffery signed a huge contract extension to remain in Iowa City. After just two seasons, McCaffery has been chosen to lead th Iowa program for the next decade and can make up to $2M per year if the Hawkeyes return to the NCAA Tournament multiple times during that period. Hawkeye Nation definitely remembers the last time it tasted the NCAAs in 2006, when they were upset by Northwestern State in the first round. It has been a crazy ride for Iowa since then but they are beginning to see some light at the end of the rebuilding tunnel.
Evaluating Last Year: Iowa’s 18-17 record in the 2011-12 season can be somewhat deceiving because the Hawkeyes were very competitive in most of their games, especially during conference play. Iowa fans were looking for improvement throughout the season and McCaffery’s crew certainly showed several encouraging signs. They finished the home stretch of the Big Ten season with a decent record of 7-4 and lost only one game at home to Northwestern who was making a serious push for a postseason at-large bid. Except for senior guard Matt Gatens, all of the key players were either freshmen or sophomores. Roy Devin Marble and Aaron White were two of the best young players in the conference as they averaged about 11 points per game, but more importantly showed great composure and maturity. Except for the Ohio State loss (76-47), the Hawkeyes remained competitive in every home conference game, which is a great sign pointing in the overall direction of a rebuilding program. After beating Dayton in the NIT, the Hawkeyes lost in a shootout to Oregon by a score of 108-97 in the second round.