Tough road ahead for Hawkeyes
Posted: Monday December 1, 2003 3:46PM; Updated: Monday December 1, 2003 3:46PM
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- After a successful opening week for the Iowa basketball team, coach Steve Alford expects the next eight days to be even tougher.
The Hawkeyes (3-0) host Wisconsin-Green Bay on Tuesday night in Iowa City for the first of four games over the next week. Iowa will play twice in the Hawkeye Challenge, which is Friday and Saturday, and goes to Northern Iowa a week from Tuesday.
Adding to the challenge, the players must start preparing for final examinations and they have to get back to business quickly after their 70-69 overtime victory over then-No. 17 Louisville last Saturday.
"This is a very demanding stretch," Alford said. "We have three home games against three quality opponents, then play at Northern Iowa, who will be sitting there waiting for us. It will be a good test of what we're all about."
It also will offer an indication of how the Hawkeyes handle success.
"I think that's the character of your team," Alford said. "I think enough guys understand the Louisville game is a big win as long as you come back home and take care of business.
"We've had the mindset all year of taking care of things at home."
Wisconsin-Green Bay (1-2) has played twice on the road, losing to Southeast Missouri State 63-62 and IUPUI 66-55. In their only home game, the Phoenix scored 50 points in the second half and beat Western Illinois 70-55.
Guard Terry Parker leads the team with a 17.7 scoring average. Center Mike King, a 6-foot-8 senior, averages 11 points and is 3-for-4 from 3-point range.
"They're going to fight like crazy," Alford said. "My concern is they've already been on the road. I probably wouldn't be as nervous if they played three games at home and this was the first (on the road).
"They've been road-tested twice and we know we'll get a pretty good shot from them."
Iowa has won its first three games without senior forward Glen Worley, the team's top returning scorer from last season. Worley has been sidelined by a broken finger and hopes to return this weekend, though Alford can't say for sure now if that will be possible.
"Glen has worked very hard to say in shape," Alford said.
Sophomore Greg Brunner has been solid as Worley's replacement and was outstanding against Louisville, scoring a career-high 26 points. Alford said he anticipates no problem working Worley back into the rotation once he returns.
"It's great that Greg has taken advantage of Glen being out. So when Glen gets back, we've got two guys at that position playing well."