South Region pits Hawkeyes against Wildcats

Seattle, WA (SportsNetwork.com) - The second round of the NCAA Tournament rolls on in the South Region when the 10th-seeded Davidson Wildcats look to upset the seventh-seeded Iowa Hawkeyes at Key Arena on Friday.

 

The winner moves on to the third round, and will get either 15th-seeded North Dakota State or second-seeded Gonzaga.

 

Davidson dropped out of the Atlantic 10 Tournament with a 93-73 loss to eventual league champion VCU. The loss snapped a 10-game winning streak for the Wildcats, who are making their 13th appearance in the national tournament. Davidson owns an 8-13 all-time tourney record.

 

Iowa fell out of the Big Ten Conference Tournament early thanks to an upset by Penn State, 67-58. The Hawkeyes also ended a winning streak, this one of six games. Iowa has managed a 27-25 record in the NCAA Tournament all-time, with this appearance being the program's 24th in history.

 

Davidson and Iowa have only met one time before on the hardwood. The two programs clashed in 1969 in Davidson, North Carolina, which saw the Hawkeyes come away with a 76-61 victory.

 

Davidson's offense is one of the strongest in the nation, but the Wildcats were a little off the mark on Saturday when they took on Virginia Commonwealth in the A-10 Tournament. Davidson allowed VCU to connect on 49.1 percent of its shots from the floor, while the Wildcats themselves netted 42.1 percent of their attempts, including 37.9 percent in the first period. Tyler Kalinoski led the way with 19 points and seven rebounds, while Jordan Barham and Jack Gibbs each chipped in 18 points in the defeat. Brian Sullivan dished out a team-high six assists for the Wildcats.

The Wildcats head into the NCAA Tournament as a dangerous program capable of outscoring just about anyone. Davidson is hitting on 47.1 percent of its field goal attempts this season for 79.9 ppg - less than five points on average behind the nation's top scoring program (Northwestern State, 84.1 ppg). Kalinoski, the A-10 Player of the Year, leads the charge with 17.0 ppg, adding in 128 assists to pace the squad with a 5.6 rpg mark that is second behind Barham's 6.0 rpg. Gibbs (16.3 ppg), Sullivan (12.8 ppg) and Barham (11.9 ppg) round out a group of double-digit scorers for the offensively driven Wildcats. The team's defense has been a problem at times however, allowing opponents to net 69.0 ppg on 44 percent shooting.

Iowa suffered through a miserable offensive performance that bounced the Hawkeyes from the Big Ten Tournament. Iowa connected on a mere 26.3 percent of its shots in the loss, which included a 3-of-15 mark from 3-point distance. Aaron White had a stellar game for Iowa, tallying a 21-point, 13-rebound double-double, while Jarrod Uthoff netted 17 points with seven boards. Mike Gesell chipped in nine points and five assists before he fouled out of the contest. One of the only reasons the Hawkeyes remained as close as they did was due to a 25-of-31 shooting touch from the free-throw line.

 

The biggest factor for Iowa against a strong offensive team like Davidson will be the Hawkeyes' defense, which allows a mere 61.9 ppg to opponents on 39.2 percent shooting from the field. White leads the team in scoring with 16.0 ppg, adding in a team-best 7.5 rpg mark to his resume. Uthoff chips in 12.3 ppg and a team-best 54 blocked shots, and serves as the only other player on the Hawkeyes to average double digits in scoring. As a unit, Iowa is converting 42.7 percent of its shots this season for 69.4 ppg.

 

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