The Missouri Valley Conference is looking like a multi-bid league this season thanks to Northern Iowa’s 9-1 start. The Panthers can build on their résumé Saturday when they face Iowa at the Big Four Classic.
Iowa coach Fran McCaffery commented on the Panthers during his press conference previewing Saturday’s matchup. Here is what he had to say:
—McCaffery on what he thinks makes Northern Iowa successful:
“It’s a combination of things. You start with experience, okay? But that’s not why they’re having and why they’re eventually going to have the kind of year they end up with, which is going to be special. They have pieces that fit, so they have quickness in the backcourt, they have shooters on the perimeter. They have big guys that can shoot the ball. They have a great post player, probably a guy that’s going to be the player of the year in the league, in [senior forward Seth] Tuttle.
—McCaffery on Northern Iowa’s unselfish play:
“I think if you’re going to play a lot of guys, which [Northern Iowa coach] Ben [Jacobson] does, you’ve got to have guys that are willing to be the leader scorer one day and not the leading scorer the next day, and that’s what they have. Every game it’s two or three different guys seemingly. It could be five in doubles because of the way they shoot the ball. But that’s what’s been impressive to me is the way they share the ball.”
—McCaffery on Panthers guard Wes Washpun:
“Yeah, and it makes him that much harder to guard when you surround him with the shooters that they have and the big guys that they have. You’ve got to keep him in front of you. That’s the bottom line. He’s great at going by people. They give him space and set screens for him and his explosiveness has been very good, but he’s finishing. … It’s not all layups. It’s not all jumpers. It’s not all threes or free throws. It’s a combination of all of those things.”