Northern Iowa Men's Basketball 2015 NCAA Tournament Capsule

Northern Iowa Panthers
Missouri Valley (30-3, 16-2)


The story in the Missouri Valley Conference was supposed to be all about Wichita State. Northern Iowa had other ideas. Step for step, the Panthers were not only right there with the Shockers, but right there with the best teams in the nation. Following a 52-49 loss at Evansville to open conference play, Northern Iowa reeled off 16 wins in a row before a regular season finale loss at Wichita State.

Big Wins: 11/30 Richmond (55-50), 12/20 vs Iowa (56-44), 1/31 Wichita State (70-54)
Bad Losses: 12/13 at VCU (87-93), 1/1 at Evansville (49-52), 2/28 at Wichita State (60-74)
Coach: Ben Jacobson

Why They Can Surprise:
There are not many more efficient teams in the country than Northern Iowa. Seth Tuttle is one of the most versatile big men in the nation and the Panthers work through their talented big man. Tuttle averages 15.3 points per game and can score inside and out. He is shooting 61.6 percent from the floor and 42.9 percent from the arc. As one would expect from a 6-8 senior forward, Tuttle is also the best rebounder on the team. But what makes him such a special talent is his passing ability. Not often does a five man lead his team in assists and have a positive assist-to-turnover ratio. This is a team that wants to limit possessions and play solid defense. They can stick around against anybody and throw nine different players on the floor to keep that defensive intensity up. This is the type of team that the opposition can feel like they are playing well against, but find themselves down by 15 at the half.

Why They Can Disappoint:
Tuttle needs help and he almost always gets it from a deep group of fellow starters and bench players. Marvin Singleton has done a great job complimenting Tuttle in the post and Nate Buss would be a starter on most other teams in the country. The backcourt has a myriad of weapons and scoring threats. Wes Washpun does not start, but he is an amazing slasher and a big time scoring threat. Everybody on the team is a shooting threat, yet Paul Jesperson and Matt Bohanan are the most efficient three-point shooters. Add in freshman Wyatt Lohaus and senior Deon Mitchell, who is finally playing consistently, and Coach Ben Jacobson rarely lacks secondary scoring options behind Tuttle. It has been a strength for Northern Iowa to have so many dynamic scoring threats so far, but eventually Tuttle is going to have an off day and others need to step up even more. In their 93-87 double overtime loss against VCU, Tuttle was just 2-4 shooting with five points. Washpun scored 27 and Bohannon had 18. They stepped up, but it was still not enough to beat a good team like VCU.

Probable Starters:
Deon Mitchell, Senior, Guard, 7.4 ppg, 2.4 apg
Jeremy Morgan, Sophomore, Guard, 6.0 ppg
Matt Bohannon, Junior, Guard, 5.7 ppg
Marvin Singleton, Senior, Forward, 5.0 ppg, 5.1 rpg
Seth Tuttle, Senior, Forward, 15.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 3.3 apg

Key Roleplayers:
Nate Buss, Senior, Forward, 7.4 ppg, 2.8 rpg
Paul Jesperson, Junior, Guard, 5.4 ppg
Wyatt Lohaus, Freshman, Guard, 3.8 ppg
Wes Washpun, Junior, Guard, 7.7 ppg, 2.6 apg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 65.4 (223rd in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 54.3 (4, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 48.3 (18, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.1 (24, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.3 (72, 1)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 39.8 (13, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 72.6 (57, 4)
Rebound Margin: 2.4 (102, 3)
Assists Per Game: 11.9 (227, 5)
Turnovers Per Game: 10.5 (20, 2)

Recent Postseason Appearances:
2013    CIT    Second Round win over UIC
2013    CIT    Quarterfinal win over Bradley
2013    CIT    Semifinal loss to Weber State
2012    NIT    First Round win over St. Joseph's
2012    NIT    Second Round loss to Drexel
2011    CIT    First Round win over Rider
2011    CIT    Quarterfinal loss to Southern Methodist
2010    NCAA    Round of 64 win over UNLV
2010    NCAA    Round of 32 win over Kansas
2010    NCAA    Regional Semifinal loss to Michigan State
2009    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to Purdue
2006    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to Georgetown
2005    NCAA    Round of loss to Wisconsin

*all team stats through 3/8


See All Men’s Basketball Postseason Capsules