#86 Northern Iowa Men's Basketball 2019-2020 Preview

Northern Iowa Panthers
2019-2020 Overall Rank: #86
Conference Rank: #1 Missouri Valley
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For the third straight season Northern Iowa has failed to finish above .500 in MVC play. Last season ended painfully after the Panthers blew an 18 point lead in the conference tournament final to Bradley. However, with six of their top seven scorers returning, UNI should be able to not only have a winning conference season, but also compete for a trip to the NCAA Tournament.
2018-19 Record: 16-18, 9-9
2018-19 Postseason: None
Coach: Ben Jacobson
Coach Record: 266-168 at Northern Iowa, 266-168 overall
Key Departed Players:
Wyatt Lohaus, Guard, 10.4 ppg
Miles Wentzien, Guard, 3.6 ppg
Key Returning Players:
AJ Green, Sophomore, Guard, 15.1 ppg
Luke McDonnell, Senior, Forward, 7.6 ppg
Trae Berhow, Junior, Guard, 7.6 ppg
Isaiah Brown, Senior, Guard, 7.4 ppg
Spencer Haldeman, Senior, Guard, 7.7 ppg
Tywhon Pickford, Junior, Guard, 4.1 ppg
Shandon Goldman, Senior, Forward, 2.8 ppg
Justin Dahl, Senior, Center, 2.6 ppg
Key New Players:
James Betz, Freshman, Forward
Noah Carter, Freshman, Forward
Evan Gauger, Freshman, Guard
Cole Henry, Freshman, Forward
Antwan Kimmons, Freshman, Guard
Derek Krogmann, Freshman, Forward
Logan Wolf, Freshman, Guard
AJ Green is coming off a great freshman campaign in which he averaged a team high 15.0 points per game. He is not shy about hoisting up shots from anywhere on the floor and it mostly worked out last year. That year of experience should lead to more consistency shooting the basketball. Trae Berhow, Isaiah Brown, Spencer Haldeman and Tywhon Pickford are all experienced upperclassmen on the perimeter. Berhow and Haldeman are prolific outside shooters, while Pickford is coming off a disappointing sophomore season. Brown is a big, versatile 6-7 guard who can attack the basket and help out in the rebounding department. While Brown is the perimeter player with size, it is Berhow who does a bulk of the work on the glass. Last season he led the team with 6.1 rebounds and his ability to rebound allows the Panthers to play a bit small. Luke McDonnell is often the only forward on the floor. The 6-9 senior is a consistent outside shooter who can stretch the defense. The return of Austin Phyfe, who missed much of last season with an injury, and the addition of freshmen Noah Carter and Cole Henry, will help bolster the frontcourt. Northern Iowa is always going to play tough defense, but they need a couple players to compliment Green in the scoring department. If they can find that, this group has the talent and experience to make a big jump up the MVC standings.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 65.1 (330th in nation, 10th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 65.6 (40, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 41.6 (307, 10)
Field-Goal Defense: 44.0 (191, 6)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.1 (130, 3)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.8 (152, 6)
Free-Throw Percentage: 74.7 (41, 2)
Rebound Margin: -0.1 (197, 6)
Assists Per Game: 10.9 (328, 10)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.6 (58, 1)