Northern Iowa Men's Basketball 2013 CIT Tournament Capsule

Northern Iowa Panthers
Missouri Valley (18-14, 11-7)


Northern Iowa played pretty well throughout the season. There are not many bad losses on the resume, despite all of the losses. The Panthers were pretty much an afterthought in the Missouri Valley Conference until they got hot in February by winning the first six games of the month. That streak included wins over both Wichita State and Creighton.

Big Wins: 12/23 Saint Mary’s (82-75), 2/2 Wichita State (57-52), 2/13 Creighton (61-54)
Bad Losses: 1/9 Evansville (59-62), 2/27 at Southern Illinois (57-63), 3/8 vs Illinois State (65-73)
Coach: Ben Jacobson (7 seasons at Northern Iowa)

Why They Can Surprise:
Coach Ben Jacobson traditionally has versatile big men. The story is the same in 2012-2013. Jake Koch’s outside shot has not been very consistent during his senior season, but he still does plenty of scoring in the paint. Even the threat of Koch stepping outside and knocking down the long ball opens up the offense. Koch is also very strong on the glass and a superb passer for a 6-9, 245 pound forward. The continued development of sophomore Seth Tuttle has helped UNI on both ends of the court. Tuttle is an efficient scorer in the paint and a threat to at least knock down the occasional mid-range jumper. The shooters on the perimeter will get plenty of open looks with teams worrying about Tuttle and Koch in the middle. And the Panthers are not afraid to shoot from long range. Marc Sonnen is one of the most consistent shooters in the nation, connecting on 45.0 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc. Point guard Deon Mitchell is a capable shooter as well and Matt Bohannon is a big shooting threat off of the bench.

Why They Can Disappoint:
Anthony James is the Panthers best scorer. He is a great slasher and stepped right into a starting role this season after being the sixth man. However, James is not a shooter and a thigh injury may make him less aggressive attacking the basket. The Panthers can win games with their quality inside-outside game, but having a player like James who can create his own shot is vital for a team that can be stagnant on offense at times. If James is not playing like he did before his injury, which does not appear to be an issue after his one quality game during Arch Madness, the inconsistent Northern Iowa offense will likely be even more inconsistent and that spells trouble during tournament time.

Probable Starters:
Deon Mitchell, Sophomore, Guard, 9.4 ppg, 3.5 apg
Anthony James, Senior, Guard, 12.7 ppg, 2.2 apg
Marc Sonnen, Senior, Guard, 10.3 ppg, 1.4 apg
Seth Tuttle, Sophomore, Forward, 10.7 ppg, 6.5 rpg
Jake Koch, Senior, Forward, 10.7 ppg, 6.5 rpg

Key Roleplayers:
Matt Bohannon, Freshman, Guard, 5.1 ppg, 2.2 rpg
Chip Rank, Junior, Forward, 2.9 ppg, 2.5 rpg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 66.1 (208th in nation, 7th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 61.8 (56, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.1 (131, 6)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.7 (173, 5)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.8 (39, 3)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.3 (67, 4)
Free-Throw Percentage: 76.5 (6, 1)
Rebound Margin: 0.4 (170, 3)
Assists Per Game: 12.4 (195, 6)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.4 (96, 6)

Last Five Postseason Appearances:
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

*all team stats through 3/10


See All Men’s Basketball Postseason Capsules