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November 16, 1995 - Image 29

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-11-16
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18 - The Michigan Daily - TPIOFF "959- - Thursday, Novermber 16, 1995

Iowa plays role of favorite
Hawks return 4 starters; including All-American candidate Jess
Settles and marksman Chris Kingsbury * By Berry SollenbrL er

The Michigan Daily - TPO
Bik Ten? Ten'might not be the only mtna

The Iowa Hawkeyes are the
media's pick to win the Big Ten title
- and for good reason.
They return four starters from last
year's 21-12 team: Jess Settles, Chris
Kingsbury, Andre Woolridge and
Kenyon Murray. And none of them re-
semble the stiffs the Hawkeyes have
been churning out in recent years.
The All-American candidate
Settles is the conference's preseason
player of the year and should be in the
Armed Forces, if you listen to Illinois
coach Lou Henson.
"Settles looked like a four-year ma-
rine when I saw him in high school,"
he said.
Fortunately for Iowa, the junior
forward is in uniform - a black and
yellow one -after back problems hin-
dered his sophomore season. He aver-
aged 15.6 points per game and 6.2 re-
bounds per game a year ago despite
back injuries that forced him to miss
seven games and kept him from start-
ing seven others.
"Jess Settles had a terrific training
camp," Iowa coach Tom Davis said.
"He took it very easy this summer, but

Iowa is expected to
finish just above
Michigan in the Big
Ten this season.

we still try to take it easy on him. I
would say he's healthy."
In Kingsbury, Davis has a guard
who can shoot like Clint Eastwood.
The junior already holds Hawkeye ca-
reer records for 3-point field goals and
attempts in a game, season and career.
"I've never seen anything like it,"
Davis said. "He can maintain his form
all the way back to the half-court area."
Yikes.
Murray, a former Michigan Mr.
Basketball winner at Central High
School in Battle Creek, is the team's

defensive stopper. Last season he led
the league in steals (2.2 per game) and
also chipped in 11.5 points per game.
Woolridge, the point guard, is per-
haps the most underrated of the four
returners, but Michigan fans should re-
member him. He scored 19 points and
almost led Iowa to a win over the Wol-
verines last Jan. 11 at Crisler Arena.
Michigan eventually won, 83-82, in
two overtimes when the Wolverines'
Maceo Baston batted away a
Woolridge shot in the game's waning
moments.
"With Iowa, nobody talks about
Woolridge," Henson said. "But he
might be the best of all of them."
The Hawkeyes only significant loss
from a year ago is forward Jim Bartels,
who averaged 11.2 points and 6.2 re-
bounds per game his senior season.
If they are to capture the league
title this season, they will no doubt
have to improve their record in close
games. Iowa lost four one-point con-
ference games a year ago.
With that kind of mark, Davis isn't
exactly going to guarantee a league
championship.
"I don't think we're overconfident
by any stretch of the imagination,"
Davis said. "It seems to me that I've
never seen a (conference) race in my
nine years here that has as many teams
with a shot to win it.
"You could literally look at seven
or eight teams and say, 'This is why
they could win it."'
This could be the best Iowa team
since Davis' first year in Iowa City ~~
1986-87. That squad, led by B.J.
Armstrong and Kevin Gamble, won its
first 18 games and finished 30-5.
The Hawkeyes ended up third in
the Big Ten behind eventual National
Champion Indiana and Purdue.

ne and seven."
"What was the Big Ten's record in the 1995
CAA Basketball Tournament?"
"Correct!"
"Let's go with college basketball stats for 200,
Alex."
"All right ... six."
"How many Big Ten teams made the NCAAs last
year?"
"Exactly! Wow ... my bracket here shows that's
more than any other conference in the nation. And the
league won only one game. Heck, even the Mid-
American Conference got a win in the tournament."

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the NCAA Tournament isn't
necessarily reason to panic, the
NCAA Selection Committee isn't
likely to give the league six

Last year: 21-12 overall, 9-9 Big Tenr
Postseason: NIT third round
Returning starters:
Jess Settles (15.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg)
Chris Kingsbury (16.8 ppg)
Andre Woolridge (14.0 ppg)
Key losses:
Jim Bartels (11.2 ppg, 6.2 rpg)
Coach: Tom Davis
Career Record: 458-250 (24 years)
Record at Iowa: 184-100 (9 years)
SETTLE S

Scary, isn't it?
The Big Ten - for years
respected as one of the best, if not
very best, basketball conferences -
is coming off its worst NCAA
showing since the tournament
expanded to 64 teams in 1985.
The league sent six teams to the
NCAAs and got one win - Purdue
over Wisconsin-Green Bay - by a
point. And the losses certainly
weren't to the North Carolinas and
the UCLAs of the world.
Consider:
Western Kentucky beat Michigan.
Minnesota lost to St. Louis. Weber
State humbled Michigan State. And-
Tulsa dropped Illinois. Not exactly
quality losses.
"I know that a lot of people are
concerned that we got knocked out
early last year," Illinois coach Lou
Henson said. "That probably won't
happen again in 20 years."
Probably not. But the conference
isn't strong this year, either. Only two
teams seem capable of making noise
nationally - Iowa and Michigan.
And while the Hawkeyes return
four starters, including All-American
candidate Jess Settles, they didn't
even make the tournament last
season. The Wolverines are young
and talented, but young means only
one player with more than a year's
experience and that talent doesn't
include a proven three-point shooter.
Illinois, Indiana and Purdue could
contend for the league title, but that
hardly translates into success in the
NCAAs.
Not like it used to.
In 1989, Michigan won the
national championship and finished
third in the Big Ten, behind Indiana
and Illinois. The Hoosiers lost to
eventual national runner-up Seton
Hall in the Sweet Sixteen and the
Illini lost to the Wolverines in the
Final Four.
This year's No. 3 Big Ten team
will be happy if it wins one game in
the tournament.
As talented as the Fab Five was, it
wasn't good enough to win a league
title. Jimmy Jackson and Ohio State
reigned when the five were frosh.
And Calbert Cheaney and Indiana
edged them in the league race their
sophomore season.
This year's marquee player is
Settles.
t aa*

Jess Settles?
He's a tough
forward with a
nice shooting
touch but hardly
resembles the
Webbers, Steve
Alfords and
BARRY Glenn Robinsons
SOLLENBERGER of years past.
Sollenberger "I think we've
in Paradise all recognized
that we've lost
some talent,"
Iowa coach Tom Davis said.
Is the conference still able to bring
in the top recruits?
Michigan, Purdue and Wisconsin
landed solid classes last spring.
According to many experts, Michigan
coach Steve Fisher reeled in the best
class in the nation for the second
straight season. ESPN's preseason
publication gave Purdue an 'A' for
signing three top recruits. Andp
Wisconsin's Sam Okey is generally
regarded as one of the top 25
freshmen nationally. Evenjust a wee
But a couple of the Big Ten's
former powerhouses - Ohio State put you to work f
and Indiana - are struggling on the get the idea.
court and in the recruiting wars.
Buckeye coach Randy Ayers We even have po
hasn't had a star since Jackson left for of study. Techni
the pros in 1992. Just three years ago,
Ohio State was one of the nation's as well as clerica
best teams. able contacts aloe
Now it's one of the worst.
While it's too soon to say the Last, and certain
Hoosiers have dropped a notch,
they've suffered through two straight If workin with
sub-par seasons. Coach Bob Knight
still has Brian Evans, but the days of appealing to you
Cheaney, Damon Bailey and Alan your free time in
Henderson are gone.
Maybe high school kids are
passing on the Hoosiers because they
would enroll in the Army if they
wanted a drill sergeant as a boss.
The lure of big bucks in the NBA
has also affected the Big Ten.
"We've lost an awful lot of good
players out of our conference the past
two or three years," Ohio State coach
Randy Ayers said.
But why does it seem that other
conferences like the SEC and ACC
are able to adjust to players bolting
for the NBA early?
The truth is, the Big Ten needs to
be concerned. While one bad year in
i'1+ e - ' r bai.a st i b 1 i i. +Y " o 1dx .s t , 4 3i m ,

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tournament berths this
The Big Ten needs a
that it is again mentioned
ACC, Big East and Big I

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