With Garza returning, Hawkeyes are positioned with high expectations

Published: Aug. 3, 2020 at 10:51 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - When Luka Garza announced he was returning to Iowa for his senior season, it solidified that the Hawkeyes will be one of the nation’s top ranked teams to begin next season. As of Monday, Iowa was highly ranked in a number of nationwide polls.

The ranked third in CollegeHoopsToday, fourth in Stadium’s poll, and fifth in ESPN’s. If they crack the top-10 in the AP Poll, it will just be the seventh time in program history and a first in Fran McCaffery’s tenure.

“I’ve never had a team this deep,” McCaffery told reporters on Sunday.

Last season, the Hawkeyes were one of the NCAA’s most potent offensive teams. In 2020, every starter comes back plus the addition of the program’s all time leading three-point shooter Jordan Bohannon.

“I think you have mentally tough, veteran group with multiple talents and skill sets that blend very well together,” McCaffery said.

Granted, its still August, which in 2020 feels like an eternity away from when the season might tip off, but the possibility of doing what no Iowa team has done before was the key reason that All-American Luka Garza returned.

“The team that we could have and the potential of the history we could make is something that I feel like years from now I would’ve regretted not being a part of,” Garza said, moments after he announced his decision to remain at Iowa for his senior season.

“Nothing is going to be given to us just because of our preseason ranking,” said junior Connor McCaffery. “This is all going to be because of our hard work this upcoming season and we are all extremely hungry.”

Having expectations this high is something new for every player on the team and for coach McCaffery, who now has to find a way to deliver the results that so many are expecting.

“Whatever you are ranked in the preseason, it has no effect on what your ranked when the season’s over,” McCaffery explained. “Its great to talk about it, and yes we have the ability to do it, but there are a number of other teams that have the same ability, and we have to be respectful of our opponents.”

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