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Friday, July 15, 2005
Reader Response Question of the Day
Due to students' refusal to further acquiesce rising tuition rates and the resulting budget cuts, the Iowa Board of Regents must consolidate the athletic departments of Iowa, Iowa State, and UNI. Your job, as coach of the new basketball superpower, is to select your starting five from among the three schools' collective roster.

Here are the rules. . .
- Iowa, Iowa State, and UNI players only
- A player must be expected to make a roster for the 2005-06 season (e.g., Theo Davis is OK, Jared Homan is out).
- No positional requirements. i.e, you can pick five guards, but you better be prepared to back up your choices.
- Choose players that you think would best allow your team to win right now. Offense and defense both matter.
- Choose five players, and five players only. Don't say, "I'll take these four guys, and these two guys will each play 20 minutes." The less players you can choose, the harder the choices become, and the louder the debate gets.
- Incoming freshmen are allowed.

Will you build around speed? Outside shooting? Tough post play? Who will distribute the ball? Who will shutdown other teams' go-to guy? There's plenty of quality guys to choose from, but it won't be easy to cut the list down to five. Here are links to rosters to get you started.

Iowa State
Northern Iowa

You can post your starting five (and supporting reasons, if you like) in the comments of this post. I'll get my lineup out soon - by Monday for sure.

Like Jim Rome says - "have a take and don't suck!"
PG - Will Blalock, ISU - Poised for a bigtime breakout season. Already one of the best point guards in the Big 12 he can get to the basket just about anytime he wants to and can distribute the ball. A solid defensive player and was one of the best in the conference in steals.

SG - Jeff Horner, Iowa - Can be a deadly shooter from outside and has the skills to run the point as well. Putting him at shooting guard lets him play his more natural position, IMO.

G - Ben Jacobson - A guy that can score points as the main option in an offense and a killer three point shooter. He should get plenty of looks off of Blalock drives.

PF - Greg Brunner - Easily the best returning post man in the group. Should provide some points down low and a lot of rebounds.

For my final pick I'm torn. Grant Stout is really the only other big man worthy of a team like this but I'd still rather have a player with the heart of Curtis Stinson. I know that he's been criticized for his inefficiency on this site but he's hasn't played a full season with two healthy hands or wrists. In the end I have to go with...

G - Curtis Stinson, ISU - He's a great defensive player and has played down low in ISU's 2-3 zone. The team will certainly be undersized but with the four guards that this team has they should be able to create some matchup problems of their own. With some other scorers on the team he will be able to pick his spots taking over games when he needs to (see Virginia and at Kansas last year) while cutting down on his turnovers with other scoring options for the rest of the game.

Honorable mention or coming off the bench would be Haluska from Iowa, Clark from ISU, and Stout, Crawford, and Coleman from UNI. If Taggart is as good of an offensive player as he has been billed he would also make the bench for this team. Any of those guys could have strong cases for the starting five. There's clearly a lot of talent on these three teams and they all should be playing for a higher seed in this year's NCAA tournament.
Ben, way to man up and take the first stab at a squad! That's a good looking team you put together. I don't agree with all the picks, but I guess that's the whole point of this question. I'm excited to make my own team now. I'm heading out of town tomorrow, so I won't get my list done until Sunday. I want to make sure I have plenty of time to think it through.

Everyone else - what's your take? Can you make a case for a better starting five? We want to hear from you.
My lineup surprises even me...

F: Greg Brunner
F: Adam Haluska
G: Ben Jacobson
G: Jeff Horner
G: Curtis Stinson

It's lacking in size, but my main consideration was that these guys are consistent yet have the ability to take a game over at any time.
PG - Horner. Good shooter, good assist/to ratio.
SG - Jacobsen. Among the bBest pure shooters in the country, IMO.
SF - Haluska. Great athlete, godo size, good shooter.
PF- Brunner. Best post player in the state (at least that we know of... Taggart or someone may be a gem).
PF - Stout. Probably the best non-Brunner post player in the state.

I'm surprised at my picks too. Slow guards, all things considered. If I substitute a quick guard, as I would like to, I either lost Horner (too good of a PG), Jacobson (too good of a shooter), or Haluska (too good all around). I don't want to do that. It's a toss up between guards who can't really shoot (ISU guards) and guards who can't really break someone down off the dribble (Horner and Jacobson).

As for the forward positions, all of the ISU guys are too unproven, Coleman is too small, Hansen is too weak, so that leaves Bru and Stout. Much as I'd love to have a 6-11 banger in there, doesn't look like one is available.
Thanks for the response, Howzi. Your team looks very close to mine, which should be up in another hour or so.
Howzi - looks like we had the internal debate at the same point. Leave off Stinson, and your guards are pretty slow; inlude Stinson, and you sacrifice some quality shooting. In the end, I had to take Stinson for his defense and his ability to take guys off the dribble, which I want so I can free up my other guards. There should still be plenty of capable shooters on my team, with Jacobson and Haluska around, and with Brunner and Stout showing improvement this summer on already decent outside shots.
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