Over at SBN Seattle, we've been previewing the 11-seed Gonzaga Bulldogs' Cinderella chances in the Spokane bracket of the 2011 NCAA Tournament more extensively in our tournament storystream. As part of that coverage, I had the opportunity to do a brief Q&A with Ross of SBN's Iowa Hawkeyes site Black Heart Gold Pants. You can find my answers to his questions at BHGP and his answers to my questions after the jump.
If you really want more, talk up the game in the comments.
BHGP: The truth is this Iowa team isn't very deep at all -- if starters get dinged up or suffer foul trouble, they're in big trouble because the bench hasn't been able to offer much support all year. That said, if Kalli Hanson's outside shot is falling (she's a 36% shooter from long-range on the season), she could provide some welcome scoring relief from off the bench.
BHGP: The overriding factor in all of their losses was poor shooting, especially from long-range. They shot 41% or worse in every loss (and their three-point percentages was usually much, much worse), which is fatal for a team that depends on a potent offense. Iowa tends to particularly struggle if their three-pointers aren't falling because they don't have much of a Plan B in that situation -- they struggle to pound the ball in low at times. And, frankly, depth has also been a problem in many of their losses: with such an unproductive bench, the starters are often to forced to play long minutes and in some of the losses they've looked visibly fatigued at the end of games, leading to sloppy execution on offense and defense.
BHGP: Even on a truly neutral court, Gonzaga would be a difficult draw for Iowa; put them on their home court and the challenge is only exacerbated. They did have a winning record on the road this year (6-5), but they didn't exactly beat a murderer's row away from Iowa City, either (South Dakota State, Drake, Minnesota, Illinois, Northwestern, and Indiana). The best thing Iowa has going for them is that they're a fairly experienced team with past tournament experience, a solid coach, and a pair of dynamite performers (Kachine Alexander and Jamie Printy) who are capable of taking over and lighting up any opponent. Iowa will need those two to be at their best against Gonzaga, but if they have big games Iowa will have a good chance to advance to the second round.