Tuesday, August 10, 2010
UNI to start 2010-11 with a bang
By Eamonn Brennan
The Northern Iowa Panthers ended their 2009-10 season about as well as they could have hoped. They're about to begin the new season with a similar opportunity.
UNI, which famously downed Kansas in the second round of last year's NCAA tournament before losing to Final Four-bound Michigan State, is beginning the 2010-11 season with a chance for another upset. On Nov. 12, the Panthers will face off against Syracuse in the Carrier Dome. It will be the school's first non-conference game -- in other words, their first game, period -- of the season. Intense.
The difference between Cinderella and the top mid-majors in college hoops -- Xavier, Butler, Gonzaga, et al. -- is that those three expect to be good every year, regardless of personnel losses. They recruit at a high level. They play deep into the NCAA tournament. And when they lose key players, they have enough to reload almost immediately. UNI's 2010-11 season -- starting with their big matchup at the Carrier Dome -- will be a test to see if they can join that level. Whatever happens, it ought to be interesting.