IOWA CITY, Iowa — Fran McCaffery may very well need every second between now and tipoff. Thankfully he has a few days to pick his starters.
He’s not settled on who be on the court when Iowa hosts Regis University in an exhibition game at 8 p.m. (ET) on Friday night (TV: BTN-Plus).
“I have my starting lineup,” the men’s basketball coach said. “I assumed it would be the same five guys I started on Sunday, but I’m not sure now.”
McCaffery didn’t go into any more detail on who he is considering starting. The Hawkeyes held a closed scrimmage on Sunday. McCaffery said the play of his team in practice and in the scrimmage has made his choice harder.
“We had some guys step up and play well,” McCaffery said. “We had some guys that I thought were going to play well that didn’t play well and we just are going to be moving at a slower pace than we would like in terms of figuring all that out.”
One decision will be easy for McCaffery. Second-team All-Big Ten guard Peter Jok will start. He averaged 16.1 points last season and is the only returning starter on a team that lost 60.3 percent of its scoring, 61.3 percent of its rebounds and 77.6 percent of its assists.
Jordan Bohannon and Christian Williams are battling to start at point guard. A series of long, lengthy players are fighting to fill out the starting lineup, including Tyler Cook, Dale Jones, Nick Bauer, Dom Uhl, Ryan Kriener and Brady Ellingson.
“You have to pick your top five,” McCaffery said. “You have to pick your top eight and top 10 and then you have to figure out who is right after that. It moves down the line because those guys aren’t going to play much. I don’t have anyone I want to fit into that category. I have no one playing horribly.
“Like I said, there has been a little bit of inconsistency, but everyone has shown signs of being very good players. You want to give them as long as possible to go after that playing time that’s in front of them.”
McCaffery said Jones, who was dealing with an ankle injury, will be ready to go on Friday. The exhibition will one part of a bigger puzzle McCaffery will use to figure out who will be his starting five for the season opener against Kennesaw State on Nov. 11.
“A lot of times you get to this point and you say there are two or three guys I really want to get a peek at and make some decisions on, but that number is way more than three,” McCaffery said. “That is going to be the tough thing.
“That’s why I say we need more time. We have today and (Thursday’s) practice, the exhibition game and then practice next week because I have a lot of guys that are stepping up and saying ‘I need playing time. I deserve playing time’ and I want to be fair in how I distribute that playing time and who I go with.”