Mason-Northern Iowa men's basketball preview

Over the past four seasons, The University of Northern Iowa men’s basketball team has consistently been at the top of the Missouri Valley Conference, competing in the postseason in each of those seasons.

To open the 2012-2013 campaign, UNI has been faced with a tough slate of games in non-conference plays to prepare for a strong conference season with No. 16 Creighton and No. 24 Wichita State leading the pack. With single digit losses to top-25 ranked No. 2 Louisville and No. 19 Memphis, the Panthers are a talented group that average 81.4 points per game in their five wins (47.7 points in their three losses).

A win against the Panthers would be a quality for the Patriots as the Panthers have the opportunity to secure signature wins in-conference against Creighton and Wichita State along with a non-conference game against No. 21 UNLV.

Key Returners

Marc Sonnen – Guard – Senior

Sonnen is the Panthers’ most lethal weapon from behind the arc. Leading the team with 58 three-point field goals in 2011-2012, he shot 44 percent from deep last season on 131 attempts. The Patriots held Sonnen in check in the last meeting between the schools in 2011, only allowing the guard to muster five points in 29 minutes of play. Mason will need to stick with the same game plan they did in that game, closing out hard on the shooter and forcing him to take contested jumpers.

Jake Koch – Forward – Senior

Koch leads the Panthers in rebounding (6.6 rebounds per game), blocks (13), steals (8) and averages 10.3 points per game. His game is very balanced and he prides himself on his defense. However, he will be nothing compared to Mike Muscala or Alex Len and the Mason frontcourt should be able to handle him.

New Additions

Matt Bohannon – Guard – Redshirt Freshman

The redshirt freshman has been a fine addition to the Panther lineup, contributing to a 5-0 record for UNI when he starts. Bohannon averages 6.8 points per game and provides strong defense on the perimeter.

How Mason Wins

On paper, UNI and Mason have a handful of similarities. Defensively, the two teams have the exact same scoring defense (58.4 points per game) and each turn the ball over around 13 times per game. For Mason, closing out on shooters and defending the drive will be keys to victory. Guards Sonnen and Anthony James can penetrate well and will look to spread the floor, kicking to open shooters on the wings when given the chance. Also, whoever controls the turnover statistic will win this game. 

Photo by Dakota Cunningham

No votes yet
Student Media Group: