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Talkin’ Tall Firs: 2K Empire Classic

Syracuse, Connecticut, Oregon, Iowa in the Big Apple

Oregon versus Iowa and UConn versus Syracuse in the best arena in the world, Madison Square Garden. It doesn’t get any better than that. My prediction for this tournament will be #15 Syracuse over #13 Oregon in what should be a very interesting championship matchup between Tyus Battle and the Ducks.

Game Time:

Oregon (2-0) vs Iowa (2-0) at MSG (9:15 PM ET, ESPN2) on Thursday, November 15th

Iowa KenPom Ranking: #38

Key Numbers:

  • 85 Points Per Game
  • 38 Rebounds Per Game
  • 15.5 Assists Per Game
  • 72.5 Points Allowed Per Game
  • Iowa has beaten UMKC (77-63) and Green Bay (93-82) so far this season

Player to Watch For:

Tyler Cook, Junior - 14.5 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 3.0 APG, 1.5 SPG, 1.5 BPG

A 6’9 high-motor athlete who attacks the rim and can guard ball handlers, regardless of their size. He looks to be the veteran leader on this Iowa team and could quite possibly be a late first-round draft pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

Score Prediction: 98-86, Ducks over Hawkeyes

The Iowa offense can hang with almost anyone in the nation but their biggest weakness comes on the defensive end of the floor. Look for Oregon to put up big numbers on offense against the Hawkeyes.

Regardless of a win or loss in the first round, Oregon will play the next day on November 16th against either Syracuse or Connecticut.

*Arden Cravalho is a senior at Gonzaga University... Follow him on Twitter @a_cravalho