Iowa Basketball: How is Melsahn Basabe performing as a starter?

After Coach Fran McCaffery stated that junior Melsahn Basabe had earned a starting spot on the roster, Basabe was put to use, replacing Anthony Clemmons as a starter. Now that he has started four games, we can examine some of his play and judge the move.

Iowa is 2-2 in those games with the two losses coming against a ranked Minnesota team and a double overtime loss in Madison, Wisconsin against the Badgers.  He’s averaging 21 minutes now, not far from where he was before. One thing about his stat line’s that has changed though is his FGA.

The presence of Adam Woodbury also on the court at the same time as Basabe has changed the way he operates in the offense and limited his shot opportunities. Generally playing back to the basket, Basabe has no room down on the block with Woodbury generally occupying that position.

The player that has suffered the most though is Clemmons, before averaging mid 20s in minutes played, he has only gone above 20 minutes once in the four game-stretch where Basabe has started and his contributions have been minimal. He hasn’t had more than five assists since the January 10th game against Michigan State.

Iowa is improving though nonetheless, but will need to go 6-1 or 5-2 and play well in the Big Ten Conference Tournament to keep their hopes of busting some brackets come March. Basabe is key to this, now that he has been inserted into the starting lineup it is time to let him get back to having the post to himself, by leaving Woodbury on the bench for at least half of Basabe’s minutes he can effectively work on the block and rise back to his previous level of FGA.

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