Why Iowa is a legitimate contender

Versatile senior guard Roy Devyn Marble is averaging 16.1 points per game this season. Ryan Young/Getty Images

When Fran McCaffery was introduced as the 22nd men's basketball coach of the Iowa Hawkeyes on March 27, 2010, he promised a style of play that would fill Carver-Hawkeye Arena again. After all, he inherited a team in disarray that averaged 60.5 points the previous season.

At the news conference, McCaffery said, “We are going to run and press and change defenses and disrupt rhythm.”

He has delivered.

The No. 15 Hawkeyes are 16-4 (5-2 in the Big Ten) as they get ready to host No. 7 Michigan State on Tuesday night (7 p.m. ET, ESPN). They are winning according to the rebuilding blueprint that worked for McCaffery at UNC-Greensboro and Siena.

Iowa’s style of play is aggressive on both ends of the court, and it is fueled by a deep rotation of 11 players who average from 12 to 27 minutes per game.

After taking new jobs, coaches will talk about running, scoring points and playing an exciting brand of basketball, but McCaffery has put his money where his mouth is. The Hawkeyes are averaging 85 points per game, and their average offensive possession length is less than 15 seconds, the third-fastest rate in the country.

How do they do it?