When Oregon flies all the way to New York for two games at the end of the week, the Ducks will do so short-handed.
Louis King, one of the prized recruits of Oregon's No. 3-ranked incoming class, is still recovering from a knee injury and isn't expected back until December sometime.
Even with King missing, the Ducks still have Bol Bol, a 7-foot-2 freshman center who has dominated his first two college basketball games. Oregon (2-0) will need that type of contribution from Bol when it faces Iowa (2-0) on Thursday. Tipoff is set for 9:15 p.m. ET and will air on ESPN2 from Madison Square Garden.
"We've got so much to work on. we've got to be able to make adjustments on the fly, especially early with so many new guys," Oregon coach Dana Altman said. "Offensively, our execution has to get a lot better, but hopefully we will be able to get a few things ironed out before we head to New York."
Bol, who has put up double-doubles in the first two games of the season, is averaging 17.5 points, 12 rebounds and 3.5 blocks, still has a long way to go before becoming the dominant player the Ducks expected of him when he was recruited.
"He's a unique talent," Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said of Bol. "When you think of a 7-foot-2 guy, you think he's going to be down low, and he does score down low, but he starts up top, too, and on the wing... he can play pretty much any spot on the floor, can play up tempo, or in a half-court game.""
While Bol may be the headliner of the incoming class with King, point guard Payton Pritchard is the leader that Oregon needs.
"I just got to be a leader and show them the way," Pritchard said. "A lot of the guys don't know what it's like to play in the Pac and play on the road."
Pritchard, who was named to the all-Pac-12 second team last year, showcased his vast array of offensive skills in the Ducks' first two games.
In the season opener against Portland State, Pritchard scored 22 points, going 6 of 7 from the field and 9 of 9 from the free throw line. In the next game against Eastern Washington, Pritchard dictated the offense instead of scoring, finishing with eight assists and controlling the pace and tempo of the game.
The combination of Pritchard and Bol will be tested on Thursday against a good and veteran Iowa squad. The Hawkeyes return nearly everybody from last season's 14-19 team and are expected to a big step forward in the Big Ten while challenging for a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
Iowa is led by the frontcourt duo of Tyler Cook and Luka Garza. Cook leads the team with 14.5 points and seven rebounds per game. Garza is averaging 12.5 points and 4.5 rebounds.
"When you have low-post scorers, you have to get them the ball," McCaffery said. "We're doing a good job of getting them the ball, but just because we throw it in doesn't mean we have to shoot it."
The Hawkeyes are deep, having 10 players all average over 12 minutes per game. This will be vital to their success if they're going to try and slow down Oregon and play games on back-to-back days.
"We have enough bodies to handle two games in two days," McCaffery said. "I'll rotate personnel, but coming down the stretch, we'll probably have the key guys out there."