Sioux Falls Skyforce Caught Iowa Energy at the Right Time
Last week was rivalry week for the Sioux Falls Skyforce. Two games against the Iowa Energy with each team hosting. Before the two games, the teams had nearly identical records. Also with both teams splitting the previous four games, the trend would most likely continue. Lo and behold, Sioux Falls ending up sweeping the pair of games, holding the Energy to their lowest point total of the season in the first (97-84) and taking the second by a double digit margin (112-100).
The main reason for the Skyforce coming out ahead is personnel. Iowa’s two best players all season were not in uniform for the two games. Othyus Jeffers earned a 10-day contract for the San Antonio Spurs on January 24. The operative word is earned because he is touted in some circles as a candidate for MVP of the league. His 22.8 points per game and 11.4 rebounds for a 6-5 guard who shoots 50 percent from the floor earns MVP talk on merits alone. Jarvis Varnado is the other no-show for Iowa. Unfortunately for the former 2013 titlist with the Miami Heat, Varnado has a hip injury and is unable to compete. As a result, Iowa did not have a starting center that has produced 14.3 points, 11.7 rebounds and 5 blocks per game and has been considered among the top 5 prospects in the NBA Development League.
The Skyforce and Energy will meet in a Thursday morning tussle that begins at 10:30. Jeffers is expected back in the Iowa lineup after being released from the Spurs over the weekend. Varnado's status for the game is uncertain. Following that matinee, a month and a half will pass before the two teams meet again on March 17. Sioux Falls will depart from Iowa and meet up Saturday night with Fort Wayne and return home to face Erie on Sunday.