IOWA CITY, Ia. -- Josh Oglesby understands that he has critics. He's a shooting guard who is making 26 percent of his shots.
But there are more reasons than offensive potential that Iowa coach Fran McCaffery will put the senior on the floor for extended stretches during Wednesday's 6:30 p.m. game at 12th-ranked North Carolina.
"He doesn't turn the ball over. He's a terrific passer. Always been that way," McCaffery said. "He's never hunted shots, even though he's a shooter."
The numbers bear that out. Oglesby has a 4.75-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio — 19 and 4 — during Iowa's 5-2 start. He's also earned McCaffery's praise on the defensive end.
"Obviously, if you're not shooting the ball well and you're a shooter, they're saying, 'Why is he playing? He's not making shots,' " Oglesby said Monday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. "I just try to do what it takes to stay on the floor and help the team win."
Teammate Mike Gesell is suffering a similar shooting slump through seven games -- he and Oglesby have played exactly 153 minutes and are shooting 26 percent.
"If your shot's not falling," Gesell said. "You just have to impact the game one way or another."
That's what Oglesby tries to do. At 6-foot-5, he is more versatile than meets the eye. He knows the play diagrams at four positions.
Wait, power forward? Really?
"I can play 1 through 4," Oglesby said. "If we want to throw a lob to Whitey (Aaron White) ... they're obviously not going to throw it to me, so I probably have to move to the 4.
"There's a lot of stuff that goes into it that other people don't see."
Fran McCaffery, Mike Gesell and Josh Oglesby discuss the ACC/Big Ten Challenge matchup in Chapel Hill.
In Wednesday's ACC/Big Ten Challenge game between the Hawkeyes and Tar Heels, Oglesby will be the third-most prominent player from the Cedar Rapids area on the floor — behind North Carolina all-American Marcus Paige (Linn-Mar) and Iowa's second-leading scorer, Jarrod Uthoff (Jefferson). But if Oglesby (Washington) can get hot, he can become just as important.
Fans have heard for four years how well Oglesby can shoot. Gesell recently called Oglesby and Peter Jok two of the best pure shooters he's ever played with. McCaffery lauds Oglesby's accuracy in practice.
Oglesby has been through shooting struggles before. He converted just 26.9 percent of his 156 3-point attempts as a sophomore. He upped that to 40.3 percent during a junior year slowed by a foot injury.
Oglesby has converted five of 12 attempts from 3-point range (41.7 percent) in his past two games after going 5-for-23 (21.7 percent) in Iowa's first five. So there's an uptick.
"I've been trying to stay confident, stay positive. Been getting more shots up before practice," Oglesby said. "Just trying to keep up the same thing. Hopefully my shot will start falling."
Outside shooting is something the Hawkeyes desperately need to jolt their inconsistent half-court offense.
"Obviously, we've got to be better offensively," McCaffery said. "Our execution hasn't been too bad. Our shooting hasn't been great. We shot it well enough in pretty much all the games, with the exception of the second half (of a 71-57 loss) against Texas."
SPEAKING OF SLUMPS: Gesell, Iowa's starting point guard, has missed his last 11 field-goal attempts. Like Oglseby, he's at 26 percent for the season.
"I know it's going to come around," said Gesell, who is leading Iowa with 27 assists. "I've been a great shooter my whole life."
SPEAKING OF SHOOTERS: Freshman Brady Ellingson sank his first two career 3-pointers in his second game at Iowa, Saturday's 77-44 win against Longwood. McCaffery said Ellingson's foot injury isn't 100 percent, but he plans to play the Sussex, Wis., native in Chapel Hill.
"He's always got a little discomfort, but it wasn't intense pain (after the Longwood game)," McCaffery said.
MORE ON MARCUS:Gesell and Adam Woodbury were peppered with questions Monday about going against former AAU teammate and preseason all-American Marcus Paige of North Carolina.
Any chance Paige, who played at Linn-Mar High School, would've come to Iowa?
"North Carolina was his dream school," Woodbury said. "So I don't think anybody could've really tried to convince him to come here."
FINAL SHOTS: John Saunders and Dick Vitale will have the call on ESPN's telecast of Iowa-North Carolina. … Iowa leads the Big Ten in field-goal percentage defense (.348) and offensive rebounding (13.9). Gabe Olaseni leads the Big Ten in blocked shots per game (2.9). ... Iowa has two road wins against ranked opponents under McCaffery: 2011 at Wisconsin and 2014 at Ohio State.
— Chad Leistikow