First, the bad news. Iowa basketball's brief flirtation with a .500 record ended Friday night, as they fell to Xavier in the first round of the Paradise Jam pre-season tournament down in the Virgin Islands, 86-73. Not that the loss was in any way unexpected -- after dropping a game against South Dakota State (even a feisty, veteran-laden SDSU team), all losses cease to be "unexpected" and Xavier has been a perennial NCAA Tournament team over the past few years (though they also lost a fair amount from last year's team).
The man of the match was, somewhat improbably, Devin Archie, who recorded Iowa's first double-double of the season -- 10 points, 11 rebounds. I don't even think Archie's mom saw that coming. It's just one game and he did do a lot of damage after two of Xavier's bigs had fouled out, but he still displayed some impressive instincts around the rim. 95% of his shot attempts will probably be put-backs and easy looks... but we've seen plenty of those shots get missed in recent years, too. If nothing else, it's nice to have another option in the post who looks at least halfway competent; given the propensity of guys like Cole and Brommer to get in foul trouble, Iowa needs all the help they can get down low. Speaking of... the officials called 53 fouls in the game, 28 on Iowa. In related news, the game was pretty much unwatchable.
Aside from Archie's surprisingly good play, the other bright spot for Iowa was the return of Matt Gatens. Gatens started, played 27 minutes, and led Iowa in scoring with 15 points. He was definitely rusty (4/10 from the field, 1/5 from three-point range), but still a very welcome sight to see. Nor was he alone in shooting poorly; Iowa was 24/68 from the field (5/22 from three), with Eric May (4/13), Bryce Cartwright (3/12), and Jordan Stoermer (1/7) being especially brutal. Cartwright in particular threw up some absolutely terrible shots late in the game.
Other silver linings: only ten turnovers (half the season average); 36-29 advantage on the glass, including an 18-5 edge in offensive rebounds (although a lot of those came after Xavier's interior depth had been decimated by injury and foul trouble); some nice fight-back after getting down by 20 in the second half. But they simply can't accrue that many fouls, shoot that poorly, and play defense that badly and expect to win. Next up is Alabama at 5pm CST tomorrow; the game may or may not be available via the same interwebs stream ($$$) as tonight's game, but it's a moot point -- we're all going to be busy with a different Iowa team at 5pm tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the Iowa wrestling team kicked off their season on Friday night in Iowa City, rolling up a pair of utterly dominant wins over Coe (44-0) and Iowa Central (45-0) in the Iowa City Duals. It's impossible to read much into those results, considering that there's a pretty dramatic gulf in quality between those squads and Iowa's team; the best thing we can say is that they avoided any shocking upsets and did precisely what they were supposed to do against an inferior opponent: dominate thoroughly. Iowa didn't lose a single match in either dual, only four matches were decided by less than a major decision, and there were six pins (including a pair from Mark Ballweg).
125: Matt McDonough (Iowa) MAJ DEC (16-3) Brandon Wright (IC), IOWA 4-0
133: Nick Trizzino (Iowa) MAJ DEC (8-0) Cordale Risk (IC), IOWA 8-0
141: Mark Ballweg (Iowa) FALL (1:22) Seth Stender (IC), IOWA 14-0
149: Dylan Carew (Iowa) MAJ DEC (9-1) ??? Winkler (IC), IOWA 18-0
157: Derek St. John (Iowa) FALL (2:33) ??? Fowler (IC), IOWA 24-0
165: Jake Kerr (Iowa) FALL (5:33) Jason Truscheff (IC), IOWA 30-0
174: Ethen Lofthouse (Iowa) MAJ DEC (15-3) ??? Gelbach (IC), IOWA 34-0
184: Grant Gambrall (Iowa) MAJ DEC (19-7) Carl Foreside (IC), IOWA 38-0
197: Luke Lofthouse (Iowa) MAJ DEC (14-5) ??? Pica (IC), IOWA 42-0
HWT: Blake Rasing (Iowa) DEC (9-4) ??? McGregor (IC), IOWA 45-0
125: Matt McDonough (Iowa) MAJ DEC (10-2) ??? Rush (Coe), IOWA 4-0
133: Nick Trizzino (Iowa) FALL (1:33) ??? Hinschberger (Coe), IOWA 10-0
141: Mark Ballweg (Iowa) FALL (6:10) Chris LeClere (Coe), IOWA 16-0
149: Dylan Carew (Iowa) DEC (6-1) James Locke (Coe), IOWA 19-0
157: Derek St. John (Iowa) MAJ DEC (18-5) ??? Handley (Coe), IOWA 23-0
165: Jake Kerr (Iowa) DEC (6-4) ??? LeClere (Coe), IOWA 26-0
174: Ethen Lofthouse (Iowa) FALL (4:01) ??? King (Coe), IOWA 32-0
184: Grant Gambrall (Iowa) MAJ DEC (13-3) ??? Rehn (Coe), IOWA 36-0
197: Luke Lofthouse (Iowa) TECH FALL (20-3) ??? Maddox (Coe), IOWA 41-0
HWT: Blake Rasing (Iowa) DEC (2-1) ??? Burkle (Coe), IOWA 44-0