IOWA 82, UNC-WILMINGTON 39: God, That Was Fun

That kind of night for UNC-W. - Matthew Holst

Iowa opened up its season with a drubbing of UNC-Wilmington, and it's okay to be officially pumped about Jarrod Uthoff.

There was one point in tonight's game when Iowa was in the midst of a 17-0 run, which just so happened to be more than UNCW had scored in the entire game (12). And mind you... this was in the second half.

That was right about when this Iowa team looked as fun as it's been in a long, long, long time.

Your final score from Iowa City is 82-39 as the Hawkeyes flattened hapless UNC-Wilmington, a team whose mascot I don't know (I had the game on mute) so I'm just going to guess it. The, uh... the Scorpions. No, probably not. The Bears? UNC-Wilmington Bears? No. Fine, I'll look it up. The Seahawks? Well, that's a load of crap, they live in the Pacific Northwest.

Leading the way for Iowa was Jarrod Uthoff, who racked up 14 points, seven boards and four blocks in his team debut—and in only 19 minutes to boot. Uthoff was a holy terror on the court, staying active on both ends of the floor, flashing offense on the perimeter and putting work in on the inside. Remember those rumblings that Uthoff would have been one of Iowa's best players last year? There was something to those.

Also, per HawkeyeNation.com, Fran is psyched about this guy too:

Uthoff is really an interesting player. He affects the game in so many different ways, his shot blocking, his rebounding in traffic. He covers a lot of ground and then he can dribble, pass and shoot, so that's a guy that he's going to get to the free throw line a lot. You just let him play. I keep encouraging him to be aggressive.

He turned a shot down in the corner and drove it, and I said, just shoot it. When you're open like that, the next time he caught the ball from three, he bangs one without hesitation. So I'm thrilled with him [...].

In the middle, Adam Woodbury got the start and was all right in limited action, but Gabe Olaseni got 17 minutes in the game and did a lot with them, finishing with eight points, seven rebounds and five blocks on the day. We gotta talk about the 1-8 shooting, but he'll have better days finishing around the bucket (and some of those shots he'll probably just stop taking, which... would be all right with us). As for the rest of his game, Olaseni was an eraser on defense, and he's going to cause nightmares for opposing coaches as they figure out how to attack Iowa's interior. Hope to beat the centers down the floor? Woodbury maybe, but Olaseni might be the fastest man on the court for the Hawkeyes. One stride can take him from midcourt to (checking the tape measure) North Liberty.

Roy Devyn Marble looked just fine. For a guy who was pouring in 20 per during the NIT back in March, he sure looked unselfish tonight, and his anticipation on defense looks seriously improved. Lazy passes back to the point are open season for him. This pleases us greatly.

Iowa's length manifested itself in several ways tonight. Here's a few:

  • The UNC-W Seahawks Scorpions shot 2-23 from behind the arc.
  • Iowa's OREB rate was 40%.
  • Iowa had 12 blocks, which was or was not tied for the program record, depending on many factors who you ask.
  • By comparison, UNC-W only blocked one shot.
  • Altogether, seven Hawkeyes corralled at least five rebounds; for UNC-W, just three players did so.
This wasn't a perfect game, mind you; Iowa's got to do a better job on the defensive glass (68% against such a short team won't thrill Fran) and Woodbury looked frustrated at times, which better opponents can and will punish the Hawkeyes for. The sophomore point guards were improved but still unremarkable. Zach McCabe got six more minutes than Melsahn Basabe because ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. But clearly we're picking nits here because Iowa just doubled up an opponent—was quadrupling up at the break, even!—and looked downright mighty at times.

OK, onto player ratings!

NOTE FROM ROSS: I'd like to try to the Community Player Ratings feature during basketball season, too.  I think it will work a bit better than it did in football, if only because it's easier to judge players than entire position units.  Also: fewer things to rate!  So here's the first set of Player Ratings for hoops. Note: I made the Bench Mob guys (Meyer, Ukah, Stokes, Denning) optional. If you don't wanna rate 'em, you don't have to.

(Also, no, I have not forgotten about the Football Community Player Ratings.  We'll have a massive catch-up post on those during the upcoming bye week -- I promise.  Last week's ratings were... woof.  -- Ross)

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