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Fran-Graphs, Central Arkansas


It's hard to read too much into Iowa's 105-64 victory over hapless Central Arkansas (Pomeroy ranking 322 out of 345), especially when Iowa only led by 13 at half and allowed one of the worst three-point shooting teams in the country to go 8-19 from long-distance. The game resembled nothing so much as one long lay-up line drill, as UCA coach Corliss Williamson's "40 Minutes of Eternal Bliss" defense allowed Iowa open look after open look.

But if there was one hopeful sign to take from the game, it was the play of Aaron White, who filled up the stat sheet with 17 points on 8-13 shooting (four dunks, 1-3 from three), five rebounds (three offensive), two assists, two steals and two blocks. White showed all of the attributes that had fans excited about him heading into the season: he's got good size and surprisingly long arms, and used both to to good effect in this game snagging rebounds, getting his hands in the passing lanes, and blocking shots. He also ran the floor well, finished at the rim with authority, and spread the floor with his outside shot. His performance may have been the equivalent of Darko Milicic or Yi Jianlian dominating folding chairs, but White has been doing all of this stuff to some extent in other games as well. His best attribute so far is a preternatural sense of where the ball is going before it gets there, a skill that allows him to get more offensive rebounds and steals than he otherwise would. He's still a work in progress, to be sure (his shooting is overall not very good) but seeing him make a steal, make the outlet pass, then sprint up court and finish the break with a dunk -- those are the kinds of plays that should make Iowa fans excited about White's future.

It was also nice to see Gabe Olaseni play and do some positive things: 4-5 shooting, 9 points, 3 blocks in just 8 minutes. By the time Olaseni got in, the game was truly out of hand, and so his performance was against even more folding-chair-esque defense than White, but he demonstrated some very nice hands in corralling tough passes and finished at the rim well (including flushing a sweet alley-oop pass from Bryce Cartwright). Oh, and he blocked the crap out of several shots. Given the problems Iowa has had on the defensive end, it would be at least intriguing to see what kind of impact Olaseni could have in Big 10 play, even if he is still a non-entity on offense at this point. It certainly seems like he could deter more than a few shots at the rim.

One more game before the Big 10 season starts: Boise St. on Thursday. The Broncos should be a decent challenge: they stomped Drake by 44 and beat an 8-2 Indiana State team by 9. Then the fun starts, with four top 20 teams in the first two weeks of Big 10 play.