This game had a strong sense of deja-vu about it. Just as in Iowa's recent loss to Wisconsin, Iowa kept the score close with a superior team and had a decent shot to win the game on a Bryce Cartwright shot on the right side of the court, and both times the shot rimmed out, the game went to overtime, and the Hawks couldn't keep up in the extra period.
But the similarities went deeper. Both games followed the same pattern:
- Opposing team starts out by running an offense designed to generate open looks for shooters on the outside;
- Iowa's coaches adjust by throwing a tight man-to-man defense on this offense, and by instructing their defenders to not leave their men on the perimeter, even if it looks like a teammate is getting beat off the dribble. This strategy works to confound the standard offense, and Iowa takes the lead;
- Iowa grows complacent on offense, and matches the opponent's ineptitude with its own for a long stretch of the game.
- The opposing coach says to himself: "Wait a minute, I have athletes that Iowa can't guard one-on-one, and they're throwing nothing but one-on-one at us. Screw the offense, I'm giving the ball to those guys."
- Iowa continues to play its no-help, no-leaving-shooters defense, and the superior athletes on the opposing team run wild.
- Iowa, realizing its on the verge of losing, shakes off its complacency on offense and matches the opponent score for score down the stretch, only to come up just short.
- More Fran-tastic screaming on the sideline in this game. He really looks like he could take paint off a house with the power of his voice at times.
- John Beilein looked pretty upset himself, especially early (it took 2 minutes, 23 seconds until his sport coat was off). He was ranting pretty regularly at the refs, and even got a tech when he wouldn't quit shouting while an Iowa player took some free throws.
- There were some amazing plays in this game: at one point in the first half, Marble recovered a loose ball and lobbed a HIGH alley-oop to Basabe at the rim. Basabe caught it about a foot above the rim and managed to jam it home. There was also Cartwright's 50-foot three-pointer to close the first half. I was a the game, so I didn't see the replay, but apparently it was clearly not out of Cartwright's hands when the clock hit zero. Too bad... three extra points would have been useful in this game.
- I didn't go into how Hardaway scored all those points, but he looks awesome. He made a couple of threes just straight over people, but also took it off the dribble and finished at the rim. He's going to be in the NBA I would wager, and soon.
- Some heart-warming moments at the game: our own Cornshoe Hammaker sporting the finest Iowa-themed Elvis costume in the known universe; Iowa athletes collecting awards for academic achievement at half-time (when they started to announce their names, the crowd started to boo; I think it was because Cartwright's shot had just been ruled no good, but it might have been that the crowd hates academic achievement). Also, a man got down on one knee and proposed during the game (either that or he had to tie his shoe and the jumobtron operator misinterpreted).
- The crowd was pretty good (~13,000 attendance was announced at the game) and attendance seems to be getting better as the year goes on. The student section is still pretty meager, though.