Well, that was as good as anybody can ask for. Aaron White (game-high 19 points) and Jarrod Uthoff (career high four three-pointers) were bosses, and Iowa coasted to a 90-56 victory in a season opener in front of a near-capacity crowd at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
White was absolutely excellent; he was the game's highest scorer and his points were almost incidental; he also chipped in seven rebounds (four offensive), six assists, two steals and a block. He was aggressive on both ends of the floor and was just a joy to watch for Iowa fans. He was 6-6 on 2-pointers and 0-2 from behind the arc; neither of these figures should come as a surprise.
As for Uthoff, his shooting was as pure as it's ever looked, and if he's got a perma-green light from Fran McCaffery things are going to be very good this year. Obviously you can't expect Uthoff to hit 80% of his threes all year, but after that NBA-range stepback, we're fine with him taking as many shots as he wants until further notice. Throw in five boards and a block to go with his 13 points in 19 minutes of work and we are satisfied customers here.
This game was effectively over at halftime, when Anthony Clemmons tracked down a loose ball and calmly buried a triple as time expired in the first stanza. That pushed the score to 53-28, and while Iowa didn't keep that pace up in the second half, that's fine; Fran spent most of the second half tinkering with lineups, even trotting out the Twin Towers with Gabriel Olaseni and Adam Woodbury on the floor at the same time after the under-8 timeout.
Speaking of the big men, if we're compiling a list of Iowa's best five players regardless of position, they might both be on it. Olaseni blocked four shots in the win, while Hampton rarely bothered to even test Woodbury (no blocks, but multiple shots altered and summarily missed). Both players were more than happy to mix it up for loose balls and 50/50 rebounds, and neither took any guff when things threatened to get chippy on those tussles (the main provocateur was Quinton Chievous, who was quite... mis-chievous).
Our favorite play of the game (at 2:22 in this highlight reel) involved Olaseni, as a matter of fact; on a breakout, Olaseni found himself alone with the ball and dribbled it up past midcourt until he found a streaking Trey Dickerson on the wing, who slammed the ball home. So yes, that's 6'10" center Olaseni leading a fast break and delivering a great pass to 6'0"* point guard Dickerson for a dunk. Hey, if that's a thing Iowa can do now, wonderful! We'll take it!
The point guard situation remains as muddled as ever. There's only so much you can read into one game in terms of gauging a player (especially when he's already a junior), but man, Mike Gesell didn't look great tonight. There will be games where he looks like the best point guard on the team; this just wasn't one of them. Anthony Clemmons was aggressive and looked decent picking his spots with his jumper. Then there's Dickerson, who's a monster in the open court and on the defensive end but hasn't established himself in the halfcourt yet. We're obviously not giving up on him or anything (motherfudgers act like we forgot about Trey!) but it just reinforces how difficult it'll be for McCaffrey to settle on a rotation with these three. And it's not like Josh Oglesby's going to be ceding any minutes any time soon; he tied White for the most time on the court tonight, with 21 minutes played.
Overall, the effort was excellent on both ends of the floor. Iowa wasn't in national championship form or anything like that, but the Hawkeyes were utterly uninterested in letting Hampton hang around, and sure enough, this one was rarely close.
So, 1-0! Undefeated! Hooray!