This game started off swimmingly. Iowa was cold from the floor, but Aaron White old man-gamed the Texas defense to death and the Longhorns couldn't hit water from a boat on offense in the first half. The second half, though... good lord. Iowa's cold shooting continued, but Texas came out en fuego. After holding Texas to 24 points in the first half, the Hawkeyes gave up 28 points in the first 10 minutes of the second half and things didn't get much better in the final 10 minutes of the game.
As you can see from the chart, Iowa was fairly steady with their scoring throughout the game. Of course, when I say "steady", I mean they were steadily crappy, because this Iowa team is used to putting up more than an average of 14 points per 10 minutes. We will talk about why down below, but give Texas' defense credit; they played a great game.
Four Factors in Review
Points Per Possession: Iowa 0.83, Texas 1.03
Iowa was absolutely awful shooting the ball Thursday night. As a team that loves to drive the lane in an attempt to score at the rim and get to the free throw line, Texas did a good job of allowing Iowa to only do one of those things once they got into the lane. The Longhorn big men blocked 7 shots and altered many more all night, holding Iowa to a miserable 12-40 (30%) from inside the three point line. Mike Gesell continued to be victimized anytime he got near the hoop, while other guards like Anthony Clemmons and Trey Dickerson didn't have much better luck, either. Iowa also didn't help their shooting by missing some easy bunnies at the rim. Adam Woodbury played a good game, but missed a few, and Gabe Olaseni continued to struggle when it came to finishing non-dunks.
Additionally, Iowa wasn't real great from long range against Texas, either. With the Hawkeyes shooting so poorly inside, a viable three point option would have really helped them open things up offensively. Unfortunately, outside of an early made three, Josh Oglesby continued to be ice cold from downtown (23.1% on the season), going 1-5 in this one. But the blame doesn't just fall on Oglesby. Clemmons couldn't continue his hot shooting from three land, and Peter Jok missed his only attempt. Jarrod Uthoff was 2-4 on the night, but he disappeared as the game went on, and wasn't much help in the second half.
As for Texas, they absolutely went off on Iowa in the second half. Jonathan Holmes and Isaiah Taylor were the main Hawkeye abusers after halftime. Holmes scored 17 of his 19 points in the second half, including hitting 3 three point shots. Taylor, meanwhile, tallied 11 of his 15 points in the second half, and did so mainly by blowing by Iowa's guards and converting at the rim or getting to the charity stripe. As a team, Texas went from a 35.48% eFG% in the 1st half to a 67.86% eFG% in the second half. That was the main reason that their PPP went from 0.67 in the first half to 1.45 in the second half. I have no words to describe how poorly that last number reflects on Iowa's defense in the second half. I'm sure Fran found some words after the game to describe it to them, however.
The good: through 3 games, Iowa is forcing turnovers at a slightly higher rate than they have the last three seasons under McCaffery (remember, they had a good defense in his first season). The bad: through 3 games, Iowa is turning the ball over at a much higher rate than they have the last three seasons under McCaffery (remember also, they had a bad offense in his first season). Turnovers weren't the main reason Iowa lost this game, but when you are shooting as bad as Iowa was, you can't afford to have that many empty possessions via giving the ball away.
For as good as the Hawkeyes were at rebounding in the first half, they were that bad in the second half. Over the first 20 minutes, Iowa came down with 11 of their 24 (45.83%) available offensive rebounds and only allowed Texas to grab 5 of their 20 (25%) available ones. Then halftime struck, and Iowa hauled in 5 of 18 (27.78%) and Texas grabbed 6 of 14 (42.86%). The first half saw White, Woodbury, Uthoff, and Olaseni rebound 8 of Iowa's misses, while the second half saw Iowa's big guys only rebound 4. As for Texas, Cameron Ridley, Prince Ibeh, Connor Lammert, and Myles Turner had a combined 2 offensive rebounds before the half, but in the second half that group of bigs had 4 of the team's 6 offensive boards.
Iowa still won this category, thanks to a nice first half performance. Unfortunately, it didn't really matter all that much, as Texas simply didn't miss in the second half.
Free Throw Rate
Iowa won this category big, and in both halves. Or, I should probably say, Aaron White won this category almost single-handedly. The veteran forward was responsible for 16 of the Hawkeyes' 28 free throw attempts against Texas. He was the one consistent performer all game long for Iowa, as he was 7-8 from the line in both halves. In all honesty, though, I thought Iowa should have had more free throw attempts in this one, but the rest of the team just isn't as adept at drawing contact as Aaron White is. I felt Clemmons and Gesell got fouled a couple of times on drives to the basket, but they just didn't get the calls. Texas played some very aggressive defense, jumping on nearly every shot or shot fake Iowa did, and Aaron White was the only Hawkeye that was able to really take advantage of that.
Texas was able to get to the line more in the second half than in the first. Isaiah Taylor did a lot of the damage, burning Iowa's guards and drawing fouls at the rim, while Cameron Ridley proved to be a bit of a load down low after halftime, and got himself 4 free throw attempts out of the deal.
In the end, though, this was the one thing that Iowa did well in this game. Of course, it ended up not mattering a whole lot.
Overall: Iowa Won 2 Out of the 4 Factors
Unsurprisingly, Aaron White was the star of the game for Iowa. He was in Devyn Marble territory with the amount of Iowa's scoring attempts that he was responsible for against Texas, but he was so, so efficient in doing so. White scored 23 points on 4-7 shooting from the floor and 14-16 shooting from the line. He even made a mid-range jumper and his only three point attempt of the night. Not only is that a TS% of 78.77%, but that's an average of 1.58 points per scoring attempt (including free throws). Those are good numbers. White also grabbed his usual 8 boards (3 offensive), 2 steals and 1 alley-oop that can be seen here:
I guess if there was one thing to complain about, White had 4 turnovers. But, whatever. It's not like he's the guy that cost Iowa this game. He's the one that made it so Iowa didn't get their doors blown off by like 40.
Adam Woodbury probably had the second best game of any Hawkeye. It was clear that Fran favored him to Olaseni against this big (and I don't just mean tall) Texas front court. Woody finished the night with 10 points on 4-7 shooting, 8 rebounds (4 offensive), 2 assists, and 2 steals. He was only 2-5 from the line and had 2 turnovers too, but he did a good job on defense of making things tough for the Texas big men for most of the game. Instead, it was their back court that hurt Iowa.
I could also probably mention Jarrod Uthoff as having a decent game. He finished with 8 points on 3-8 shooting, but made 2 of his 4 three point attempts. He also had 2 blocks (including a nice one on the super freshman Myles Turner) and 3 steals. The only issue I have with his game was that he disappeared after a fast start. He hit 2 quick threes in the first few minutes of game time, made his presence felt again with a steal and dunk a little bit later on in the first half, and then did absolutely nothing scoring-wise for the final 27 minutes of game time. Uthoff is the second best scorer on this team with the potential to be the best, and Iowa can't afford to have him go missing against quality teams like Texas. It's only one game, but he's going to need to show he can live up to his potential against the big boys this year.
As for the rest of this team? Brutal. Absolutely brutal. Mike Gesell continues to drive to the basket (good) and proceed to get either stuffed (bad) or have his shot altered (also bad). I think we are at the point now where he either needs to find a way to start drawing contact or simply find an open teammate. I've got him shooting 37.5% from near the rim this year. Needless to say, that's not good and it's even worse than last year. It will most surely get better since it's only been three games, but I haven't seen anything to make me think it's going to improve from last season.
Of course, Anthony Clemmons and Trey Dickerson weren't exactly all that impressive against Texas, either. Clemmons' long range accuracy from the past few games abandoned him and he was only 1-6 from inside the arc, to boot. Sure he had 3 assists, but he also had 3 turnovers to accompany those dimes. And probably worst of all, he was unable to keep Isaiah Taylor in front of him in the second half. Clemmons is supposed to be Iowa's lockdown defender, and despite Taylor being very fast, I was still disappointed with how easy he seemed to be getting to the basket in the second half. I really hope that was just a one time thing.
Finally, some random tidbits:
- Trey Dickerson played 9 minutes in this game. We all knew that he would probably not be a star over night, but if Gesell continues to struggle, Iowa may need him to adapt to the Division I game sooner rather than later.
- Isaiah Taylor is the type of point guard I hope Trey Dickerson will eventually develop into. Again, hopefully sooner rather than later.
- Gabe Olaseni still struggles to match up against teams that have physical big men. In the final game against Tennessee last year, Fran also chose to play Woodbury 30 minutes and Gabe only 16. Against Texas, Woody saw 29 minutes on the court and Olaseni only saw 13. Some of that was cut short by an absolute horse shit flagrant 2 call, but this was still not Olaseni's best game. He missed 3 shots that he could have easily made, including a wide open layup that he should have dunked. He still had 2 blocked shots and changed the trajectory on a couple more, but if has aspirations of getting a shot at the NBA after this year, he's going to have to show that he can handle more physical big men.
- Also, I should probably reiterate that the flagrant 2 call on Olaseni was complete and utter horse shit. Taylor drove to the basket and Olaseni went straight up and made a play on the ball. Yes, there was a lot of contact, but there was no malicious intent behind the foul. As far as I could tell, Len Elmore was the only person on earth (outside of the refs) who felt that was a good call. It was a hard foul no doubt, but it's not like Olaseni went all Kevin McHale on Taylor.
- I was really disappointed in Iowa's three point shooting tonight. It's only one game, so I'm still holding out hope that this year's team can shoot a little bit more from distance than McCaffery's Iowa teams of past years. I say that because Iowa seems to struggle to with physical teams. Michigan State, Ohio State, Texas, etc. They are all very physical on defense and Iowa doesn't always seem like they are able to handle the physicality of these teams. I feel like Iowa either has or is getting to the point where they have a reputation of being a finesse team. Other teams feel like if they can rough the Hawkeyes up a bit, slow them down, and take them out of their element, they can win the game. If Iowa increases their three points attempts a bit and can hit them consistently, I think this would go a long way in helping them win physical games. When Iowa goes up against teams that make life hell on their strategy of getting baskets at the rim, they have no answer from downtown. I'm not saying the Hawkeyes need to start shooting almost 40% of their shots from deep, but getting up near the 33-35% like they were in the first couple games would be nice. Whether they have the shooters to do that is a legitimate question, but I think with Uthoff, Oglesby (who has had a slow start to this year), Jok (who has not shown a lot of growth yet this year), and Clemmons, Iowa should be able to do more from distance than in previous seasons. At least that's what I'm hoping, anyway.
Overall, it's still early in the season and Texas is a talented team. I'm willing to grant Iowa a pass on this one, but they've got a lot of things to clean up. Guard play is the big concern after this game, and Uthoff also needs to show he can live up to his potential against better competition. I also really hope that the second half defense against the Longhorns was just an apparition, and not a sign of things to come.
Because Cal decided to upset Syracuse, Iowa gets to face the vaunted Jim Boeheim 2-3 zone tonight. On one level, I'm more excited to see Iowa take on a big name like Syracuse than I was when I thought they would be playing California. On another level, though, I am pretty worried about how Iowa will do against a 2-3 zone all game long. If Iowa does have improved three point shooting this year, this game would be the time to show it.
Anyway, that's enough for now. Time to flush the Texas game and prepare for the Orange. Hopefully our Friday night will be better than our Thursday night.