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NORTHERN IOWA 56, IOWA 44: PATHETIC

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Another second-half swoon dooms the Hawkeyes in the Big Four Classic matchup against UNI.

Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

This is brutal. I don't know what else to say. Iowa is a horror show after halftime once again, and the Hawkeyes drop to 8-4 after losing 56-44 to Northern Iowa.

Iowa was completely discombobulated for most of the second half, not reaching double digits on the scoreboard until four minutes and change were left in the game. Iowa didn't get an assist in the second half. Like, none at all. Of course, the Hawkeyes only shot 3-23 in the entire half, so it's not as if there were plenty of opportunities to begin with.

UNI never looked good on offense, but the Panthers were able to force turnovers with relative ease and with that Iowa was never in rhythm—or, thus, contention.

Wes Washpun's stat line was relatively light—seven points, two rebounds, two assists—but he was the best player on the floor. He outhustled the Hawkeyes to loose balls, locked down Anthony Clemmons and Mike Gesell (Gesell, in particular, was a world-class mess after an early hot start) and was a sparkplug for the Panthers, who had a listless first half of their own. Washpun even denied Jarrod Uthoff in the post and blocked Aaron White on a layup in the closing minutes. Washpun is eight inches shorter than White. Yeah.

But really, the story here is the full-blown crisis that is Iowa coming out of the halftime break. I don't know what does or doesn't happen in that locker room, whether it's poor planning or a (yet another) mental block bedeviling these guys, but Iowa looks awful when its opponent isn't a cupcake. Fran McCaffery has already all but thrown his hands up in frustration trying to figure out why this happens, and surprisingly "I don't know" doesn't fix the problem. The jarring lack of on-court leadership doesn't help matters either.

I'm really at a loss, just like everybody else. If the answer were obvious the fix would be in place. Unless and until this gets rectified, though, Iowa doesn't stand a chance against any of the numerous tourney teams in the Big Ten.

That's a shame. It's not fun to watch. I feel bad for the Iowa fans that were there at the Well tonight. Rest assured it sucked on TV too.