Iowa jumped out to a 22-2 lead on hapless Coppin State and never looked back en route to a 103-68 victory. Brady Ellingson led all scorers with 20 points, while Mike Gesell offered 12 assists in just 19 minutes of play. It was the first time Iowa hit the century mark in almost two years to the day, as the Hawkeyes crushed Abilene Christian 103-41 on November 17, 2013.
Fran McCaffery leaned heavily on his bench, with starters playing 40% of the minutes. Dale Jones and Andrew Fleming were the primary reserves, each logging 22 minutes, and while Fleming struggled with his long-range shot (1-5 from behind the arc), Jones had no such issues; he went 4-for-6 deep en route to 16 points.
Indeed, Iowa was gunning early and often; the game featured 82 possessions, and Iowa hoisted 28 threes, making 12 of them. Iowa was happy to shoot early in the shot clock, and if Coppin State wasn't hurrying back on defense, Iowa simply pushed to easy fast breaks. When Fran talks about players having a green light, this is what it looks like—and there were a lot of guys with that green light.
If there was any question about whether Brady Ellingson was Josh Oglesby 2.0, Ellingson effectively answered them by logging his 20 points while only making one three. He was 6-6 inside the arc and got to the free throw line with ease, going 5-6 there. Ellingson's first step might not burn every perimeter defender in the Big Ten, but he sure incinerated Coppin's wings with it. Ellingson might not get as many minutes when Peter Jok comes back from his ankle injury, but he's making a case to be part of the regular rotation.
While it's hard to point to one guy as The Difference when the final margin of victory was almost twice the team's leading scorer, Dom Uhl's offensive versatility helped blow this game open (and kept it blowed open), and it's no accident that Iowa's offense flowed better than it did against Augustana, where Uhl spent most of the game in Fran's doghouse. When the Hawkeyes have a stretch 4 like Uhl who can space a floor and also hold his own on the defensive interior, they're in great shape. Jones can be that guy too—and he's a remorseless shooter—but Uhl needs to emerge when Iowa isn't just emptying the bench.
And yet this was the second straight game where Fran gave at least 10 guys meaningful minutes. If he's getting back to the days of a deep bench and a fast pace, we could be in for plenty more scoreboard fireworks. How you square that with a desire to give Woodbury 30 minutes a game, we're not entirely sure, but it's something to keep an eye out for going forward.
So here's what we know about this team: it would probably do well in the MEAC or the Big South. A trip to Marquette awaits on Thursday—that'll be a real test.