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IOWA 85, TENNESSEE TECH 63: 'TIS THE SEASON FOR JOLLY ST. NICK

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Oh, you thought we were going for another "Baer" pun?

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa's last warmup before the Big Ten season went pretty much as planned, as the Hawkeyes drubbed lowly Tennessee Tech, 85-63. Peter Jok led all scorers with 21 points, and Nicholas Baer set a second-straight career high with the Hawkeyes with 19 points on 8-10 shooting from the field.

Jarrod Uthoff, who was bizarrely and repeatedly referred to as a "preseason All-American" by announcer Shon Morris (Uthoff was one of 10 preseason All-B1G players, but that's it), chipped in 13 points in limited action, as Fran McCaffery let his bench get plenty of time in the yawner. Iowa was up 43-20 at the break, and Tech never got closer than 19 points in the second half.

We'll see more of Baer in the Big Ten season; not only is he meriting these minutes with solid play, but the role of "stretch four off the bench" is wide open with Dale Jones out for the season with a knee injury. If Baer wants to continue hitting 80% of his shots, that'd be fun and ideal, but even if his production regresses to "mere mortal" levels, his versatility opens up a lot of options for Fran and the offense.

Other than that, not much to say about this one. KenPom predicted an 87-66 victory; that was pretty close. Iowa closes out the non-conference season at 9-3, and mighty Michigan State comes to town in a week. That'll be fun.