This didn't even look like a fair fight.
Iowa's length and defensive prowess were no match for undermanned Michigan, and Iowa waltzed to a 72-54 victory at Crisler Arena. Jarrod Uthoff led the Hawkeyes with 16 points on 7-for-10 shooting, and all five Iowa starters reached double digits in the victory. Iowa shot 62.7% from the field, its best shooting performance of the season, including an absurd 72% in the second half.
For Michigan, this was a manifestation of the worst fears after Caris Levert and Derrick Walton went out with significant injuries. The Wolverines were sorely lacking in playmaking ability, and apart from freshman Aubrey Dawkins knocking down some long shots in the second half (he finished with 16 on the night), nobody was able to get the offense moving; Michigan finished just 19-for-47 from the field, including an ice-cold 7-for-24 from behind the arc. Considering the Wolverines started the game 6-for-8, there's no way around it: they were brutal.
Iowa shot such a high percentage because it was able to get to the rim with ease, scoring 40 of its 72 points in the paint (Michigan, by contrast, got 16 for the game). Oddly, Michigan didn't make a concerted effort to slow this down, committing only 10 total fouls and sending Iowa to the line just six times. That's an open invitation to hold a parade to the basket and Iowa gleefully accepted. Credit the coaching staff for executing a gameplan that (Wood)buried Michigan from the get-go.
We do have to mention Aaron White, whose stat line looked pretty much normal (6-for-8, 13 points, 5 rebounds, 1 block, 1 steal, 0 turnovers)... except there just happened to be two technical fouls. Early in the second half, White swatted a Ricky Doyle shot, and if the block wasn't disrespectful enough, White told him to, apparently, "get that shit out of here."
Fast-forward less than two minutes, and Aaron White threw down an uncontested dunk to push the lead to 18 points, Iowa's largest lead of the game, and White decided to showtime on the rim a little bit. Nothing egregious, but, y'know... the type of play that upsets older white men when black players do it. We'll put it that way.
Vines via The Sporting News. Thanks, The Sporting News.
With two quick techs, that's it for White, right? Well, no—as it came on a dead ball, White's taunt was only a "Class B" technical foul (a distinction I'm pretty sure I've never heard made before), so it didn't result in an ejection. I don't pretend to understand this rule, only understand that it exists and it was applied in an evidently straightforward fashion today. All right.
White took a seat anyway, and Michigan made a little bit of a charge back into the game, even getting back to within single digits. Another Iowa collapse? Oh ho ho, no no. Once Michigan got within nine points, Iowa went on another 12-2 run, this one sparked by Jarrod Uthoff picking up an offensive rebound, three-pointer and block in quick succession. Uthoff's confidence has been a little mercurial this season, but he on point today and Michigan just had no answer for him all night long. When Uthoff's feeling this kind of way, he's Iowa's best player.
Mike Gesell continues to improve. His mid-range jumper was lethal tonight, and he picked the spots for it wonderfully. White and Uthoff are Iowa's best and most important players, but there might not be a better barometer for Iowa's confidence level than Gesell; when he's clicking, the whole offense is clicking.
Peter Jok is maturing beautifully into his role as starting shooting guard, and his quick trigger is getting reliable enough that he can keep perimeter defenders honest and open the action up on the interior for Iowa's bigs. With Josh Oglesby's outside shot still AWOL, Iowa absolutely needs this from Jok, and if he wants to throw in 10 points a game (like tonight) from here on out, the offense should be in pretty good shape going forward.
Folks, this was as good as we've seen Iowa's offense (1.42 PPP, which is Wisconsin-esque and the worst showing by Michigan since at least 2001) look all year. The defense was lights-out as well, with better showings against quality opponents coming only against Nebraska and at UNC. That three-game skid is ancient history. Iowa is ready for a sprint to the finish.
Iowa's 18-point win is its largest against Michigan in Ann Arbor since winning by 18 on 2/8/1954. #Hawkeyes— Matt Benson (@mbenson6) February 6, 2015