Iowa shrugged off a sluggish first half and overwhelmed Rutgers, 90-76, keeping its undefeated Big Ten season alive. Peter Jok scored a career-high 29 points, Anthony Clemmons poured in his own career-high 20, and Jarrod Uthoff calmly added 20 more points to help Iowa down the stretch.
For the start of the game, this looked a little bit like a tortoise-and-hare situation; Iowa raced to an easy 15-4 lead then just started hoisting jumpers, which is not entirely ideal with 35 minutes left to play. The Scarlet Knights battled back and even took a brief one-point lead, but Iowa was never in serious danger.
Still, slight danger is too much danger against a Rutgers team that was bad to begin with and fielded just seven scholarship players tonight. The Hawkeyes are now 6-0 in Big Ten play, but a game like this demonstrated the lingering shortcomings the team has. Rutgers, like Michigan, was able to generate shots in the paint at ease when Adam Woodbury was out of the game with foul trouble.
Give the Scarlet Knights credit: even with roughly half the team injured and a home court atmosphere that boasts all the excitement of a DMV, the kids worked hard to manufacture offense and keep from getting blown out. Iowa never got to empty the bench (though Christian Williams and Ahmad Wagner got a little more action) and the team flight home will likely be a little less pleasant than it could have been.
The metrics might not be overly kind to Iowa on this one. Iowa underachieved by six points relative to the Pomeroy projection, and adding a win over a team that can't crack the Top 200 won't do much for the team's RPI. If Iowa regresses on either front, though, it'll be minimal, and not the sort of thing that affects seeding come March.
All that aside, Iowa is now 6-0 in Big Ten men's basketball for the first time since the magical 1986-87 season, and the Hawkeyes have made it to 7-0 just once: Ralph Miller's crew in 1969-70. Whether this team ends up on par with either of those schools (who were both ranked No. 1 in the AP polls at times) obviously remains to be seen, but at the very least that can't happen without a start like this happening.
Last note: do all televised Rutgers games have that weird tilt where it looks like the left side of the floor is sinking? I have a legitimate headache after watching that game.