Over the weekend, you might’ve heard that the men’s and women’s teams played exhibition games at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Those games were only accessible through BTN Plus, which you don’t have access to unless you pay a monthly subscription or live on a Big Ten campus, so chances are you probably missed the games. Have no fear, my friends, as we’re here to talk a bit about those games and what to take out of them.
We’ll start really quickly with women’s basketball, who defeated Lewis University by a score of 61-35 on Sunday. And let me tell you, the Lewis Flyers were a damn good team last season, going an absurd 28-3!! That Flyers team still has some of those core players, so this was a great opportunity for the Hawks to get some confidence heading into the new season.
This game was pretty sloppy early, but both teams appeared to pick up a bit of momentum later on as they were able to mesh a bit better than at the start of the game. Their big three of Ally Disterhoff, Tania Davis, and Megan Gustafson lit up the scoreboard, which you would expect them to do against a Division II school. The three combined for 40 of the team’s 61 points and shot 74% (!!!) from the field. Exactly what you want from your core players.
That’s not to say that the team doesn’t have a lot of room for improvement, however. They shot just 3 of 18 from 3-point range, which wouldn’t be as much of a concern if it weren’t for an abundance of missed layups throughout the game. Three-point shooting is often quite fickle, so a bad game early in the season isn’t too disconcerting just because the players haven’t been able to shake off all the rust yet. But missed layups? That could be a cause of concern if they’re unable to start hitting those, as you don’t want to miss opportunities to score in the paint.
One last thing that I hadn’t really noticed while watching the game, but showed up in the box score, was Iowa’s inability to get to the free throw line. It could be a product of an extremely disciplined Lewis team, but Iowa only shot two free throws the entire game and only forced the Flyers into committing eight fouls. Some of the best teams in the country will be the best at getting to the charity stripe, and with good reason - free throws are easy points to get (wow, look at that analysis!) and if Iowa is unable to coax other teams into fouling them, they’re going to have to be a more disciplined team. The Hawks only fouled the Flyers 10 times in the game, so a 10-8 foul disparity doesn’t seem huge, but Lewis shot 10 free throws to Iowa’s two. Oh, and did I mention that Iowa missed both free throws? That sounds important, too.
TO THE MEN’S TEAM!
Iowa played pretty well against a decent Regis Rangers team, defeating them 95-73 on Friday night, although one could argue that 73 points is too many to surrender to a D-II team. Fran McCaffery threw just about every player in the world at the Rangers, getting 13 different players into the game at some point or another. Let’s talk about how that went.
Peter Jok is insane. Jonah touched on it this morning in Overreaction Monday, but getting to watch Jok was a delight as always. Jok went 7 of 9 from the field, including 5 of 7 from 3-point range, and at a certain point, just looked absolutely unstoppable. He was raining threes and Regis had no answer for him throughout the night. Tyler Cook also looked the part, going 5 of 9 from the field with six rebounds and a massive block. I’m really excited to watch him grow throughout the season.
One thing the men’s team nailed that the women’s team was unable to do? FREE THROWS. The men’s team shot from the charity stripe 41 times in the game, making 28 of their attempts. While 68% isn’t a great, it felt rather negated by the fact that the Hawkeyes were there so often. The starters (Jok, Cook, Baer, Williams, and Uhl) were 82% from the line, which feels so much better. Cordell Pemsl and Ahmad Wagner were the two Hawks that struggled the most, going a combined 4 of 10 from the line. But I’m optimistic.
Freshman sharp-shooter Jordan Bohannon only shot 2-8 and was probably the biggest disappointment for me during the game, as he was never really able to get anything going in any facet of the game. He suffered a cut finger during the week, from what I heard, but really wasn’t a factor in his 20 minutes on the court. One other aspect of the game that was pretty frustrating was turnovers. Iowa committed 15 turnovers, which is way too many for a team that wants to make the tourney, but is also an expected growing pain for a team that needs to replace four starters from last season. I’m optimistic that Bohannon and the team’s turnover woes will get better, but this team definitely showed its youth in this first exhibition game.
The biggest question remaining for this men’s basketball team will be who makes Fran’s rotation heading into the regular season and who redshirts. As previously mentioned, Iowa trotted out 13 different players in this game, but because it was an exhibition, they didn’t burn their redshirts by playing. It’s easy to count out Charlie Rose and Riley Till, who played a combined 2+ minutes in this one, so that leaves 11 players vying for a spot in the 10-man rotation, assuming that’s what McCaffery goes with. Isaiah Moss didn’t contribute a whole lot to this one, hitting two free throws and recording one assist in seven minutes, but he redshirted last season and will likely just be an odd man out in the rotation. If someone does redshirt, it’ll likely be guard Maishe Dailey, who looked pretty good, but will likely be on the outside looking in due to Iowa’s need for big men. It’s also important to note that Ryan Kriener and Brady Ellingson did not play due to minor injuries, so that only makes this rotation even more crowded. We’ll likely find out this week who makes the cut and who doesn’t during Iowa’s game against Kennesaw State.