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Don’t be fooled by the final score, this was a laugher

NCAA Basketball: Michigan at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The New Year hangover continued into a second day for the Iowa Hawkeyes (9-7, 0-3), as the Michigan Wolverines (13-3, 2-1) came into Carver-Hawkeye Arena and controlled the basketball game en route to a 75-68 win.

It started well enough, as Iowa looked like the stronger team down low with Tyler Cook and Luka Garza forcing the action. The Hawkeyes led 10-7 through six minutes. before Tyler Cook came out.

Then the wheels came off. In the following 3:23, Iowa was outscored 13-2 behind two Maishe Dailey turnovers (who had a decent game, otherwise), missed jumpers, and easy transition threes for Michigan. It was never the same game.

Cook’s reinsertion didn’t really stem the tide in the first half, as the lazy defense continued and stagnant offense led to easy rebounds and easier shots for Michigan. They closed the half shooting 8/11 from three - all of which were assisted - and 18/29 overall.

In the second half, Iowa had a couple solid runs in them but Michigan mirrored Indiana’s countering earlier this season as the teams matched runs for runs. Michigan didn’t score a basket of note for the final 6:19 seconds. That’ll happen when you build a 71-54 lead.

Cook displayed dominance down low and finished with 28 points on 10/15 shooting. His turnover issues emerged, however, as he tallied another four. Jordan Bohannon added 12 on four threes, one of which came during Iowa’s last ditch effort. No one else was in double figures.

Michigan was led by Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and Zavier Simpson at 15 points each. Charles Matthews had another 14 and Isaiah Livers had 13. Mo Wagner looked nonexistent coming off an ankle injury but it didn’t matter, as Michigan’s guards were able to blitz Iowa however they wanted.

Much was made of Iowa’s depth coming into the season but it appears to be in all the wrong places. Michigan’s bench outscored the Hawks’ 37-17 (led by Livers and Simpson). McCaffery has not been able to find the right mix of forwards and it shows:

  • Ryan Kriener played 4 perfectly fine first half minutes (though it was low-lighted by a horrible 18 footer) but never again saw the court.
  • After starting the game, Jack Nunge sat for 11-plus in the first half and didn’t see the court until the last 8 seconds of the game.
  • Ahmad Wagner played for an ugly first-half spurt which did little on defense to make up for the lack of spacing on offense.
  • Garza looked good in the first before missing everything around the basket in the second.
  • Nicholas Baer played the two for some time during their foiled comeback.

Going forward, it too often seems like Iowa lacks an energy against better competition. Where will it come from? Your guess is as good as mine.




(at least Iowa didn’t lose to South Carolina yesterday)