For the second year in a row, Iowa’s Big Tournament ended at the hands of the Michigan Wolverines, this year through a 74-53 loss. Iowa is now 0-7 against Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament which is...not great! At all!
This game in a nutshell comes down to this: Michigan made three pointers, and Iowa did not. The Wolverines shot 33% from deep, while Iowa, one night removed from torching Illinois thanks to effective 3-point shooting, shot 1-16 from deep. That lone three came in garbage time at the hands of Nick Hobbs, so for all intents and purposes, Iowa made zero shots from beyond the arc. It was a brutal to watch, especially in the second half, as Michigan’s lead got as high as 23 points.
Honestly it seemed like everyone on the Wolverines had a good game, but the biggest tip of the hat goes to Zavier Simpson. He had 10 points, 11 assists and 4 rebounds on a perfect 4-4 shooting. He was joined in the scoring column by Ignas Brazdeikis who scored 15, Jon Teske with 12, Jordan Poole who scored 11, and Isiah Livers with 13.
For Iowa meanwhile, nobody played a particularly encouraging game. Luka Garza and Tyler Cook led the way in the first half, and finished with 14 points apiece. They were the only Hawkeyes who scored in double figures. Isaiah Moss and Ryan Kriener were the only other Hawkeyes who made any sort of contribution, scoring eight and six points, respectively. Jordan Bohannon and Nick Baer finished the night scoring zero points combined, and Joe Wieskamp only scored three.
Iowa got this game off to a quick start, scoring on their first three field goals, but Michigan took a quick 7-6 lead with 17:46 remaining in the half, and honestly never looked back. Iowa kept it close in the first half, but Michigan was able to grab a 17-10 lead with 14:25 left in the half that was the first nail in the eventual coffin. Cook, Garza and Connor McCaffery were able to keep things close, but the Hawks couldn’t capitalize on a Michigan scoring lull. Multiple possessions passed where both teams just couldn’t buy a bucket, and the game went more than two minutes without a single point scored, locked at 17-15.
And then as soon as Michigan scored on an Eli Brooks three pointer, the flood gates opened, and the Wolverines truly put the pedal to the floor. The lead just kept growing and growing, and the Hawkeyes entered the half down 40-27.
Things somehow managed to get worse in the second half. Michigan seemingly couldn’t miss, and frankly, Iowa could only miss. It just wasn’t the night for the shots to fall for Iowa. The magic simply ran out. Nothing seemed to fall for any players wearing black and gold, no matter how good of a look.
Iowa will now most likely be an 8 or a 9 seed in the NCAA Tournament if I had to guess, although a 7 seed is a possibility too, albeit unlikely. It’s tough to say which Iowa team will show up in its next game. Show up like they did against Illinois, and it could be the start of something special. Play like they did tonight, and the Hawks will be one-and-done.
There’s still basketball left to be played, folks. But this loss does not inspire much confidence.