Look, if you’ve ever read ANY of my football recaps the last three years, you know by now that I write these in real time. All of my thoughts and remarks are all in the moment. Like you, I’m just a passionate supporter with slightly better login to SBNation. Just know I love the Hawkeyes just as much as you... even when I hate them. Be nice to each other. Go Hawks.
It’s Friday night and the feelings right. Right for an upset. The Hawkeyes can’t possibly shoot any worse than they did on the road against Nebraska and the Terps are primed for a road upset of their own after a major win over Ohio State. If Fran and his mash unit can put it all together in front of a raucous home crowd (it’s not a sellout but the people that braved the storm are bringing it tonight) it would be a big step towards making the tournament.
Maybe I’m delusional, but I just have this feeling that Iowa is going to lean heavily on their big guys and defense, choke the paint defensively and muck it up so much that they end up winning a very ugly and low scoring game.
Through the first five minutes of the game, that’s exactly what Iowa’s done. Not only have we seen eight turnovers and three made field goals (on 13 attempts) between the two, but Fran McCaffery even got T’d up after Anthony Cowan Jr. got Bakari Evelyn on the ol’ Reggie Miller/James Harden “reach and I teach” foul.
Despite all of that, Iowa has been able to keep it close thanks in part to their lightning rod, Luka Garza. The dude brought it tonight. JPinIC talked about it on today’s Friday Free For All, but the Hawkeyes desperately need him and Weezy to take another step in their game if they hope on making it through this sick and injured stretch. So far, he’s doing just that (he and Kriener were the only Hawkeyes to make a field goal through nearly ten minutes). It’s clear to see that Iowa’s first option is always to get out in transition, but when they can’t they’re doing everything in their power to run clock and get him great positioning on the block so he can go to work against Jalen Smith.
Speaking of Weezy, he didn’t let his big man get all of the shine in the first half. Despite a slow start, the sophomore went on a run all his own nearly half way through the first half; scoring 18 of the Hawkeyes last 28 points all on his own (finishing the half having made four threes on only five attempts). It was almost like he just needed to watch that first three go in for him to mentally leave the Nebraska game behind. And once it did, it unlocked everything.
I hate to beat a dead horse, but Iowa needs to heavily lean on both of these cats for the next few weeks. But the best part is, Wieskamp opens up the floor for Garza, and Garza opens up the floor for Wieskamp. McCaffery pushing the Hawkeyes to flow through Garza early, only sucked in the Maryland defense and gave Wieskamp all the space he needed. And when the Maryland defense lost focus, Weezy pulverized them. That’s all Iowa needed to carry a shocking 38-24 lead against what turns out to be an effortless Maryland team.
Oh, and 24-points is the lowest total in a half for Maryland this season. At least I was half right about mucking it up and this game being low scoring.
Stats at the Half
Maryland: 7-23 from the field (30.4%), 2-9 from three (22.2%), 8-16 at the free throw line (50%), 17 rebounds, three assists, and 12 turnovers (!!!!)
Iowa: 13-32 from the field (40.6%), 6-10 from three (60%), 6-7 at the free throw line (85.7%), 21 rebounds, 10 assists, and 10 turnovers.
Of course, Iowa goes on their patented drought to start the half and lets Maryland to gain a little confidence until Bakari Evelyn connects on a deep three (and his first points in Big Ten play) to keep Iowa ahead by double digits. Maryland almost immediately crumbles again, throws the ball all over the court, gets a fast break layup blocked by my guy Joey-T (who was playing a horrid game to start) and then immediately fouls him on the other end that leads to two made free throws.
Nobody needed that sequence of events to happen more than Toussaint. That’s a confidence builder. Make this down now as the turning point of his season.
Half way through the second and Iowa is still comfortably ahead 53-39.
I’ve watched Maryland a few times so far this season and they are either the most dangerous team in the Big Ten or the weakest, most disorganized team in the Big Ten and there is no in between whatsoever. I know I’m just a plain ol’ Iowa Hawkeyes blogger, but being a Maryland fan seems wildly infuriating.
I know I suffer from recency bias, but I feel like I have never seen a team stacked with this much talent piss the ball away as much as Maryland has done tonight through 35-minutes. They are just so careless and nonchalant with the basketball, I want to slam the chair I’m sitting in.
I guess that’s what it feels like to be Fran? Hmmmmm.
At least their uniforms are better than our off brand Colosseum ones (yeah I said it).
After some more impressive hustle from literally every single Hawkeye that walked on the floor, Iowa finishes with a HUGE and IMPRESSIVE win over No. 12 Maryland, 67-49. Not only did Luka Garza finish with a double-double (21 points, 13 rebounds) but so did Joe Wieskamp (26 points, 11 rebounds). Together, these two future Iowa legends made sure that the rest of the Big Ten knows that they have to worry about the Hawkeyes at home and on the road... and that’s no matter how many players are hurt, injured and sick.
And you know what, here’s hoping that Joey-T will use this game as his official launching pad. Because if you think his block, two made three throws and giant killer layup a possession or two later weren’t two of the biggest plays in this game, you and I watched something totally different.
The Tourney ain’t dead.
Play the polka!