Iowa basketball’s last two games have been, well, different. The Hawkeyes took a beatdown in West Lafayette at the hands of Purdue, but then they followed up with a blowout of their own, toppling bottom-feeder Nebraska by 24 points in Carver.
The win against Nebraska capped Iowa’s third game in seven days. The Hawkeyes get some much-needed rest before heading to Bloomington to face Indiana on Thursday.
Here’s whose stock is rising and falling entering Thursday’s game in Assembly Hall.
Stock up: Joe Wieskamp
Talk about a bounce-back performance for Joe Wieskamp. After an abysmal eight-point performance (3-for-8 shooting) against Purdue on Feb. 6, Wieskamp responded with a career-high 30-point game against Nebraska.
Wieskamp’s second half alone was better than his last games. In the five contests leading up to Nebraska, Wieskamp averaged 14.6 points per game on 42.6 percent shooting (30.4 percent from 3-point range). In the second half vs. Nebraska, Wieskamp scored 20 points, drained six of his eight shots, and canned both of his 3-point attempts.
Simple put, Wieskamp was en fuego against Nebraska. It was the best game of his Hawkeye career. He just couldn’t miss. It was beautiful.
Another positive from Wieskamp’s performance was his free-throw shooting. The sophomore made all eight of his attempts from the stripe. His eight free-throw attempts were the most by member of the team. In comparison, the rest of the Hawkeyes combined to shoot nine.
I’ve said before that for as deadly as a scorer as Wieskamp is, I’d love for him to be a bit more aggressive and go to the line (for reference, there was a six-game span earlier in which Wieskamp shot a total of six free throws combined).
In the last four games, he’s taken at least seven free throws three times – a step in the right direction.
Stock down: Cordell Pemsl
If Iowa’s bench isn’t already thin enough, the Hawkeyes will be without Cordell Pemsl when they travel to face Indiana on Thursday. Pemsl was charged with driving with a revoked license after an officer pulled him over for a busted taillight cover.
Previously, Pemsl had an OWI charge in September. He was suspended temporarily following that charge.
While Pemsl hasn’t played terribly these last two games, but he’s still the last Hawkeye off the bench in Fran McCaffery’s usual eight-man rotation. I don’t see an increase in his minutes in the near future, even when he’s back from the suspension.
Stock up: Riley Till
If there was ever a time for Riley Till to step up, now’s the time. It’s safe to assume some of Pemsl’s minutes will go to Till, a redshirt junior from Dubuque.
Hear me out: This might not actually be a bad thing. Till isn’t as good as the rest of the forwards, but he’s shown legitimate potential in his first few seasons with the program. Till has decent speed and quickness, and he’s also a bit more athletic than Pemsl.
Here’s an example of what Till can do. This play came when Iowa faced Cal Poly earlier this season. Till does an excellent job of keeping up with the ball handler before swatting away his shot.
Last season was Till’s best with Iowa. He appeared in 16 games and averaged 1.4 points and 0.6 rebounds in 4.6 minutes per game. This year, he’s played in 13 of Iowa’s 24 games, averaging 0.7 points and 0.8 rebounds.
According to Sports Reference, Till averages 4.3 points, 5.9 rebounds, 2.7 blocks, 2.2 assists, and 1.6 steals per 40 minutes this season, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Till isn’t a game-changer, but he should have an impact close to Pemsl’s.