Sorry, Mr. Khaki Pants, but we have to talk. You’ve known for quite some time that you are a little brother to the Buckeyes. It’s cool. I’m a little brother. I’m sure you also have had that nagging feeling that you officially work at a basketball school. Yep. It’s true. Nothing wrong with that. Kinda like a reverse Steve Alford thing. Funny how that works. Anyway, best of luck this fall. Not really. Ok, hoops time!
I was somewhat skeptical when Juwan Howard took over when John Beilein bolted for the NBA. Not because I didn’t think that Howard was capable, it was just that Beilein is one of the best coaches to coach the game of basketball. It’s hard to replicate that kind of success. Juwan Howard has done that. Props to him.
Luka Garza vs Michigan Last Year
Let’s take a look at what Garzilla did to Howard’s Wolverines in the two games last year. In 34.5 minutes per game Luka Garza averaged 40.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 13 free throws. I would go so far to say that doing this against Michigan put Luka on that national map. No one, and I repeat no one, does that to Michigan. Luka did it twice. As a former big (post) himself, you know that Coach Howard has been thinking about this matchup since last year.
In the first matchup last year at Michigan the Hawkeyes ran a ball screen into a ball reversal, a seal by Garza, and a nice feed by Connor McCaffery as the Luka used his body to pin the defender. That’s just old-fashioned hard work by the big fella.
A second Garza highlight involves a Joe Toussaint entry pass, some weak-side movement/action to occupy the help defense, and some beautiful footwork by Garza.
In the second meeting last year Garza scored more from the perimeter. Here is a two-man game where Garza dives to the basket after a pick and roll. After not getting the ball Luka returns to the perimeter to set another ball screen for a pick and pop. Cash money!
Here is another example of Luka Garza getting his lunchpail and going to work. A nice high/low feed by Ryan Kriener and Garza with the finish and the “You’re too small to guard me motion” from Luka. Classic!
Ryan Kriener had a terrific game; in order for the Hawkeyes to get the W again, it will be imperative for Jack Nunge to step up and have himself a game. Another Captain Obvious point is that Wiesy, JBo, and CFred will need to hit shots. Michigan will sink off/help of everyone to clog the lane against Garza.
FAB 5 (Chris Street we love you!)
I would be remiss if I weren’t to touch on when Juwan Howard and the Fab 5 came into Iowa City. It was Jan. 31, 1993 pitting No. 11 Iowa versus No. 5 Michigan. It was the first home game after the passing of Chris Street. Michigan coach Juwan Howard fouled out of that game with 7 points. Here’s the ending.
I cried like a baby that day and I cried again watching it for this article. The Hawkeyes rushing to Chris’ family and presenting them with the game ball will be something that will never leave me. It’s great to be a Hawkeye! Let’s go Hawks! Let’s go Hawks!