So college football is over. Football season grows up so fast these days. Now that we are football empty-nesters, the focus turns to wrestling and men’s and women’s basketball. The men’s program hit a tough stretch and looks to rebound (pun intended) and make up some ground in the B1G.
Hawkeye Men’s Basketball Musings:
- The Hawks sit only above Maryland and Nebraska in the B1G rankings. After losing the GOAT Luka Garza and Wiesy to the NBA and Jack Nunge to Xavier, expectations were fairly low. I grew up with Lute Olson and Dr. Tom Davis. Fran needs to get to a Sweet 16 in the next few years or we should move on. The Iowa job is historically a top 25 job in the country. Carver has its flaws, but Carver has rocked in the past and will rock in the future if the Hawks win.
- Going into this season I (and everyone else) thought that defense and rebounding would be our Achilles heel. And that has been our issue. Jordan Bohannon will go down as an all-time-great Hawkeye. His missed free throw will also always hold a special place in my heart (CMS 40). That said, JBo has logged the second-most minutes on this team (357). Keegan Murray has 412 and Patrick McCaffery has 308. Bohannon should not be second on the team in minutes. I’ve written it many times, but we have seen the Fran movie many times. All offense, no defense. I would re-invent our identity and give the most minutes to Joe Toussaint, Tony Perkins/Ahron Ulis, Patrick McCaffery, Keegan Murray, Filip Rebraca, and Kris Murray. Connor McCaffery has played more minutes than Kris Murray this year. That is....[cough] not what we are looking for. I’d put our best defenders and rebounders out there and focus on that. Connor is a “glue guy”. I like his toughness and court savvy. He should not play more than Kris Murray.
- How can the Hawkeyes speed the development of a post? Riley Mulvey and Josh Ogundele have combined for only 100 minutes this season. Both obviously are limited at this point. If we continue to get taken to the woodshed on the boards, something needs to be done. My first preference would be to play more of Kris M, Ahron U, and Tony P as stated above. If not, these two bigs need to be given minutes. Rebounding the basketball is crucial. Second chance opportunities kill defenses. Shooters are too good these days. Offensive rebounds almost always lead to wide open shots or easy put backs. In B1G games the Hawkeyes’ rebounding margin is -15.5.
- Joe Toussaint should be given a bigger role. The knock on Joey T in the past was that he needed to slow down as he was mistake-prone. At this point in the season Toussaint has 58 assists and 22 turnovers. He is shooting 50% from 2 and 42% from 3 and 91% from the free throw line. Toussaint needs more minutes and more shot attempts. His percentages will come down, but he has earned more shot attempts. Here is as nice of a post feed as you will ever see. Toussaint pushes the ball in transition and makes a beautiful pass into Keegan Murray.
- More 3⁄4 court pressure is needed. This should be our primary defense. With our lack of size (and the lack of fundamental defensive principles) we don’t want to have to play half court defense against teams that have a dominant post. Iowa’s length can cause problems. If we do play half court defense, one thing that would benefit this squad would be that Iowa should play more man-to-man defense (giving minutes to those physically able to stay between their man and the basket on drives). It is much harder to box out in a zone than man-to-man. Here is a case in point. The Hawkeyes are in a half court zone defense against the Badgers. The ball is passed to the corner. After a lazy close out on the shooter (hands down and slow speed), Iowa doesn’t box out and gives up a layup. That is not winning basketball. Not at the youth level, high school level, or college level.
- The Hawks have Indiana and Minnesota this week. These are both winnable games, just as they are both games the Hawks could lose. Going 2-0 and would be a huge boost for this team. Going 0-2 is not something I want to think about. We will know more about this year’s squad after these two games. We will be almost 1⁄3 of the way through the conference schedule.
- As always... Go Hawks!