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Iowa Men’s Basketball - Frustration

Hawks need to get a few wins that they’re “not supposed to” now

NCAA Basketball: Iowa at Penn State
Murray is a marked man on the scouting report
Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

Even though it was a road game in the Big Ten, the double overtime loss to Penn State was inexcusable. Fran’s guys now need to make some hay if they have any hope of making the Big Dance. Here are some observations from the game and ideas about moving forward.

  • This is tough as I’m a Hawkeye fan first and foremost. I don’t want to be the negative “sky is falling” people. Losing the GOAT Luka Garza and Joe Wieskamp was a huge thing. Jack Nunge transferring also really hurt the program. Much love to Jack. That said, I don’t know what to make of this Iowa team and Fran’s decisions.
  • I am on the record as having said that I wished Jordan Bohannon would have ridden off into the sunset of Hawkeye lore. He has been a great Hawk. My biggest frustration is the fact that Bohannon coming back has and will absolutely delay the development of Tony Perkins and Ahron Ulis. The biggest reason for this is that Fran plays JBo ridiculous minutes for his production. Last night Bohannon played almost 35 minutes. He was 0 for 7. He had zero rebounds. He did have five assists. His defense, although he has stepped up his effort, is not good. The number of minutes he received in that game is inexcusable.
  • One reason Bohannon is in at the end of close games is his free throw shooting ability. This is somewhat less important as Ahron Ulis is 31-36 (86%) on the season. The Hawks have options that don’t involve Jordan.
  • Fran McCaffery runs some of the best baseline out of bounds plays in college basketball. Iowa’s possessions late in the shot clock and end-of-game leave a lot of something to be desired. They are similar ideas, but the latter involves moving parts. Going forward I’d like to see more Joe T and Keegan Murray pick and roll / pick and pop / pick and slip opportunities.
  • It was a bizarre game from Connor McCaffery. I cringe every time he takes a shot. CMac basically kept the Hawks in the game in the first half going 4 for 7 from deep.
  • Iowa was minus 10 rebounding against the Nittany Lions. You can’t win on the road in the Big Ten with that stat. In my opinion Joe Toussaint should have played more than 18:45; Joey T collected 5 rebounds in that time compared to Bohannon’s 0. Ahron Ulis can also board (he had 5) and Tony Perkins isn’t recalcitrant when it comes to mixing it up (Perk had 2 boards).
  • Payton Sandfort deserves more minutes. He provided a spark. Thankfully Fran has been slowly giving Kris Murray more minutes. His decisions regarding playing time don’t make sense to me.
  • Patrick McCaffery had an excellent game. PMac had 16 and 7. He is not afraid to try to score. Some of his shots are a little “unique” but shooters gotta shoot.
  • Keegan Murray does not get the calls he should get as one of the best players in college basketball. The refs were decent, but Keegan does not get much love from the Stripes. Crazy as he’s so good and he’s such a good dude. Penn State and everyone else will attempt to be physical with him going forward. It’s a shame we won’t have him for one more year.
  • The love John Harrar was getting from the announcers was a bit much last night. He did have 19 and 10 and his desire was unmatched by any Hawkeye.
  • The way Penn State set ball screens was maddening, but if the refs don’t call it, it was effective. When the bigs rolled they really widened their base area by extending their arms, more or less blocking/grabbing. James Franklin, take note.
  • The Hawks do not do a good enough job getting the ball into the post. “If you can see his numbers, pass him the ball!” Good things happen when the ball goes into the post.
  • Iowa runs a motion offense. Right now it appears that many teammates don’t know when a shot is going to go up. Offensive rebounding is about desire and position. This position can be improved when players know where and when shots are coming from. Oftentimes Iowa misses a shot and no one is in position to get an offensive rebound.

Ohio State on deck

It’s a cliche but you don’t get many breaks in the Big Ten. It’s important to not allow one loss to become two. The Hawkeyes never should have lost that game. Oh well. We need to move on. Ohio State replaces athletes with athletes, year after year.

What I’d like to see:

  • Jordan Bohannon should come off the bench. He should play 10 minutes, not 35.
  • Tony Perkins, Ahron Ulis, and Joe Toussaint should play a lot. They play on both ends of the court. More production and offseason improvement is needed beyond the three point line.
  • Continue to play Kris Murray. He will only get better and more confident.
  • Give Payton Sandfort more minutes. He can shoot. He’s a taller rebounder, and he can stay in front of guys as well as the guy that gets all of the minutes!
  • Filip Rebraca has had a nice season. He has been a good addition.
  • I like that the Hawks are posting Keegan Murray up. He didn’t get these shots to fall against Penn State, but they will. They are good possessions.
  • I’ll leave you with this from Keegan Murray. The athleticism and body control on this play is tremendous.
  • As always, Go Hawks!