The Iowa Hawkeyes (5-5, 0-2) got their butts kicked for a third straight game, this time against a mediocre Michigan Wolverines (5-5, 1-1) squad, 90-80. It was a tightly contested game for much of the first half before an 11-0 run by the Wolverines blew it open in the second half.
For a second straight game, a garbage man-like post incinerated Iowa inside. Tarris Reed finished with 19 points and 6 rebounds and eclipsed his previous career high in the first half. Ben Krikke led the Hawkeyes with 24 points of his own, which led the game.
Fran McCaffery had his second and third technical fouls in three games, with a poorly timed pair of Ts which helped extend Michigan’s lead to 20 points. In addition to them, it feels like he’s fishing with this team as there was a second straight starting lineup adjustment (Owen Freeman for Thursday’s Josh Dix) which got the rotations sideways as foul trouble impacted Freeman quickly.
We’re definitely in the danger zone for this team
While Iowa absolutely STINKS at these early season conference games (they’ve only won 1 game - Minnesota in the 2019 - since these matchups began in the 2017-18 season), this afternoon’s game was an incredibly gettable one for Iowa and they looked like they were teetering all game. The starting lineup Fran went to was outscored 15-6 in less than 4 minutes against ISU, per Pivot Analysis.
While it felt like a move to shore up rebounding, it didn’t have that effect (Michigan still rebounded 12 of their 33 misses) and it created really gnarly imbalance offensively considering Iowa’s shooting woes.
The play which really stood out for me, in that regard, was a Patrick McCaffery drive in transition where Owen Freeman was running to the same exact spot. McCaffery threw up a fadeaway YOLO layup which led to the first of three straight threes from Michigan which gave them a lead they would never relinquish.
There’s still time to turn it around - Iowa has three buy games before a January 2nd tilt in Madison (yikes!) - but not much.
Iowa’s in the midst of another December slump from Payton Sandfort
The junior forward finished with 10 points on 4/9 shooting, including two threes. He’s eclipsed 15 points just twice this season after figuring to be in the mix for Iowa’s leading scorer this season. It felt especially bad when he went to the line for a pair of technical free throws and he missed his third and fourth free throws on the season.
While it feels like a ctrl+c/ctrl+p from last season, it’s exacerbated by the fact that a Kris Murray-type player is not on the season and there are other veterans on the roster to pick up the slack.
His struggles from the field translate into really poor team performance from behind the arc. The Hawks went 5/20 from deep, their third straight game below 33.3%. Some garbage time baskets helped close the lead and hopefully helps get it dialed back in for the elder Sandfort.
They didn’t capitalize on extra opportunities
Iowa had six steals in the first half (seven Michigan turnovers in the stanza) but the Hawks could only convert them into four points. They had seven offensive rebounds in the first half but just six points.
When you can’t get things going on offense and aren’t taking advantage of what the opponent is giving you ... it’s probably gonna be a rough time.
Next up: Florida A&M in Des Moines, IA on Saturday 12/16 at 3:30p