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IOWA 77, UMBC 47: IOWA RETRIEVES AN EASY WIN

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Iowa devours its cupcake with gusto.

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

As Iowa fans, we take games like this for granted now.  Iowa was an enormous favorite entering the game (there was no line on the game, for some reason, but it's fair to say Iowa would have been favored by 20+ points) and they did nothing in the game to make that seem like a mistake.  After a few sluggish minutes (the game was tied 6-6 early), Iowa opened up a 26-6 lead by the halfway point of the first half.  It was 48-20 at half and from there Iowa put the game on cruise control (they "won" the second half just 29-27).

Normally this is when we might say, "Well, it wasn't that long ago that Iowa was losing to teams like Campbell..." as a means of guarding against complacency for wins like this, and that's still kind of true.  And then Michigan went and lost to New Jersey Institute of Technology today.  That would be 293rd in the country (per KenPom) New Jersey Institute of Technology.  Which is to say: crazy shit happens.  Maybe not that often -- Michigan beats NJIT 99 times out of 100 and I'd expect Iowa to do the same against UMBC -- but you never know when you might happen to be there for that 1 out of 100 day.

As for the game itself, Iowa's offense didn't play particularly well -- they shot just 44.6% from the floor (though they were 18/33 in the first half, so the so-so shooting was more of a second half issue), and only 7/25 (28%) from deep -- but that didn't matter a whole lot because UMBC treated the basketball like it was a live grenade.  Remember when Pat said that they turn the ball over a lot?  They turned the ball over TWENTY-SIX times today.  That's more than the COMBINED number of field goals (19) and free throws (5) that they made today.  You, uh, won't win many games doing that.

Peter Jok and Gabe Olaseni led all scorers with 15 points apiece and Jok was the lone bright spot from deep (4/6 shooting).  Mike Gesell followed up his scintillating performance against UNC with a quieter outing (5 points, 7 assists), but he was still solid.  Aaron White added 14 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 steals in 17 minutes of work.  In fact, none of Iowa's starters played more than 17 minutes, while the second unit (Dickerson, Oglesby, Uhl, Jok, and Olaseni) all played 20+ minutes.  That certainly won't be the norm this season, so it's nice to see the bench players getting some run in a game like this.  (The Bench Mob of Ellingson, Denning, Ukah, and Rose even got some minutes late.)

If you wanted to find something to criticize, you might point to rebounding -- UMBC out-rebounded Iowa (41 to 37) and was better on the offensive glass, too (15 to 12).  Rebounding -- particularly the amount of offensive rebounds that Iowa allows opponents to grab -- has been a bit of an issue all year, so it would be nice to see that get better.  But this game was a rout almost from the opening whistle, so we're not going to get too hung up on that issue.  On to Alcorn State.