Iowa won a laugher tonight over a very bad team playing very bad basketball -- and that's OK! I think everyone -- players, coaches, definitely fans -- needed a pick-me-up after the misery of the last two games. And, boy howdy, did Rutgers provide a pick-me-up. No, Iowa (probably) won't have more games like this the rest of the way (for one thing, they don't get to play Rutgers again). No, this win doesn't do much at all for Iowa's NCAA Tournament resume (if anything, it hurts their strength of schedule). But Iowa needed a win and they needed to tamp down the bad vibes that been building since Sunday's disasterpiece in Evanston. Job done.
How bad was Rutgers tonight? So bad they let Adam Woodbury dunk on them not once... but twice!
How bad was Rutgers tonight? So bad they let Iowa -- not especially noted for their three-point marksmanship -- shoot 4/9 (44%) from deep in the first half and 8/17 (a cool 47%) in the game.
How bad was Rutgers tonight? The spread was Iowa -14.5 tonight and Iowa had that covered with two minutes to go... in the first half.
How bad was Rurtgers tonight? Iowa was able to empty the bench -- before the final media timeout.
How bad was Rutgers tonight? Rutgers starters not named Myles Mack went 4/18 from the floor and scored 12 points.
How bad was Rutgers tonight? They had as many or more turnovers (19) and fouls (18) than made field goals (18).
How bad was Rutgers tonight? Well...
Meanwhile, Iowa did virtually whatever they wanted on offense. As a team, they shot 30/59 (50.8%) from the floor and the only non-garbage time players who didn't make at least 50% of their shots were Peter Jok (4/9), Anthony Clemmons (1/4), and Josh Oglesby (1/3). And even they made a positive impact -- Jok's early buckets got Iowa going, Clemmons had some brilliant passes and dropped 7 assists to just 1 turnover, and Oglesby... well, he made a 3. That was fun.
Jarrod Uthoff led Iowa with 14 points on 5/9 shooting, with 3 rebounds, 2 assists, a block, and 4 (!) steals, too. In just 25 minutes of work. He gave Rutgers the full package offensively, too -- corner 3s, silky smooth fadeaway jumpers, dunks, and even slick layups like this:
This was the fourth time in the last five games that Uthoff has been Iowa's leading scorer; Uthoff becoming more aggressive on offense is something we've been waiting to see for a season and a half -- it's a delight to see it happening now. Uthoff has the most complete offensive game and most diverse skill set on this Hawkeye team; seeing him embrace his role as the lead dog in Iowa's offense is a very welcome sight.
Aaron White shook off some early misses to finish with 13 points on 4/7 shooting, with 8 rebounds, 3 assists, and one murdered rim:
Gabe Olaseni (12 points) and Peter Jok (11 points) were also in double figures and Dom Uhl chipped in 9 points and 6 rebounds, albeit mainly in the second half when Iowa was cruising along with a 20-point lead. That was one of the other happy subplots of this game, though -- Iowa lead by so much so early in the game that they were able to get minutes for several backups. Olaseni, White, and Oglesby were the only players to log more than 20 minutes tonight. With a quick turnaround for Sunday's game at Nebraska and more Big Ten games coming fast and furious next week, every little bit of rest helps.
So yeah: Rutgers stinks, but Iowa did exactly what they should do at home against an opponent like that -- jump out to an early lead, then keep rolling up the points and don't let the bad team back into the game. Check, check, and check. On to Nebrasketball.