The Heart Attack Hawks
Updated: Feb 27, 2019
The Week in Review
February 10, 2019, 5:30 P.M. CT
Iowa Hawkeyes 80 Northwestern Wildcats 79
Final Betting Line: Iowa -10.5
Iowa City, Iowa
The Positives: Iowa Won. The Hawkeyes showed resiliency in a game where they weren't their sharpest on offense. They generated turnovers (16) and were consistently creating opportunities around the basket. They continued a year long trend of getting to the free throw line, making one more free throw (19) than Northwestern attempted (18), and took advantage of open 3-point opportunities by shooting a scorching 52.9% from deep.
The Negatives: Despite shooting at a blistering pace from behind the arc, Iowa did not shoot particularly well in this game (47.3%) and left a number of points on the board. Upon rewatching the game, I counted around a dozen shots that Iowa has consistently hit this year that they missed against Northwestern. These shots ranged from hook shots in close by the big guys to driving layups that the guards just couldn't curl in.
The Takeaway: Jordan Bohannon has ice water running through his veins and this team has the right stuff. Down 14 at the under 4 minute media timeout, many teams would have folded and went home. This team didn't. They dug deep, found their stroke from the 3-point line, and fought to the very end. They forced key turnovers down the stretch, played great defense and stayed composed and poised with the game in the balance.
Games like this are good measuring sticks for teams. Good teams will take a game where they don't shoot particularly well and just aren't quite on, and they won't allow it to carry on to other games. Really good teams will take a game like this, keep it close, and learn from it moving forward. Great teams will do what Iowa did. They will dig deep, leave it all on the court, and find a way to win. This team has a chance to be one of the great Iowa teams. They are potent on offense, middle of the road on defense. and they have enough heart to fight through any situation.
February 16, 2019, 5:00 P.M. CT
Iowa Hawkeyes 71 Rutgers Scarlet Knights 69
Final Betting Line: Iowa -3.5
The Positives: Iowa showed a tremendous amount of heart and fight for a second consecutive game. Luka Garza had a bounce back game after struggling with foul trouble the last couple of games, scoring Iowa's first 4 points and providing extended outstanding minutes against a very tall Rutgers team. Iowa fought hard on the glass and neutralized one of Rutgers biggest advantages, only being out-rebounded 33-34 in total rebounds and 12-14 in offensive rebounds. Iowa also demonstrated the ability to make key adjustments at halftime. After turning the ball over 10 times in the first half, they limited themselves to only 5 turnovers in the second half.
The Negatives: The Hawks started slow, getting down 7-0 early before Garza got two key baskets to avoid having to dig out a big hole right out of the chute. Early in this game, Iowa was very lax with the basketball and made quite a few unforced errors. Rutgers physicality seemed to bother Iowa throughout this game, and that will be something that has to be improved on or it will be heavily exploited throughout the remainder of the season.
The Takeaway: This game was one that had worried me for the last month. This Rutgers team is physical, rebounds the basketball extremely well, and has played very well at home. Iowa showed a ton of determination and heart throughout this game. There were multiple times where it seemed that the Rutgers was on the brink of blowing it wide open, but the Hawks always found an answer, never trailing by more than seven points.
My biggest takeaway from this game is not that Iowa won, it is how Iowa won. In recent years, when Iowa needed to stop a run or hang with a team, they turned the game into a track meet by trying to outshoot their opponent. On Saturday, they found answers in their defense. It seemed like every time Iowa needed a stop, they found a way to get it. This team continues to demonstrate that they can win in multiple ways, and that bodes well as they come down the home stretch.
As a side note, if you want to see an example of a player with extremely high basketball I.Q, watch Joe Wieskamp's feet on the game winner. He is well aware of where he is on the floor, turning his feet sideways to avoid stepping on the sideline, then squaring his shoulders to get a clean look at the basket. That shot was an absolute thing of beauty, with a ton of moving parts that had to be just right.
From the Iowa Hawkeyes YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ju0c45WF9dI
A Look Ahead
The next week could go a long way towards giving Iowa fans a better idea of where this team will be seeded for the Big Ten tournament. Squarely in the race for the four seed and a double bye in the Big Ten tourney, Iowa hosts No. 24 Maryland (Tuesday, February 19, 7:00 P.M. CT) and Indiana (Friday, February 22, 8:00 P.M. CT) this coming week.
Maryland currently sits in fourth in the BIg Ten standings, one game ahead of Iowa in the win column, and comes to Iowa City Tuesday fresh off a loss to No. 6 Michigan on Saturday. Maryland plays outstanding defense and has a fair bit of size inside. This game will be largely decided on how well Iowa can handle the ball pressure that inevitibly will come from Maryland and how they handle Maryland's big guys.
Indiana has a big week ahead of them following their Saturday loss at Minnesota that was their 10th loss in 11 games. Prior to their Friday date with Iowa, the Hoosiers play host to Purdue on Tuesday. Indiana is reeling right now, and Iowa has the blueprint to beat Indiana, already collecting a 77-72 win at Indiana on February 7th. In that game, Iowa forced turnovers, shot the ball well, and road Tyler Cook inside. Iowa should have an advantage inside in this one and I look for them to take advantage of that. I foresee Iowa's bigs having a big game, or if Indiana decides to double team all night, I look for Bohannon, Wieskamp, and Moss to have good nights.
At the end of the week, I expect Iowa to come away with two victories and find themselves at 22-5 with a Big Ten record of 11-5.
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Current Big Ten Standings (Following Games on Sunday, February 17)
1. Michigan - 23-3 (12-3)
2. Michigan State - 21-5 (12-3)
3. Purdue - 18-7 (11-3)
4. Maryland - 19-7 (10-5)
5. Iowa - 20-5 (9-5)
6. Wisconsin - 17-8 (9-5)
7. Minnesota - 17-9 (7-8)
8. Ohio State - 16-9 (6-8)
9. Illinois - 10-15 (6-8)
10. Rutgers - 12-13 (5-10)
11. Nebraska - 15-11 (5-10)
12. Indiana - 13-12 (4-10)
13. Northwestern - 12-13 (3-11)
14. Penn State - 9-16 (2-12)