These Hawks Have Heart
The Week in Review
February 19, 2019, 7:00 P.M. CT
Maryland Terrapins 66 Iowa Hawkeyes 65
Final Betting Line: Iowa -2.5
Iowa City, Iowa
The Positives: In almost every category that matters, Iowa had a good game. They pulled down 40 total rebounds and pulled down an outstanding 18 offensive rebounds against a Maryland team that entered only allowing 8.8 offensive rebounds per game. Iowa made more free throws (19) than Maryland attempted (12), forced 17 Maryland turnovers, and consistently got good looks at the basket.
The Negatives: Nobody could hit a shot. In general, the shots that Iowa was taking were good shots and shots that they consistently make. On Tuesday night, they couldn't find the stroke and shot an ice cold 33% from the field and 31% from behind the 3-point line. In addition to poor shooting, the Hawks turned the ball over 14 times and were outscored in points off turnovers 20 to 8.
The Takeaway: Honestly, there isn't much to be said about this game. Iowa generated good shots, they played outstanding defense, and they forced turnovers. The shots just weren't falling. Every so often, you are going to have games like this, you just hope that someone can find their stroke well enough to carry you.
I take more positives out of this game than negatives. At this time a year ago, Iowa had found so many ways to lose basketball games and on nights where the shots weren't falling they were getting blown out. This year, they are digging deep and getting defensive stops when they need them and are showing a great deal of heart even in close losses. This is the kind of game that you have to forget about and continue down the path. This Iowa team is a talented offensive squad, and a greatly improved defensive unit. They will be just fine and have the makings of being extremely dangerous come Big Ten and NCAA tournament time.
February 22, 2019, 8:15 P.M. CT
Iowa Hawkeyes 76 Indiana Hoosiers 70 (OT)
Final Betting Line: Iowa -7.5
Iowa City, Iowa
The Positives: Jordan Bohannon is clutch. After not scoring in the 1st half, Bohannon scored 17 in the 2nd half and overtime to carry the Hawks down the stretch. The Hawks bounced back from a tough loss against Maryland with much improved shooting (42% from the field) and seemed to have an answer for Indiana every time the Hoosiers made a run. The Hawks played outstanding defense, creating 11 Indiana turnovers, and consistently generated second and third opportunities, pulling down 15 offensive rebounds and scoring 18 second chance points.
The Negatives: The Hawks started slow in both halves, giving up an 8-0 run at the beginning of the game and a 6-0 run at the beginning of the second half. In addition to allowing runs at the beginning of the halves, the Hawks also started ice cold from 3-point range, not hitting a 3-pointer until around the 17:20 mark of the 2nd half.
The Takeaway: In my mind, this was a game that Iowa had to have. After a tough loss against Maryland in a game where they shot poorly, this was a good pallet cleanser and should kick start Iowa for the homestretch of the Big Ten season. I feel good about this Iowa team. During the last month alone, they have shown that they can win a defensive struggle and an offensive shootout. In this game, they played outstanding defense and pounded the ball inside until they could find their stroke from behind the 3-point stripe. Against Illinois earlier this year, a game they won 95-71, they torched the Illini by shooting 68% from the field. This flexibility in winning will serve them well as the postseason rolls around.
Last week, I predicted that Iowa would finish the week 2-0, and the Hawks were one basket away from that playing out. Despite the loss, this week has instilled confidence in me about this Iowa team. Against Maryland, Iowa shot as poorly as I think they possibly could have and lost by 1. That game was against a Maryland team that is ranked No. 24 in the country as I write this and have been able to impose their will on teams throughout the season. Iowa is in good shape going into the postseason. They are getting balanced production from all the key pieces on offense, and they are playing defense at a level that could carry them through a postseason tournament game if it needed to.
A Look Ahead
The coming week takes on a renewed importance because of Iowa's loss to Maryland. Iowa still has an outside shot at the 4th seed in the Big Ten tournament, which would mean a double bye in Chicago and one less game that Iowa has to play prior to the NCAA tournament. On a larger scale, Iowa is also competing for an all important 4-seed in the NCAA tournament, which would likely mean playing the first two NCAA tournament games in Des Moines. Iowa will travel to Columbus, Ohio on Tuesday to face off with the Ohio State Buckeyes (Tuesday, February 26, 6:00 P.M.) and will round out the home schedule for 2018-2019 on Saturday when they host Rutgers. (Saturday, March 2, 4:00 P.M.)
Ohio State is a wild card this year. The Buckeyes have had an up and down season and currently sit at 17-10 and are 7th in the Big Ten. They have a powerful 1-2 punch in brothers Kaleb and Andre Wesson. In the previous meeting on January 12, a game Iowa won 72-62, Iowa dominated inside. Luka Garza and Tyler Cook scored 16 and 15 points respectively and the defense forced 21 Buckeye turnovers. The formula for an Iowa win will be the same this time. The Hawks need to be dominant in the paint and continue to play the same solid defense they have played over the last two weeks.
Rutgers will come to Iowa City off a full week of rest after beating Minnesota on Sunday. Rutgers will be looking for revenge for the previous matchup, when Joe Wieskamp sent them home very unhappy after banking in the nearly impossible 3 that we discussed last week. This will be another game in which Iowa will want to get the big guys involved early and often. Rutgers is a tall team, and causes opponents problems with their ability to pull down offensive rebounds. The keys to an Iowa victory will be to finish possessions with defensive rebounds and pound the ball inside.
At the end of the week, I expect Iowa to come away with two victories and find themselves at 23-6 with a Big Ten record of 12-6.
Follow From the Corner of Kinnick on Twitter for live in-game analysis and reaction. https://twitter.com/CornerOfKinnick
Current Big Ten Standings (Following Games on Sunday, February 24)
1. Michigan State - 23-5 (14-3)
2. Purdue - 20-7 (13-3)
3. Michigan - 24-4 (13-4)
4. Maryland - 21-7 (12-5)
5. Wisconsin - 19-8 (11-5)
6. Iowa - 21-6 (10-6)
7. Ohio State 17-10 (7-9)
8. Minnesota - 17-11 (7-10)
9. Illinois - 10-17 (6-10)
10. Rutgers - 13-14 (6-11)
11. Nebraska - 15-13 (5-12)
12. Indiana - 13-14 (4-12)
13. Penn State - 11-16 (4-12)
14. Northwestern - 12-15 (3-13)