Villanova Proves Too Much for Iowa in 87-68 Victory

The Wildcats jumped out to an early lead against the Hawkeyes and never looked back in the second-round rout.

There were two questions coming into Iowa's tilt against Villanova in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

  1. Could the Hawkeyes outshoot Villanova?
  2. Could Iowa use its size to gain an advantage?

The answers? No, and NO.

Villanova hit 7 three-pointers in the first half - as many as Iowa made in the game - while jumping out to a 25-point lead by halftime. They also used their speed and quickness on the perimeter to switch screens and harass ball-handlers, creating an uncharacteristic 8 first-half turnovers (Iowa had just 3 total in their first-round game against Temple). 

Iowa, meanwhile, was never able to properly take advantage of Villanova's aggressive, switching scheme. Post entries resulted in turnovers far more often than in a basket, and double-teams in the corner (or double-teams all over the court against Jarrod Uthoff) never led to open shots.

Such an early deficit forced Iowa to extend full-court pressure for most of the game, which played perfectly into the quicker Villanova's hands. The Wildcats extended their lead to as many as 34 points early in the second half before the Hawkeyes chipped away at the massive advantage and finish the game with a respectable score.

The only real bright spot for the Hawkeyes came from redshirt freshman forward Nicholas Baer, who finished the game with 15 points and 4 rebounds while also playing the front of their zone press, grabbing 2 steals.

Villanova will move on to the Sweet 16. They will face 3-seed Miami on Thursday.

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