Iowa stayed perfect in the Big Ten by knocking off Michigan by a score of 82-71 on Sunday. The Hawkeyes stay atop the league standings, tied with Indiana at a 5-0 clip.
Fran McCaffery and company used a fast start, poised play, unselfishness, and a sound finish to dismantle the Wolverines in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Iowa shot 91 percent from the free throw line and 45 percent from beyond the three-point line. Michigan got close a few games but Iowa controlled the lead for much of the contest, remaining in the lead for almost 36 of the 40 minutes.
Jarrod Uthoff once again lead Iowa in scoring with 23 points. Peter Jok also contributed with 16 while shooting 4-6 from beyond the arc. Also in double figures was Adam Woodbury with 12 and 10 points off the bench from Dom Uhl.
Here are the five takeways:
WOODBURY STAYS OUT OF FOUL TROUBLE
One of the big discussion points of the beginning of the season was the minutes that were going to be asked of Adam Woodbury. Fran McCaffery spoke at his opening press conference about wanting his center to contribute 30-35 minutes a game. Many thought that was unrealistic, mostly due to fouls and conditioning. His body is right, his conditioning is up, and Woodbury is also avoiding foul trouble. It never became a factor earlier in the week against Michigan State at East Lansing and wasn't once again at home against Michigan. With Iowa being short on size, that has been one of the keys to the season so far. Woodbury's presence is critical.
PLAYING LIKE AN EXPERIENCED CLUB
Iowa has taken care of the basketball this year and shared it well, all signs of a team with great experience and leadership which is what the Hawkeyes have. They start four seniors and one junior and they play like it. Against Michigan on Sunday, the Hawkeyes had 19 assists and turned it over only 4 times. That will win you a lot of games.
A lot of teams have one pure, natural scorer on their team. Very few feams in the country have multiple guys that can score in various ways from just about anywhere on the court. Iowa does in Jarrod Uthoff and Peter Jok. Those are two tough players to try to contain as a defense. Uthoff has a ton of offensive skill and ability and can create his own shot more because of it and his length and size. Jok can't create on his own as much as Uthoff but is deadly from the perimeter when shooting in rhythm and can take it to the hole when opponents crowd him.
TURNING ON THE DEFENSE
It was a strong defensive week for Fran McCaffery's squad. They held Michigan State to just 59 points on their home floor, a feat that is rarely done. The Hawkeyes followed that up by returning home against Michigan and holding them to 71. That is not dramatically low but it is low by the Wolverines' standards under John Beilein as head coach. Michigan also turned it over 14 times and Iowa created off those, scoring 16. There was never going to be a worry about offensive production when it came to the Hawkeyes this season, so the improved play on defense is a great sign for things to come.
VETERANS RUBBING OFF ON WAGNER
The bench has contributed a lot this season for Iowa. Reserves Nicholas Baer and Dom Uhl have both reached double figures quite a bit this season in terms of their production. Several other strong showings have come from true freshman Ahmad Wagner. He gives Iowa a physical and tough presence near the basket that they don't necessarily always have when he's not in the game. He's a player that isn't afraid to bang underneath, and he showed even more mettle in today's ballgame when he scored on a contested shot in the post in the first half that ended a 13-0 Michigan run. The freshman is growing up fast and a lot can be attributed to the experienced teammates around him.