Iowa cruised past Michigan Saturday night to end their four game losing streak. The Hawkeyes left Ann Arbor with a 71-61 win.
It was a game they needed. Had they lost to the Wolverines, Iowa would be looking at a 6 or 7 seed in the Big Ten tournament. Now, they'll have an opportunity to get a 4 or 5 seed. If they are awarded a 4-seed, they get a double-bye in the conference tourney. They'll need Purdue to beat Wisconsin and Indiana to defeat Maryland for that to happen.
Jarrod Uthoff was shapr from the field as if it was the beginning of the season. He as 11-19 from the field in a 29-point effort.
Other Hawkeyes in double figures were Anthony Clemmons with 12 and Peter Jok hauled in 10 points.
Adam Woodbury did finish with 11 rebounds to go with his 9 points. Mike Gesell had 11 assists to go with his 6 points.
Here are the takeaways.
They make you scratch your head. At the end of the first half Iowa had a very sloppy possession with some ugly shots by a couple guys, including Jarrod Uthoff. They were coming up with offensive boards though and reset the shot clock. They could have held for a final shot. Instead, they launched another wild attempt and gave the ball back to Michigan. They did have strong efforts. Adam Woodbury was locked in on offense. Jarrod Uthoff was hot from range. Gesell had 11 assists. But then they let a 15 point lead slip away because of turnovers and not being able to figure out the Wolverines 1-3-1 zone defense. They got out of it because of a clutch steal and breakaway lay-up from Gesell and a timely three-pointer from Anthony Clemmons. They're a hard group to gauge.
UTHOFF BACK TO FORM
There wasn't a whole lot to complain with here. He coughed up the ball a few times because he isn't a terrific ball handler and his shot selection was poor a few times but you live with his aggression because of his scoring ability. You'd rather Uthoff be in attack mode than conservative with the ball. He finished with 29 points on 11-19 shooting.
They got stops and took off in transition. They played at the pace they wanted. They played fast. That is when Iowa is at their best. They get down the court quick and rotate the ball and move the ball before the defenses can even establish themselves and figure out where they want to be. That is their strength. They sometimes get away from that but they stayed with it tonight. There was a stretch in the second half where they didn't score for over five minutes because the 1-3-1 zone complicated it for them. If not for that stretch, they would have put up much more on the scoreboard.
It's easy to see why they struggle to rebound defensively at times. They're not being fundamentally sound. They don't find a body to take out of the paint. I think part of the problem is the zone defense they run. I think they use it to keep opposing teams off balance and give them another look. However, that zone defense is making it difficult for the players to find a body to box out. They are standing around and watching because they're not assigned to anyone. That's not an excuse but the zone defense takes them out of being aggressive on the defensive glass.
DOUBLE BYE IN PLAY
They needed a win badly. They needed it to end the skid, pick up a great road victory, and keep the possibility of a double-bye in the conference tournament alive. They did just that. That means they don't have to play Wednesday or Thursday. It's much needed rest and an easier path. They'll need help though. Theyr'e going to need Wisconsin and Maryland to lose tomorrow.