Inside the Matchup
Well, what do you know. The young Hawkeyes find themselves in the middle of another tough test on Tuesday night as they travel to South Bend to take on Mike Brey's Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Iowa is coming off two losses against Virginia and Memphis in the Emerald Coast Classic. We found out a lot about the Hawkeyes over the weekend. Peter Jok has cemented himself as one of the best scorers in the entire nation, which we knew could be a possibility entering the season. The Hawkeyes also lack a lot on the defensive end of the floor.
They gave up 74 in the loss to Virginia and 100 in the loss to Memphis. That now puts Iowa dead last in scoring defense in the conference and the team that sits second to last allows 9 points less than Iowa does.
In the game against Virginia they struggled with the Hoos' suffocating defense and the fact that they are so experienced at both ends of the floor. Well, Notre Dame isn't quite as tough on the defensive end, but they are extremely experienced as well.
V.J. Beachum, Bonzie Colson, and Steve Vasturia are three of the more experienced players in the ACC and that trio has led the Irish to a 6-0 start. Those players average nearly 50 points per game between the three of them, so Iowa has their hands full.
Notre Dame has to worry about one of the nations best scorers in Peter Jok, but so far Iowa hasn't gotten a third player to step up and give them consistent scoring. They are getting 25 a game from Jok and about 14 from Tyler Cook, but then there are three guys averaging around 6 or 7 per game. If they can get a third option to step up and average 10-12 points per game, while also figuring the defensive issues out, Iowa could become a fairly tough team to beat.
The Hawkeyes and Irish have met twice over the course of the last two seasons, including last year when the Irish defeated Iowa in the consolation bracket of the AdvoCare Invitational.
Hawk to Rock
Peter Jok. Nobody is scoring at the clip he is. It doesn't matter if he gets all the attention from the opposing team, he's still going to find a way to get all of his shots in.
I'll go with Jok too. Mainly because it hasn't mattered how many defenders have been draped all over him. He's going to get his shots and his shots are going to go in because he simply doesn't need that much room to fire. He's been talked about as the best pure scorer in the nation and as each game passes it starts to look like that is a certainty.
The sleeper tonight is Dom Uhl. If Jok or Cook are limited at all by the defense, a third scorer will have to come into play. And with how this team plays defense, rebounds, and turns it over, the hawk to rock at this point has to be valued on points and points alone. Baer has had a game or two. Christian Williams has had one. We're still waiting for Uhl to have his and tonight could be the night.
We've talked about Iowa needing another option outside of Jok and Cook and that remains true. The candidates include Nicholas Baer, Dom Uhl, and Cordell Pemsl. I don't think you'll get consistent scoring from Baer, he's more of a garbage bucket guy who knocks down the occasional three. Uhl has been sort of unpredictable through the course of his career. But Pemsl is a guy that could certainly step up in the front court for the Hawkeyes and I think he does tonight on the road.
NOTRE DAME 78 IOWA 65
I think ND's experience and home court advantage come into play tonight. Having experienced guys is something you just can't replace. Iowa had that last year and for a majority of it they were in the top 10 in the country. Notre Dame is ranked 27th in the AP Poll and could wind up in the top 25 if they keep playing the way they are.
NOTRE DAME 84 IOWA 73