Typically this is area is Iowa does fairly well in. Tonight was a different story. They got out rebounded by a bad Delaware State team 40-39 and the Hornets had 18 offensive rebounds. Iowa wasn't blocking out and had trouble getting a body on guys the entire night. It just went unnoticed by many because of how poor DSU was on offense. The Hornets finished the game shooting 24% from the field. Next Wednesday that isn't going to fly against one of the better and bigger teams in the Big Ten. Isaac Haas and Caleb Swanigan can create a lot of problems on the glass if you are not boxing out. Swanigan leads the Big Ten averaging nearly 13 rebounds per contest.
Tonight's 17 Iowa turnovers are the most since the Memphis game back in late November. Iowa had started to do a much better job taking care of the basketball, which is a big reason for their five game winning streak. That, and their improved defense. Having 17 turnovers against a team like DSU is a little troubling for me. They got awfully sloppy in the second half for a while turning the ball over and being unable to handle the press that DSU was throwing at them. Isaiah Moss led the team with 4 turnovers, but two came on offensive foul calls. Other than that, it seemed like everyone was getting in on the fun. Limiting the turnovers will be huge for Iowa if they want to leave West Lafayette with a win next Wednesday.
The bench was once again spectacular. They had 37 points as a unit and Christian Williams led them with 9. Freshmen Maishe Dailey and Ryan Kriener were helping out, Dailey had a career high 8 points and led the team in rebounding with 7 of them. Dom Uhl was aggressive and Brady Ellingson was as solid as he's been all season long. Jordan Bohannon said after the game that Dailey has been "shooting the crap out of the ball" in practices so it was nice to see it translate to game action. I doubt we see Dailey get much action on Wednesday, but after speaking with him after the game, he is sure ready if called upon. Uhl was just 1-2 from the field, but I really liked how aggressive he was taking the ball towards the rim. He got to the line 8 times and drilled 5 of them. He also recorded 7 rebounds, which tied Dailey for the high on the night. Iowa needs solid play from Uhl off the bench.
Wagner Being More Aggressive
Ever since Ahmad Wagner was put into the starting lineup he's gotten more and more aggressive. Tonight was as aggressive as I've seen him all season. He was driving to the rim with a purpose and even had a huge put back slam that got waved off because he went over the defender's back. He was 5-5 from the field, but just 2-6 at the line so we may start to see teams really foul Wagner when he does make those aggressive moves towards the basket. He was catching and squaring up immediately tonight and looking to attack his defender. He got to the rim on several occasions and, as you can see by his final line, finished the job.
As Ready As They're Gonna Be
This team is as ready as they are going to get for Big Ten play. They have good wins over Iowa State and Northern Iowa in the past couple of weeks and have gotten better with each passing day. We know they are young and they are going to make mistakes, but I think they've done all they can when it comes to preparation and fine tuning everything. Especially given how young their core is. They have a leader in Peter Jok that has been through the Big Ten grind three times now, so he's going to be able to ease the minds of guys like Bohannon and Cordell Pemsl. They're going to get the freakishly athletic Tyler Cook back, although he may not start. Fran McCaffery stated he likes the way Wagner and Pemsl work together, but it doesn't really matter if Cook starts or not, he will play starters minutes. That tells me he was ready on Tuesday, but with fingers you want to be as cautious as possible. Purdue is a tough test right out of the gate, but I think the Hawkeyes are ready.