Night and Day
The difference between the game on Thursday night and this one tonight was night and day. The Hawkeyes looked so good at home against Purdue only to look so bad on the road against Northwestern. They got away from a lot of the stuff that won them the game against Purdue. For example, they were blown to shreds on the glass and in the paint. That is something Iowa did very well on Thursday. Peter Jok scored 29 points on Thursday, only to score just 4 tonight. He was taking difficult shots and honestly looked like he was just forcing way too much. He was lazy on defense and was pretty much benched for a good chunk of the second half. He and a lot of the other starters, that is. I'm not sitting here and saying Jok was the only bad one because it was absolutely a team effort. Bohannon couldn't keep McIntosh out of the lane and Iowa's forwards couldn't keep Dererk Pardon off the glass. It was an ugly showing from a young team that is more than capable of coming back home and beating Maryland in 4 days.
Flashback to November
It was like a flashback to late November on the defensive side of the ball for the Hawkeyes. They were giving up wide open three pointers and were allowing easy shots close to the basket. With the exception of the Omaha game, this was likely Iowa's worst performance on the defensive side of the ball this season. They allowed Northwestern to shoot 60% from the field, including 46% from behind the arc. Bryant McIntosh was 9-11 from the field after posting a 5-20 in his last two games combined. For me, it was more about the guard penetration tonight. It seemed like Scottie Lindsey and McIntosh could get into the lane whenever they wanted. And with how talented those two are, they are going to knock easy shots down. That'll need to be better on Thursday with Melo Trimble and Anthony Cowan coming to town. They are 1-2 in scoring for the Terps this season.
I said that Iowa was outplayed in nearly every aspect on the game and it wasn't an exaggeration. This was probably they worst they've been on the glass this season. They were out-rebounded by a count of 39-24, and the Wildcats had 11 offensive rebounds. Dererk Pardon had 5 of the 11 for the Wildcats. Most of them came early on in the game as Pardon was extremely active and the Hawkeyes were not ready for it. One of my things to watch was the front court matchup tonight and Northwestern's forwards were better than Iowa's. Pardon nearly had a double double with 14 points and 9 rebounds, and Vic Law had 12 points of his own. The Terrapins have some big, athletic forwards that are active on the glass just like NU's, so Iowa will need to tighten that up.
Before the season started I said that Iowa was probably going to win some games they shouldn't and that they were going to lose some games they shouldn't. They probably shouldn't have beaten Purdue on Thursday and Northwestern is definitely not 35 points better than Iowa. It's just the fact that playing on the road in a tough, balanced conference like the Big Ten, is extremely difficult for experienced players. Throw in the fact that they strat 4 freshmen and that made matters worse. They looked overwhelmed. Pemsl had some silly turnovers during the game, as did Jordan Bohannon and Isaiah Moss. Really the only players that didn't look overwhelmed were Ryan Kriener and Tyler Cook. Iowa has been playing so well at home that it wouldn't surprise me to see this team beat Maryland on Thursday.
Kriener Earning More Minutes
He's proven that he can play at a high level now. He hasn't seen significant minutes all year long really, considering prior season high is 14 against Delaware State. He played 22 tonight in the loss and had 14 points on 6-7 shooting. He, like the rest of the freshmen, don't appear to be nervous about taking shots in this offense. Sometimes you'll see freshman tighten up and pass up open shots. That hasn't been the case for Iowa's youngsters. He's a perfect pick and pop guy considering his range and he gives Iowa something Cook and Pemsl do not, which is a jump shot. Dom Uhl didn't play tonight, which I am unsure why he did not, but it looked like Kriener earned his minutes and might have jumped him in the rotation. And even if he hasn't, if he keeps this up, he soon will. Ryan was a pleasant surprise in a rough game for the young Hawkeyes.