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Iowa 59 Wisconsin 57: Derek's Takeaways

Iowa pulled off another huge road victory with a win over Wisconsin in Madison 59-57. What did we learn?


This team had no idea what it was doing on the defensive end at the beginning of season. They didn't have a clue, really. They were giving up 80+, 90+ seemingly every game at one point during the season. The young guys have come a long way and even Peter Jok has shown more of a commitment to that part of his game as well, especially when he can't be the same offensive player he was with his back injury. Effort or intensity was never the issue. It was more of understanding the rotations, having the game slow down for them, and being more active in the passing lanes. It's a maturity thing and it's came along quickly in the past month. 


Wisconsin was awful at the end of the first half. They couldn't hit down any shot regardless of how open a look it was. And if they weren't missing shot after shot, they were turning it over and giving away easy points to Iowa. It was a very bad sequence for the Badgers. However, the Hawkeyes just weren't able to pull away enough. They netted a 7-point halftime lead but I thought at the time it wasn't enough based on how poor Wisconsin was playing. It was really a missed opportunity because there was plenty of chances to expand that lead even more and they were unable to do so. 


Are you recognizing how much Tyler Cook is on the floor at the end of games now? He's actually finishing games for the Hawkeyes. That's actually quite a bit different from what we are seeing all year and actually just a few weeks ago. And why is that? Because he is not a liability at the end of games now. He's grabbing the loose rebounds on the defensive end. He's picking up his intensity on the defensive floor. They'd throw Pemsl back in at the end of games because he could do damage on the glass and just be a better overall defender by a long shot. Cook has narrowed the gap on that and is no longer a defensive liability and that's one of the big differences in this Iowa team right now. It's made a world of difference. 


It's not that Iowa can't win with the point guards they have right now. They can. Jordan Bohannon and Christian Williams are plenty good enough. They just aren't creators. They aren't playmakers or distributors or floor generals. Christian Williams is a defensive minded player and a very good player on that end of the floor. Bohannon is an excellent offensive player but he's a combo guard that is just a pretty good passer. He's better when he can just look to score all the time and not have to worry about setting up the offense and creating for others. This team would look even better if Bohannon could play a role more suited to his game where he can just look to score and have another point guard handle the other stuff.


The hot shooting that Iowa had against Maryland was still alive and well in the first half against Wisconsin. It seemed like the magic from Jordan Bohannon against the Terrapins had transferred to the hands of Nicholas Baer as he knocked down all four threes he attempted in the first 20 minutes. However, it disappeared in a hurry in the second half. They even had some wide open looks they were unable to convert, specifically at the end from Baer and Bohannon.

You don't have shooting every night and that's understandable. But that's when you have to have to be diverse as an offense and have other ways to score. There's not a whole lot of ways out thee for Iowa right now since Peter Jok isn't 100 percent. There's the creative way in which they find ways to convert off turnovers and on the fast break, and then feeding the ball inside to Tyler Cook. But those two aspects are still being developed because they're so young. It is what it is right now and it will get better. 


I don't think you'd be incorrect or inaccurate if you included Iowa on the bubble after another massive road win. They have back-to-back road wins over Maryland and Wisconsin and there's not a team in America that wouldn't be proud of that accomplishment. And the way they did it was a little poetic with Jordan Bohannon clinching the win over the Badgers, a team his brothers played for, by knocking down a three-pointer to give the Hawkeyes the victory. I still think they'd be better if he could play off the ball a little bit more just because of how potent of a perimeter shooter and scorer he could be, but he's just a heck of a basketball player and that's all that matters and all that really needs to be said. Kudos to the Iowa staff for landing him. 

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