Some might feel that the NCAA tourney game was a bonus, as we are just one week removed from the majority of the fan base believing that Iowa had to win at least three games in the Big Ten tournament in order to make it this far.
Some might feel that Iowa should have given a better account of itself than it did against Cincinnati.
Some might feel that both of those sentiments are in order.
I actually fall into the category of the latter; I felt the tournament was gravy, but once Iowa got there, I felt that they should have been able to give a better account of themselves.
I need to add one caveat; Iowa has not played a team like Cincinnati all season, save twice; its two games against Michigan State.
I am NOT saying that the Bearcats are a better team than Illinois, because they are not. I am saying that Iowa's matchup against Cincy was not favorable at all, and it gives me a greater appreciation for their 2nd round Big Ten tournament win against Michigan State.
I said on Monday that Cincy was most like Michigan State when looking at any Iowa opponent from this year. They were big down low, they play amazing defense and if they happen to hit some outside shots, they are brutally tough.
All three of those things happened on Thursday.
Iowa made just 20 of 60 shots, good (or bad) for .333 from the floor. When Iowa played Michigan State for the first time this year, it shot .288 from the floor.
Cincy made an uncharacteristic 9-18 from three point range, well above their season average. Iowa made just 5-17 from three, well below its season average.
And Cincy exploited Iowa in the paint, as Jason Maxiell scored 22 points.
I hate to say this, but this was the kind of opponent where a Pierre Pierce could have made a difference. Cincy employs an overplay man to man style of defense, and Iowa has but one player who can consistently get to the rim to create his own shot. With Pierce, they would have had two.
But Iowa is better off losing without Pierce than winning with him.
Jeff Horner and Adam Haluska did not deal well with Cincy's man to man, making a combined 8 of 26 from the floor.
Greg Brunner scored 20 points for the Hawkeyes, but he had his own problems against a beefy Bearcat lineup.
Iowa trailed by 18 points in the first half, but they cut that lead to just three points very quickly in the second half. But Cincy then went on an 8-0 run to push the lead back above double digits, and much of the nation was taken away from the Iowa-Cincy game to watch another contest.
Again, there is a part of me that is not upset with this game, as Iowa's making the NCAA tournament in spite of the Pierce dismissal was more than I expected.
But we are all human, and once they made it there, we expected them to give a good account of themselves. I just don't think we got that on Thursday, though I believe the players gave it their best shot, nonetheless.
Sometimes, your best shot is just not good enough.