Dunk, layup, dunk. The little miscues added up, with the Wildcats losing 93-67 in the teams' first matchup.
Since then, NU has won three of four—in large part due to the lesson taught by Iowa. The ‘Cats are challenging opponents on their fastbreak chances, taking away looks that used to come easily.
"Tactically, we're sending more guys back," Chris Collins said on Thursday. "As we evolved into what we needed to do, one of the things was that we had to take away was transition."
They also saw another team succeed against the Iowa tempo. On Wednesday, the team watched Michigan hold the Hawkeyes to 67 points in an upset victory.
"I thought they did as good a job as anyone of taking away Iowa's transition," Collins said. "That's what they killed us with the first game."
It's easier said than done, though. NU faced another challenge against Michigan State and fared well, but this, again, will be an important element of this week's practices.
"We have to get back in transition, get back on defense and just stop them from getting offensive rebounds and easy layups," Alex Olah said.
This is a different NU team, and not only in attitude. We've spent considerable time praising their half-court defense, but much of that started with them actually establishing their half-court defense.
Rather than focusing on the many things that contributed to a 26-point loss, they're making it easier. Play your game, deal with transition.
"Our number one priority is going to be to get back and try as good as we can to have them play against our set defense," Collins said.
Two weeks later, it's a different Northwestern team. They have Iowa to thank for that.