Iowa basketball team did a disservice to itself and fans

Lackluster. Embarrassing. Rock bottom.

For anyone looking to describe the performance of the Iowa basketball team in Thursday night’s Big Ten Tournament opener against Northwestern, those are just a few of the things that come to mind.

To all of the Hawkeye supporters out there who thought that things couldn’t possibly get any worse following a late season tailspin, you were wrong.

If there was a more despicable loss that Iowa could have suffered at this point in the season I can’t possibly imagine it. So I guess, Iowa fans, the bright side is that your team can sink no lower than the lifeless abyss in which it currently resides.

Not only did the Hawkeyes mostly trash what little regard was still held for them in basketball annals, but they did so in front of a national television audience. FANTASTIC.

I’ll try not to be overly harsh with my forthcoming words for this team’s performance on Thursday night, but please pardon any of the hyperbole I’m likely to engage in at some point.

The NCAA Tournament committee would describe Iowa’s defeat to Northwestern as a “bad loss” on its resume. I prefer to describe it as a pathetic loss, but that’s just me.

The Hawkeyes started slow and never really appeared all that interested throughout the course of the butt-whooping they received. Another big game by senior star Devyn Marble (25 points and 4 assists) went to waste, as did possibly the best performance all season by reserve forward Jarrod Uthoff (17 points and 9 rebounds). The only other Iowa players who seemed to make an appearance at all were substitute big man Gabe Olaseni (6 points and 8 rebounds), and for a stretch of the first half, forward Zach McCabe.

Just about every other member of the Iowa squad was effectively absent from Thursday’s contest, namely Aaron White and Mike Gesell. White, a third team All-Big Ten recipient was pretty much a no show against Northwestern (and he hit ALL of his shots). Meanwhile at point guard, Gesell went through a nightmarish 0-10 shooting night, and tallied only two assists.

For fear of going player by player through the rest of Iowa’s roster, here’s all you need to really know. Aside from Marble, Uthoff, Olaseni, and McCabe, the other seven Hawkeyes that saw the floor COMBINED for seven total points on 2-23 shooting from the field. Yes, it was that bad.

Northwestern entered Thursday's game as one of the worst major conference teams in America...and walked all over the Hawkeyes.

Northwestern entered Thursday’s game as one of the worst major conference teams in America…and walked all over the Hawkeyes.

The Hawkeyes for the most part were lacking any and all energy and enthusiasm for the entire 40 minutes. That should never happen in a conference tournament win-0r-go-home format.

Had Iowa been so listless and lost to one of the upper echelon teams in the Big Ten it might have been slightly easier to stomach. Unfortunately, “upper echelon” and Northwestern are not two terms that belong in the same sentence.

The group of Wildcats that topped the Hawkeyes on Thursday are devoid of both depth and talent in all honesty. It’s a team that tries to bring every game it plays to a screeching halt because it knows that it can’t play with almost anybody straight up and win.

Case in point, Iowa blew out Northwestern by 26 points in each of their two earlier meetings this season.

Thursday’s game had no business even being close, much less result in a loss, had the Hawkeyes shown up to play with some semblance of pride and emotion. But that’s all revisionist history at this point.

Iowa’s season has been in a downward spiral for some time now, and this last loss is in a negative sense, the proverbial icing on the cake.

The Hawkeyes have let down their fans with their effort on the court in recent weeks, regardless of any results in win/loss column.

More importantly though, this team has let down itself.

  • chicagohawk10

    This pretty much sums it up boys and girls. I cannot even imagine what is going through the mind of this team. what happened to that attacking offense? missing 3 point shots and not getting the rebound is a recipe for failure. not guarding the 3 point line is a recipe for failure. what baffles me is why mccaffery cannot see this and put a stop to it. this is beyond being on the players. this is 100% coaching. I like mccaffery and his style of play but he’s never been under the bright lights like this before in his career. well here you are fran….now coach for god’s sake.

    • Tanner Lafever

      I would urge you to temper your criticism somewhat of the coaching staff. To say that McCaffery “cannot see the issues” is a bit of an unfair judgement. He hasn’t had all of the success that he has by not being able to recognize flaws of his teams. To say that this is “100% coaching” is almost a dismissal of all of the other great things McCaffery has done as Iowa’s coach. Remember when the Hawkeyes dominated Ohio State in Columbus, and ran over Michigan at home? The same coach was calling the shots then. I’m not saying that coaches are above criticism at all, and I’m sure that they certainly could have made better adjustments over the course of the team’s recent slide. However, I’d also be extremely careful with what I lob McCaffery’s way right now. His 13 year old son is have surgery to remove a tumor on his thyroid this Wednesday. I have no idea how long Fran has known about this because it only became public news about a week ago, but there is no telling whether or not this has been weighing on his mind for weeks. I prefer not to make excuses for men making millions of dollars to coach the game of basketball, but in this case no one can fault McCaffery is some of his focus has been drawn away from this team and onto his family. So as not to end this reply on a down note, I’d just like to point out that McCaffery won first round NCAA Tournament games in two of his last three seasons at Sienna, once as a 13-seed, and also took 1-seed Louisville down to the wire in a second round contest. It may have been at a mid-major school, but McCaffery does have a proven track record of having success once he reaches the tournament. So I’m saying there’s still a chance to have a little hope after all!