Hawkeyes Breeze Past MES

Some folks wonder what is to be gained by playing one of the worst teams in Division I basketball. That’s what Iowa did on Thursday night, as Maryland-Eastern Shore came into the game ranked 346 out of 351 schools, according to Ken Pomoroy.

While this game did nothing positive for Iowa’s RPI, it was as another step on the road for the Hawkeyes and I saw several encouraging things.

AARON WHITE: I really wanted to see White expand his floor game this year and he did some of that in this contest. He hit a short corner baseline shot in the first hand and in the second, he caught the ball near the three-point line and took a drive in towards the right elbow, pulled up and stuck a 15-footer. He had his share of hustle points and four dunks, but the jump shot is what I was hoping to see this year and we got a taste of it on Thursday. White scored 16 points in the first half in just 13 minutes and finished the game with 22 points in just 17 minutes and he was 9-10 from the floor. He looks incredibly confident on the floor and at times, it seems like he is toying with the opponent.

THREE-POINTERS: Iowa entered the game shooting less than 27-percent from three-point range. They knocked down 7-17 from the night, which improved their season percentage to 32.6%. That’s still south of where I hope to see Iowa shoot on the season but it was a step in the right direction as Iowa shot just over 30% lat season. If this team can knock down 35% of its three’s this year, they will be playing for seed, not just the dance.

JARROD UTHOFF: This is where the ‘competition’ line has to be drawn, but Jarrod Uthoff continues to impress the heck out of me. He has great ball skills and a real savvy to his game. That’s not just another white guy adjective; I like his floor game a great deal. He recorded a double-double, the first of his Iowa career, with 11 points and 11 boards.

ASSISTS: Iowa had 12 assists on 20 field goals in the first half, which is a huge number. For the game, they had 24 on 35 field goals. One of the BTN analysts made the comment ‘this team really looks like it enjoys playing with one another. They make the extra pass all of the time.’ That seems to be the case. There doesn’t appear to be a selfish player on the team.

Here are a few thoughts on some players not yet mentioned…

Adam Woodbury: Four points and six rebounds in 19 minutes. I know this may sound counterintuitive, but I believe his production will increase as the level of competition increases. His skills are better this year and he has a bigger body. He’s probably not going to explode into the type of player some are hoping he can be, this year. That said, he doesn’t have to be and just needs to learn to stay within himself and stay on the floor because even if he isn’t scoring in buckets, Iowa is usually a better team with him on the floor.

Mike Gesell: He had eight points in 17 minutes but it was his first two shots that I liked to see most; they were three points and he never hesitated. Both found the bottom of the well and then he scored on a dribble drive right to the rack. Those eight points came in a span of 01:34 and this had to be a great outing for his confidence. It was also a night where he moved back to the point guard role. Coincidence?

Peter Jok: He scored 11 but Jok is the only player out there who appears as though he is hunting for shots. That said, McCaffery could be giving his young shooter the green light in order to accelerate his development. He was 1-5 from the floor and a few of his misses were forced shots, but he was a perfect 8-8 from the free throw line. He’s averaging 17.7 minutes per game and has the second most field goal attempts (24) on the team. That’s eight per game.

Devyn Marble: He hit a three-pointer right off the top of the game, was active on the defensive end (four steals) and five assists in 18 minutes. When he went to the bench for good early in the second half, he sat on the floor and later was laying on the floor, reminiscent of players who are dealing with back pain. Marble has acknowledged a gimpy hip and that’s probably leading to some back discomfort.

Anthony Clemmons: He had four assists in 13 minutes. He’s a great role player for this team and will grow into even more of a luxury off the bench.

Gabe Olaseni: He was very active and rewarded, as he scored 10 points and grabbed five rebonds to go along with three blocks in just 13 minutes of play.

More notes from the game: Iowa has now won 22-straight home games against unranked opponents, dating back to March 13, 2012 — the third-longest active streak in the Big Ten. The win is also Iowa’s 19th straight at home versus nonconference opponents.

Iowa scored 56 points in the first half. That is the most points ever scored in the first half under Fran McCaffery. Iowa’s 109 points is the second highest point total under Fran McCaffery.

Seven Hawkeyes recorded double figures in scoring. They include: Basabe (12), White (22), Marble (10), Olaseni (10), McCabe (11), Jok (10) and Uthoff (11).

Iowa’s next opponent is Abilene Christian, ranked 338th in the nation…so yes, another bad team is coming into Iowa City. After that it’s a home game against Penn and then on to Atlantis. Don’t rip on the schedule too much; Iowa has 17 games left (out of 31 regular season games) against teams currently ranked in Pomeroy’s Top 50, 11 games against teams who are in the Top 30 and games against teams ranked in the Top 15, including a possible ninth if they made it to the title game in Atlantis and Kansas does the same.

  • Stuff

    Love Fran, but hate these horrible opponents. I know…there are some challenges coming in the Atlantis tourney and ACC challenge and up in Ames, but still…why not a team ranked 200 instead of 350? Why not play a couple games against U of I intramural teams and save the athletic department tons of money? I’m confident the intramural teams would be more competitive than UMES et al.

    And hey, to all of you who fear what horrible happenings would befall the Hawkeyes if Kirk were shown the door, check Auburn. After a 3-9, 0-8 season in 2012, they fired the guy who had won a national title two years earlier and the new guy, in his first year, has Auburn in the top ten and challenging for an SEC title and a BCS bowl. Impossible, you said. But true nonetheless.

    Oh yah, and then there’s Wisconsin… So ye faint of heart, when it comes to Hawkeye football after Kirk, there is nothing to fear but fear itself. Ask Auburn. Ask Wisconsin.

    • HNStaff

      Auburn recruits at a level that Iowa seldom has. They can rebuild faster. They made a bad hire, too. I’d still wager on Iowa’s next coach struggling to reach the macro level success that Kirk and Hayden experienced at Iowa.

      • BertD

        You mean recruits at a level that Kirk seldom has, right?

      • Who not Where

        Can’t recruit to Iowa? In Hayden’s FIRST year at Iowa, he took the leftovers from Bob Commings and turned in a 5-6 record with a team that featured a former 5th string DB as the starting QB. And Hayden wasn’t playing Missouri State and Western Michigan and a horrible ISU.

        After 19 years of nonwinning seasons, Fry won a Big Ten title and went to the Rose Bowl in his THIRD season at Iowa. A few years after that, 1985, and Iowa was #1 in the nation for five straight weeks, won another Big Ten title and went to another Rose Bowl. And the leading receivers on that team were two white boys from Iowa who had modest speed at best: Scott Helverson (a Des Moines walk-on) and Bill Happel (Cedar Rapids). Of course, Iowa threw timing patterns, used the middle of the field–a lot–and tended to pass in running situations.

        Auburn had the same talent pool to choose from under Chizek that they did last year and that they do now.

        And you overlooked folks like Northwestern, Wisconsin, Michigan State and man others.

        It’s not about the WHERE; it’s about the WHO.

        And until people are willing to admit that, Iowa football is going nowhere fast.

        • HNStaff

          Great..so you’re thankful and appreciative for what Kirk has done with what little he inherited…Iowa’s first undefated conference season since the 1920’s in year four, a Big Ten title in year four, a win in a traditional BCS bowl for the first time since the 1950’s, back to back to back Top 8 finishes in the AP, something that hadn’t been done since the 1950’s, etc. I realize 4-8 isn’t what anybody wants, but don’t get silly and forget that a) Hayden lost games, too and b) Kirk-led teams have done some fantastic things.

          • More

            Spin it however you want. What Ferentz did, yes, great stuff — but it’s been awhile — and it was only possible because of what Fry did. Fry built the modern Iowa football program when every “expert” said Iowa was–their words–“a coaching graveyard.”

            Kirk didn’t rebuild a program that had gone 19 years without a winning season. He merely picked up where Hayden left off after Fry’s cancer had taken its toll.

            Kirk’s 2010 team should have been 12-0 and been a national title contender–a Rose Bowl participant at the least. Instead, with all that NFL talent, that team was coached into a 7-5 season. Unbelievable. And Iowa has underachieved ever since–including this season. Iowa must win its last two games to make this season respectable. Iowa has accomplished nothing of note so far–except, of course, the big win over Minnesota.

            Kirk has none of the creative, promotional, risk-taking, innovative style that Fry had. Heck, Kirk is the only coach in all of football who thinks it’s a bad idea to put the team logo in the middle of the field. This is emblematic of his total lack of creative leadership that permeates everything from his press conferences to his game plans to his misuse of personnel.

            Give Kirk credit for what he’s done. Absolutely. But fairness then demands that Kirk be held accountable for what he has failed to do for going on four seasons now.

            In a season and a half, Kirk has run ONE trick play, and it went for a TD. The shortcomings of Kirk’s program as it now exists have been well documented.

            And so I reiterate: It’s not WHERE; it’s WHO.

    • Fran

      You talk to much…..shhhhh just be quiet. Besides this is a basketball post

    • Ray

      Anderson is playing with Bielema’s players lets see how he does when they are gone and he has to recruit his own players

  • WIlliam Vonnegut

    That game last night was horrible to watch. No way in hell should we be playing teams like that. They get more competition in practice than playing in games like this.

  • louie

    Olaseni has the most upside of anybody on team.He should play more minutes than Woodbury.He is quite a bit better player overall.

    • WIlliam Vonnegut

      I’d be interested to see how often the opposition gets the ball after Olesani touches it? He can’t shoot, can’t pass, and can’t dribble. When he gets the ball, he usually misses a shot or turns it over.

      But I do understand your frustration with Woodbury. I don’t know why that guy is afraid of the rim, or maybe he just can’t dunk and is embarrassed, but he has a ton of trouble finishing around the hoop. Against UMES, Marble laid a dime right on Woodbury beneath the basket, and Woodbury, unguarded under the hoop, reached about two inches above the rim and, instead of jamming it home, kind of pushed it over the front of the iron.

      • HNStaff

        Good grief the some of you folks are the most negative @@@@@@@@ I have encountered. Always looking at the negative and usually misguided. Find another hobby
        Jon Miller

        • WIlliam Vonnegut

          Instead of strengthening your language, tell me where I’m wrong. I don’t think my assessment is excessively negative or libelous. I know you think that Iowa’s front court scoring was going to be a strength this season, so please, counter with arguments, not name-calling.

          • westsidebill

            No it’s not. However, it IS overly negative and without much basis in CURRENT terms (you’re still going off most of your feelings/stats from last year).

          • WIlliam Vonnegut

            Incorrect westsidewilliam, I am basing it completely off of this season’s results. Olesani is still very frightening with the ball in his hands, and Woodbury is still very uneasy when trying to score near the basket. And this is against VERY VERY bad teams.

            I don’t mean to be excessively negative, because both players do things very well. I think Olesani is turning into a great offensive rebounder, and he protects the rim very well. Woodbury has been very impressive this season on defense, and I think his game away from the basket is excellent. He looks more comfortable handling the ball 20 feet from the basket rather than 3 feet.

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