Feeling sorry for Iowa. In the wrong conference this year. Pencil them in as the NIT favorite.
— Ken Pomeroy (@kenpomeroy) February 7, 2013
That’s from Ken Pomeroy, who is the man behind www.kenpom.com and tempo free statistics that are all the rage. I think he has accurately summed up Iowa’s season and future. More on that in a bit.
For the fourth straight road game, the Iowa Hawkeyes had a chance to win it in the final minute of regulation. But just as they had against Ohio State, Purdue and Minnesota, Iowa could not get a stop or hit the key shot in order to emerge victorious as they fell 74-70 at Wisconsin in double-overtime.
Iowa is now 1-5 in Big Ten games decided by four points or less this year and two of their last three losses have been in overtime. Iowa also had the chance to win their last three games at the end of regulation and their losses at Minnesota and Wisconsin saw their opponent hit a late game three to either tie it or take a one point lead.
This is really, really reminding me of the 1994-1995 Iowa season where the Hawkeyes lost three straight Big Ten games by one point. It was frustrating then and it’s frustrating now.
Traevon Jackson hit a three-point shot with 20 seconds left to tie the game at 58-58. The shot bounced off the front of the rim, hit the backboard above the square and made its way to the bottom of the hoop. Iowa ran a baseline screen look and got Josh Oglesby open for a pretty clean look at a three-point shot that started to go down and then rimmed out. Overtime.
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Iowa still had its chances and both teams really shot it poorly in overtime. In the end, Iowa lost the game. I really don’t want to break down the ups and downs of the extra periods here because when you are the road team, it’s all about closing it out when you have the chance.
Iowa hasn’t been able to do that this year and the die for their post season has most likely been cast. Sure, they can go 6-2 the rest of the way and get to 20-11 overall; I won’t be surprised if that happens. But unless one of those wins is at Indiana (which it won’t be) Iowa will have at best just two victories over likely NCAA at large teams (Wisconsin and maybe Minnesota at home) so it would need to beat one of the top seeds in the second round of the Big Ten tournament.
I just don’t know if this team is ready for that. If Devyn Marble can get back to 100 percent? Yeah, they could that then. Marble has hardly been himself, scoring a field goal on Wednesday night with just over 16 minutes to play ending an 83 minute field goal drought. He’s not right and I just don’t see what good is going to come from them not admitting it. People are becoming overly critical of Devyn and I don’t think it’s fair to him to keep tossing out there that he’s fine an is just in a slump.
If he were fine and just in a slump, he’d still get to the free throw line because he could drive all day on the likes of Ben Brust. He’s not fine, so he can’t. He hasn’t been healthy since the first Big Ten game of the season. Iowa has been tantalizingly close so often the past three weeks and having a healthy Marble sure would have been nice. That said, other teams have to deal with injuries and it is what it is. Iowa is who they are; a likely NIT team who is still trying to learn how to win the close games. They haven’t done it yet and that’s something they need to turn around and experience before this year is out so they can carry it over to next season.
Iowa had 51 rebounds in this game and 18 offensive. Those totals were better than Wisconsin on both fronts. Both teams had 12 turnovers, which is another win for Iowa play the Badgers at the Kohl Center. Both teams had 24 points in the paint.
*Wisconsin snapped a three-game losing streak against Iowa.
*Three of the last eight meetings between Iowa and Wisconsin have gone to overtime. It was Iowa’s second overtime game of the season, and first double-overtime game since 1977.
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*Iowa grabbed 51 rebounds, its most in Big Ten play and third-most of the season.
*Freshman Mike Gesell led Iowa with 14 points, his fourth time this season leading the team in scoring. Gesell has scored in double-figures in four of the past six games.
*Junior Melsahn Basabe led Iowa on the glass with eight rebounds, the sixth time he has led Iowa in rebounding this season. Basabe is averaging 7.8 rebounds per game since being injected into the starting lineup.
*Sophomore Aaron White scored 11 points and had ten free throw attempts. White has taken at least ten free throw attempts in six games this season.