IOWA CITY, Iowa - We've had a lot of time to digest and dissect Indiana's upset victory against then No. 4 Iowa last week at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The home team was riding a five-game winning streak and a double-digit favorite in the contest.
Is it time to panic? Should we be concerned? Is Iowa going to break your heart again?
No, no and no. The Hawkeyes are fine.
I rewatched the second half of the game a couple of times. Not everything that could go wrong did, but a whole lot of uncharacteristic developments occurred:
-Senior guard Jordan Bohannon, one of the conference's best shooters, missed all nine field goal attempts, including eight shots from behind the arc. Yes, the Hoosiers did a nice job getting in his space, but several were wide open looks he usually knocks down.
Doubt Bohannon moving forward at your own risk.
-Overall, Iowa shot just 9 of 34 (26.5 percent) from the floor in the second half, which included 1 of 10 from three. It suffered without starting guard CJ Fredrick (lower leg injury) but almost everybody who played misfired on attempts they normally hit.
The Hoosiers sold out on stopping center Luka Garza, who still ended up with 28 points, and Iowa couldn't make them pay. Garza also uncharacteristically struggled at times handling the extra attention, turning it over four times.
-Coach Fran McCaffery pointed to poor defense as the reason for the setback. While true, it never has been a team fueled by stopping the opponent. It's an offensive powerhouse, and when that went south, it further exposed defensive deficiencies.
Indiana also shot over its head, making 60 percent of its second-half field goal attempts, including 4 of 6 treys. The Hoosiers began this week ranked ninth in the Big Ten in three-point shooting (34.9 percent) even after that performance.
-If there was one valid concern about the loss, it was that Indiana played harder than the Hawkeyes. But again, that's a rarity with this Iowa squad and something I wouldn't expect to see much or at all moving forward.
-Lastly, the Big Ten is unforgiving when a team is off its game. Just ask Indiana, which fell at home Sunday to a Rutgers team that had lost five in a row. Or Wisconsin, which stumbled in Madison on Saturday against an Ohio State outfit that dropped one at home to Purdue earlier in the week.
Better Safe Than Sorry: Iowa women's basketball coach Lisa Bluder decided last week to postpone her team's trip to Maryland while the presidential inauguration was happening. The Washington, D.C. area has witnessed political unrest this month.
“When I first got our schedule from the Big Ten, I thought it was pretty unusual that we were flying into Maryland on Inauguration Day,” Bluder said. “Then, when the riots and overtaking of our Capitol occurred on Jan. 6, my thoughts turned to concern. I asked Maryland about possibly moving the date of our game, and they didn’t want to.
"I understand that they’re living in this area and they feel perfectly safe, but we’re the ones traveling and staying in hotels. Then yesterday, it kind of got heightened more as our hotel contacted us and told us that we had to move out of that hotel as the National Guard was taking over. They found us another hotel where the National Guard would also be staying, but obviously, taking a group of young women into an area that is being guarded by thousands of national armed guards is alarming.”
After the Terrapins decided they didn't want to change the date, Bluder asked the Big Ten. The conference sided with the Hawkeyes.
Iowa coach Lisa Bluder gave her concerns to coach Frese a few weeks ago. Though she gave her reassurances, Iowa went ahead and called for a postponement anyway. https://t.co/TbNkqSqEZk— Katherine Fominykh (@katfominykh) January 20, 2021
Good for Bluder and shame on Frese, a Cedar Rapids native. I get that Maryland would rather not have disruptions to its schedule, but the Terps coach knew people died at the Capitol, that there was historic security for the inauguration and still wanted the Hawkeyes to come to town even though they felt unsafe.
Frese has always been a fierce competitor, but come on. Show some compassion and flexibility.
Mean Little Bastard: Never at a loss for words, Iowa wrestling coach Tom Brands found an interesting way to describe 125-pounder Spencer Lee after the Hawkeyes rolled Minnesota Friday night in Minneapolis.
“He's a mean little bastard on the mat. He’s a nice kid, but he’s a mean little bastard on the mat, and I love it,” Brands said.
The decorated Lee sits at 2-0 this season with first-period falls against the No. 9- and No. 11-ranked wrestlers. It's hard to imagine him losing this year as he pursues his third national title in three tries.
He's like a seasoned surgeon, expertly operating on his opponents until the job is finished. Is he the best wrestler in the storied history of the Hawkeye program? Is he the most dominant athlete in Iowa athletic annals?
I don't feel qualified to answers those questions. I do feel comfortable saying he's firmly in the discussion with time for adding to his legacy.