What we learned from Iowa’s 86-61 victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff:
-- Arkansas-Pine Bluff is not very good. OK, this isn’t a stunning revelation. But some of us thought the Golden Lions might be a small notch above Abilene Christian, Maryland-Eastern Shore and Fairleigh Dickinson. They weren’t. Iowa led 39-5 at one point. At halftime, the Hawkeyes were shooting 75 percent, the Lions 18.8. The visitors did not get a single point out of a frontcourt player in the first half.
-- Iowa’s deep reserves were worse than Arkansas-Pine Bluff. The Hawkeyes turned the ball over 15 times in the second half (27 times in the game) and a bunch of those came in the final stretch when Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s starters slapped a full-court press on the Iowa reserves, cutting what was once a 43-point margin down to 25. It got so bad that Iowa coach Fran McCaffery angrily yanked his third-teamers for the final minute and put his second team back on the floor to finish out the game. (What we didn’t learn is why a coach chooses to press for the entire second half in a game that was lost in the first 10 minutes. We never got to ask UAPB’s George Ivory about that.)
-- Junior Josh Oglesby was not hurt by the layoff caused by his recovery from a broken foot. If anything, he looked more confident shooting the ball than ever before. He drained four 3-point field goals in a span of five minutes in the first half and made it pretty clear that freshman Peter Jok’s playing time is going to take a significant dip.
-- Fran McCaffery isn’t afraid to do unconventional things if he thinks it’s in the best interests of his basketball team. It became apparent late in the first half that Arkansas-Pine Bluff was getting frustrated and was intent on playing as aggressively as possible for the remainder of the game. Among other things, there was a flagrant foul at the end of the first half. It’s standard procedure for a coach to start his regulars in the second half even if the score is 52-15, but McCaffery chose not to risk injuring Aaron White, Devyn Marble and Mike Gesell in a meaningless situation. None of them played after halftime.