After-thoughts from Iowa’s 74-59 loss to Michigan:
--Not surprisingly, Iowa coach Fran McCaffery returned Jack Nunge to the starting lineup Wednesday after the 6-foot-11 freshman had perhaps the best game of his career Saturday against Ohio State. Nunge looked nervous early, turned it over several times, missed all four shots he took and didn’t get many opportunities after that. He played only 12 minutes in the game, just four in the second half. Chances are, he still will be a starter again Saturday when Indiana comes to Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Nunge played very well in an earlier game against the Hoosiers.
--While McCaffery likes to change defenses frequently during games, his teams always start out playing man to man. In 693 previous games as a college head coach, he never had diverted from that. Until Wednesday. The Hawkeyes began in a zone and used it extensively throughout the game. With Nunge playing small forward, they really aren’t equipped to match up man-to-man with a team as quick as Michigan. McCaffery said the zone was only OK Wednesday, admitting that any time your team gives up 12 3-point field goals it really couldn’t have been that good.
--The Hawkeyes are now 1-9 in true road games, 1-7 in the Big Ten, and most of them have followed a similar scenario to Wednesday, with them digging a big hole early. In their eight conference road games, they have trailed at halftime by margins of 15, 4, 13, 14, 14, 19, 10 and 13 points.
--Michigan did a nice job of putting the clamps on Iowa’s two big guns and forcing other players to try to beat them. Jordan Bohannon got off only five shots (he made three) and did not get to the free throw line for the fourth consecutive game. Tyler Cook was bracketed by two defenders almost every time down the court and although he got off nine shots, several of them were further from the basket than normal. He even attempted a 3-point field goal for the first time in more than a month.
--Freshman Luka Garza played very hard and scored 22 points, a career high for a Big Ten game, but he benefitted greatly from all the attention the Wolverines gave to Cook. He got tons of open looks in the 10 to 15-foot range and took advantage of them.
--After starting Saturday against Ohio State, junior Ahmad Wagner did not play at all Wednesday in what apparently is only the second game he has missed in his career when he was healthy. Wagner did not play in a road game at Iowa State in his freshman season, then played in every game a year ago. He missed two games earlier this season — against UAB and Colorado — when he was nursing injuries, but his playing time has declined considerably lately. He has played just 57 minutes in the past 10 games.