After-thoughts from Iowa’s season-ending 77-71 overtime loss to Michigan:
--Even though this brought a very early end to Iowa’s season, there were encouraging signs for the Hawkeyes. Facing one of the Big Ten’s best 3-point shooting teams, they played some of their best 3-point defense of the season. Michigan’s three 3s (all by Duncan Robinson) matched the fewest by any opposing team against Iowa this season. The close-outs were better, the rotations were better, the energy was good. If Iowa’s offense had done what it typically does, the Hawkeyes would be playing Friday in the Big Ten quarterfinals.
--One reason the Hawkeyes likely struggled offensively down the stretch was the fact that Jordan Bohannon was hobbled by a bruised hip he suffered in the middle of the second half. Bohannon came back into the game pretty quickly, but Fran McCaffery said if the Hawkeyes were playing again Friday, Bohannon probably would not be able to play. The sophomore point guard finished 3 for 14 from the field although he did make a big 3 with 16 seconds remaining to send the game to overtime.
--One old problem reared its ugly head at the outset of the second half as Michigan scored 11 straight points with the Hawkeyes seemingly powerless to do anything to slow them down. It’s the 20th time this season an opponent scored 10 or more points in a row against them and 16 of those runs came when the Hawkeyes were ahead, tied or down by less than three points. Not surprisingly, 16 of those big runs occurred in Iowa’s losses.
--It looked as though the Hawkeyes may have gotten tired late in Thursday’s game, which would explain why the shots stopped falling. After taking a 69-67 lead in overtime, they missed the last eight shots they attempted and most of them appeared to be a little short. Considering they were playing their second game in less than 24 hours against a team that didn’t have to play Wednesday, it was totally understandable.
--After missing six games due to multiple concussions and seemingly being a forgotten man in the playing rotation, Ryan Kriener played some of his best basketball at the end of the season. He scored 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting Thursday after scoring 15 last week against Minnesota and making some big non-scoring contributions Wednesday against Illinois.
--Luka Garza had a modest 13 points and seven rebounds before fouling out but he also made a couple of 3-point field goals. He played extremely well for the Hawkeyes late in the season and with his work ethic, is only going to continue to get better and better. It’s going to be fun to watch his development.
--I’ve felt for some time that Michigan’s Mo Wagner is among the most overrated players in the Big Ten and nothing happened Thursday to change that opinion. He did score 11 points in 16 minutes, but he got into immediate foul trouble trying to defend Garza, Kriener and Tyler Cook. The junior center earned second-team All-Big Ten honors but he’s not even Michigan’s best player. Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, who also had a rough day Thursday, is the heart and soul of that team.