After-thoughts from Iowa’s 91-60 victory over Southern University:
--While it was great that the Hawkeyes broke through and got their first victory in 18 days, you need to consider the level of competition they were facing. Southern is from the same conference (the SWAC) as two of Iowa’s previous victims, Alabama State and Grambling State, and was of a similar talent level. The Jaguars may have rebounded a little better than those other two teams but they shot very poorly and had only four assists in the game. In a horrible bit of scheduling, they played a game in Orlando, Florida, on Saturday afternoon and appeared to be pretty travel-weary in the second half.
--Luka Garza was more impressive Sunday than in any of the previous 10 games he has played with the Hawkeyes. During some stretches, he seemed to get every rebound and he shot the ball much better than he has in previous games, finishing with 23 points and 13 rebounds. He also made eight of 10 free throws after shooting 41 percent at the line previously. The next step for the 6-foot-11 freshman is to do this against big-time opponents. He has shown he can dominate SWAC teams and other mid-majors, but he’s been much, much less effective against power-5 opponents. He is averaging 15.4 points and 9.4 rebounds in the Hawkeyes’ five wins, 3.7 and 4.8 in their six losses. His freshman sidekick, Jack Nunge, has comparable numbers regardless of the competition. He’s at 8.8/4.2 in the wins, 9.5/4.2 in the losses.
--When Tyler Cook hammered down a dunk with just under 14 minutes to go in the game, some of the frustration of the past few weeks oozed out. Cook was given a technical foul for taunting. Since the score was 61-41 at the time, it wasn’t really a big deal. Iowa coach Fran McCaffery seemed more upset that it gave Cook his fourth foul.
--Connor McCaffery played pretty well in his first regular-season action, especially when you consider that he still is recovering from a bout with mono. McCaffery may never be a spectacular player but even in his weakened state, he was very efficient and a capable facilitator. In 17 minutes on the court, he made the only field goal he attempted, made the only two free throws he took, grabbed three rebounds and handed out four assists.
--The most encouraging statistic of the day: The Hawkeyes committed only seven turnovers and only one of those came in the last 21 ½ minutes. While Iowa State and Virginia Tech feasted on ill-advised passes and sloppy ballhandling by the Hawkeyes, there were only four live-ball turnovers Sunday. The other three turnovers came on offensive fouls.
--Maybe Ryan Kriener needs to begin wearing a face-mark or goggles or something. For the second time in eight days, the sophomore center took a shot to the face. He went through concussion protocol after being whacked against Penn State and had to leave the game Sunday after being hit in the eye.