After-thoughts from Iowa’s 85-67 victory over Wisconsin:
--This was maybe the Hawkeyes’ most complete effort for 40 minutes, especially on defense, and you can’t help but wonder if it’s because they didn’t change defenses quite as frequently as they often do. They mixed in a press here and there and went zone a few times for very short stretches, but for the most part they just played tough, hard-nosed man-to-man defense. Of course, it’s one of the few games they’ve had recently where they had an edge in quickness and athleticism over the opposing team, which makes it easier to play man-to-man.
--This victory can’t help but boost the confidence of a team that really looked like it could use one in the two games it played last week. It’s a good time for the Hawkeyes to get on a roll because the next three games (at Nebraska, at home against Minnesota and at Penn State) appear to be winnable. After that, the Hawkeyes have a stretch in which they play three consecutive ranked teams (Michigan State, Ohio State and Michigan) with two of those games being on the road.
--It didn’t seem like the Hawkeyes shot the ball that well, but they ended up at 51.6 percent for the game. It helps that they made 25 of 42 2-point attempts. They were only 6 for 18 from 3 with Jordan Bohannon and Nicholas Baer each going 1 for 6.
--We already knew this, but Iowa is a completely different team when Isaiah Moss is fully focused and involved. He was that way Tuesday, scoring 15 points and having one of the best defensive games of his career. He had three steals and played a major role in limiting Wisconsin’s perimeter offense. The Badgers’ two starting guards were a combined 4 for 14 from the field.
--If Iowa fans weren’t already enthused about the future of freshman Luka Garza, they have to be now. He went up against one of the top post men in the entire country in Ethan Happ and pretty much outplayed him. Garza not only finished with 17 points and a career-high 16 rebounds, but he did a very good defensive job on Happ, who only got half of his eight field goals while Garza was in the game. Garza studied tons of video of Happ and as a result, often beat him to the places he was going. It’s the kind of thing you expect from seniors, not freshmen.
--Iowa’s other freshman big man, Jack Nunge, hasn’t had many good moments lately and he played only two minutes Tuesday, but he did have one very nifty play. He pump-faked Happ into the air, then blew past him for a layup in the first half.
--Bohannon didn’t shoot as well from 3-point range as he has lately, but he extended his consecutive free throw streak to 24, handed out a season-high 11 assists and also played better defense than he has in most games.
--Is there a poster jinx on the Iowa team? There is a program for every game that includes a 14x18-inch poster on the backside of a different Hawkeye player for each game. For Saturday’s game against Purdue, it was center Ryan Kriener, who missed the game with a concussion. On Tuesday, it was Brady Ellingson, who also missed the game due to a concussion suffered Monday in practice. Who is scheduled to be the poster boy for next Tuesday’s game against Minnesota may want to start playing with a helmet.
--Wisconsin’s Khalil Iverson scored 17 points against the Hawkeyes but he was 0 for 3 from 3-point range, and you kind of wonder if head coach Greg Gard may start telling him not to shoot any more long ones. Iverson is 0 for 18 from long range for the season.