After-thoughts from Iowa’s 75-68 loss to Michigan:
--The Hawkeyes’ Tyler Cook exposed one major weakness for the Wolverines: Their big men are not good at defending against smaller, quicker post players. Cook continually riddled Mo Wagner and Jon Teske with drives to the hoop and forced the Wolverines to defend him with smaller players. He finished just one point short of his career high in scoring, finishing with 28 points on 10-for-15 shooting from the field.
--Cook’s effectiveness almost ended up being a detriment at times. The Hawkeyes focused too much on funneling the ball inside to him, leaving everyone else standing around watching him operate. That probably stagnated their offense as much as anything Michigan did defensively.
--The oddest postgame comment came from sophomore Cordell Pemsl, who said he thought the Hawkeyes were “overconfident’’ because they had a five-game winning streak coming in. They apparently didn’t know that Michigan also had won five in a row and had a much better overall record. There’s no way Iowa should have been overconfident.
--We’ve thought for some time that Michigan guard Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman was among the most underrated players in the Big Ten and that was evident again Tuesday. The 6-foot-4 senior is second in the league in minutes played and although he doesn’t always put up big stats — he is Michigan’s third-leading scorer — he makes winning plays. He scored seven of his 15 points Tuesday in the final run that finished off the Hawkeyes.
--Michigan is only ninth in the Big Ten in 3-point percentage defense but the Wolverines do a great job of chasing opposing teams off the 3-point line and limiting their opportunities from behind the arc. Iowa got off only 15 3-pointers Tuesday. For the season, Michigan has allowed fewer 3-point tries than any team in the Big Ten other than Wisconsin.
--Jack Nunge started for the eighth straight game Tuesday but played only eight minutes in the first half and 8.9 seconds in the second half. Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said Nunge got down on himself after missing two early 3-point field goals and allowed it to affect his play at both ends of the court. It would not be surprising to see McCaffery go back to fellow freshman Luka Garza in the starting lineup Thursday against Ohio State.
--Continuing their season-long trend, the Hawkeyes had much more trouble containing small, quick guards than Michigan’s post players. Center Mo Wagner and forward Duncan Robinson, both double-figures scorers for the season, combined for only nine points while reserve guard Zavier Simpson matched a career high with 15.
--The announced crowd of 11,363 was nearly as lackluster as the Hawkeyes’ performance. Admittedly, the students are on break and the weather outside was frigid, but even those who did brave the conditions to get there didn’t make much noise. It didn’t help that the Hawkeyes had the lead for only 4 minutes, 12 seconds in the entire game.
--In the latter stages of the second half, McCaffery tried using a lineup with five players all 6-foot-7 or taller. Maishe Dailey played point guard with Nicholas Baer at shooting guard and Ahmad Wagner, Cordell Pemsl and Cook upfront.