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Making the grade: Iowa basketball

Dec 07, 2017

By Jeremiah Davis, The Gazette


Finals week is fast approaching, and if the Iowa men’s basketball team took home the grades it’s about to get in this week’s entry, academic probation might be on the table. There have been worse stretches of Hawkeye basketball in the past, but only led by a guy named Todd.

Each week of the season, we’ll break down the Hawkeyes’ offensive and defensive performance and give them grades, as well as highlight each player who contributed significantly and his individual performance. This week’s Iowa Hoops: Making the Grade highlights Game 8 and 9 against Penn State and Indiana.


Iowa vs Penn State, L, 77-73

Iowa at Indiana, L, 77-64


Grade: D-

Why: This grade originally was an F, but the Hawkeyes can’t be completely panned for their offensive week, considering they did have a real chance to win against Penn State. That said, one of the biggest reasons Iowa was down in that game to begin with and why it couldn’t get over the hump were mistakes made on offense.

The Hawkeyes made poor, lazy decisions in both games. They didn’t value the ball. The motion offense only really worked in short spurts in a couple moments across both games. The difference between the first six minutes of the second half at Indiana and the rest of that game offensively was an ocean.

Before that stretch, the Iowa offense looked more like a YMCA pickup game than motion they’d practiced. Seemingly every possession, guys weren’t where they needed to be, Jordan Bohannon had to wait to get the ball moving and then when it did move, the defense was already set. Bohannon and several others were trying to do too much at once. When Maishe Dailey was running the point, the offense flowed and that unit ran the offense — which resulted in an 11-0 run and Iowa getting to within one. Dailey didn’t do anything special other than take what the defense gave him, but had his teammates moving without the ball to get open.

This isn’t all on Bohannon. You try running the zigzag drill full court for 35 minutes and see if you can stand, let alone run an offense or shoot effectively from 22 feet. This group is plenty capable of being effective in their actions and their motion, but it seems like they each want to get all they can when they can whenever they touch the ball, and as a result, everything is haywire. Not even transition can work without mistakes.

Turnovers have been a plague upon the house, and getting sped up or trying too hard has been the biggest cause.


Grade: C-

Why: If this was based on the start to the Penn State game, then this grade would be an F-. Or like a G or H or M. Something really, really bad. But because Iowa shored up during that game and started the Indiana game pretty well — both halves of that game, actually — this is the grade.

The start to the Penn State game was bizarre. The Hawkeyes looked subdued, with no real energy on defense. The Nittany Lions got open shots against man-to-man and zone, and while they were admittedly on fire shooting-wise, that was in no small part to do with the fact that Iowa wasn’t closing out or rotating properly.

It wasn’t much better against Indiana. The Hawkeyes tried to run more zone on Monday because the Hoosiers aren’t a great shooting team, but the guys in red repeatedly got behind the zone and either got wide open — not just open, but, five feet of room open — outside or bad switches led to uncontested dunks.

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