The Iowa men’s basketball team has been living on the edge the past three games with exciting comebacks and final-second shots.
While that makes for great viewing, it also masks the problems the Hawkeyes have had offensively in the opening half of games in each of Iowa’s three heart-stopping finishes.
So what’s been ailing the team in the opening 20 minutes of play?
“I mean I’m not too concerned about it. I know what we’re capable of doing and we’ve done it,” Jordan Bohannon said.
The trend isn’t as problematic as the lack of consistent reasons behind the slow starts.
Against Northwestern it was rebounding. At Rutgers it was three-point misses.
“I don’t think we’ve been playing bad basketball at all,” Iowa junior forward Tyler Cook said. “We haven’t been playing as great as we can, but you know basketball is funny that way. Sometimes things go your way and sometimes they don’t.”
And against Maryland first-half turnovers hindered the offense.
“We only had six in the second half. Eight in the first half,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said. “That’s probably a little bit too high. You can survive six.”
Of course the silver lining is that the Hawkeyes still pulled out wins in two of the three contests. Iowa senior forward Nicholas Baer says connecting on open looks is the key going forward.”
“Love having Jordan be aggressive, we want Joe to be aggressive, all our guys to be aggresssive and play with confidence,” Baer said. “I don’t think there’s one particular reason or one particular thing I’d point at, but I have confidence that those shots will fall.”
If they do, the victories might come with a little less drama for the Hawks.
“I don’t think we’ve been playing bad basketball at all,” said junior forward Tyler Cook. “We haven’t been playing as great as we can, but you know basketball is funny that way. Sometimes things go your way and sometimes they don’t.”
Nonetheless, Iowa’s first-half struggles varied from turnover issues, to missed shots, to being outrebounded. The silver lining, however, is that the Hawkeyes were able to overcome those issues in their games against Northwestern and Rutgers.
With a recent loss to Maryland in similar fashion, the Hawkeyes will hope for a strong start against the Indiana Hoosiers tonight.