ESPN Article

iowaathletes

Scout Team
Jan 6, 2003
141
127
43

Why the Iowa Hawkeyes and Kentucky Wildcats fell short and everything else we learned on March Madness Thursday​


Part of it below. Link: https://www.espn.com/mens-college-b...verything-else-learned-march-madness-thursday

Before Kentucky fell, Big Ten tournament champ Iowa busted a lot of brackets with its loss to Richmond. From your perspective, why do the Hawkeyes keep failing to reach the second weekend? Can you give Iowa fans something to feel hopeful about?​

Medcalf: The Hawkeyes don't consistently guard anyone and that's why they ruined my -- our -- bracket once again. Fran McCaffery had some solid defensive teams in his early years in Iowa City. But he has had six consecutive seasons with finishes outside the top 75 in adjusted defensive efficiency on KenPom. That run includes three years in a row with a top-five finish in adjusted offensive efficiency. Those incredibly imbalanced teams can do great things in the regular season, but they often fail to meet expectations in the postseason. Sure, you have some teams that were great offensive teams and average defensive teams that have made runs. But you don't see many great offensive teams with terrible defensive metrics cutting down the nets. Richmond wasn't great offensively, but the Spiders had a few solid runs that changed the game and a strong finish to seal the win.

This year it was Richmond, which finished sixth in the Atlantic 10 standings. Last year, the Hawkeyes gave up 95 points in a double-digit loss to Oregon in the second round. They lost to Tennessee in overtime, 83-77, in the second round in 2019. Iowa continues to encourage these shootouts, but its defensive challenges create postseason challenges.

The positive for Iowa fans? I think a lot of elite transfers have watched Luka Garza win a Wooden Award (nearly two years in a row) and Keegan Murray become a lottery pick in McCaffery's offense and will believe they can do the same thing in that system. But those top talents couldn't overcome the program's defensive challenges to help Iowa reach the second weekend for the first time under McCaffery.

Borzello: It's easy to point to Iowa's generally poor defense as the reason the Hawkeyes continue to struggle in the early rounds of the NCAA tournament. And it's certainly true that their offense is always superior to their defense -- but it hasn't always been a fatal flaw. When they were bounced early in 2015 and 2016, they had defenses ranked in the top 35 at KenPom. This year, their defensive ranks were similar to last season -- but since Feb. 1, Iowa had a borderline top-50 defense nationally. Not elite, but certainly enough to get past Richmond. So there's some randomness and "March-ness" to the exits.

I mean, just look at last year: The Hawkeyes had to play an Oregon team that had lost two of its final 13 games and didn't even play a first-round game after VCU was forced to withdraw. It's also worth noting that Iowa had won one game in each of its past four NCAA tournaments, so it's not like the Hawkeyes suddenly become a different team in the Dance. So I guess those are some reasons for optimism moving forward. At the same time, going 1-2 in two NCAA tournaments with a Wooden Award winner and the second-best player in the country is pretty damning.

Gasaway: March will do whatever it wants every single time, and that's why this tournament is unparalleled spectator sport. Richmond held the Iowa offense to its third-least efficient outing of the entire season, and the other two were road games. The Hawkeyes recorded 29 3-point attempts and made six. Per sports-reference.com, the last time Iowa tried that many 3s and made six or fewer was in January 2020 at Nebraska (4-of-33). The last time before that was, well, we don't know. The database goes back to 2010-11, so we know only that the Hawkeyes have fared this poorly on this many attempts just twice in 12 years. One of those times happened to be in the NCAA tournament. March.

Lunardi: This edition of the Hawkeyes was fifth in the Big Ten in defensive efficiency according to KenPom. That seemed to go out the window as soon as Richmond connected on its first back cut, then another and another. The bad, old Iowa defense was back, lacking floor balance and even basic awareness on inbounds plays. And the Spiders might not be done, as their pending matchup with Providence seems fairly even. As for Iowa fans, what you see is what you get. On a continuous loop.
 

Slim45

HR MVP
Nov 30, 2019
1,411
2,482
113
It didn't have to be this way. They seemingly just went 12 games without those kinds of defensive lapses. The team didn't prepare for Richmond. Wonder why?
Didn’t have to be that way last year either. Or any of the other 4 times we’ve made tourney under Fran. Same story, different year.
FTR, i think Fran is a good coach, has a good eye for talent and is starting to get some solid recruits signed. But for whatever reason he just can’t get it done come tourney time.
 

LetsGoHawks83

HR Legend
Mar 20, 2015
15,413
13,974
113
seems to be a ncaa tourney trend for Fran’s Iowa teams. Lunardi is dead on, good offense but lousy defense catches up to you in the tourney.

Defense and rebounding we're much better the last month.

Sure seems like SOME players were satisfied with the B1G tournament championship. Became complacent. I didn't see the same fire and focus that they had last weekend.

Thought they could just roll out the ball and beat Richmond. Not the 1st or last major conference team to do this too.
 

OutbackBowl2017

HR Heisman
Dec 4, 2016
8,469
12,350
113
seems to be a ncaa tourney trend for Fran’s Iowa teams. Lunardi is dead on, good offense but lousy defense catches up to you in the tourney.
Add in terrible guard play on both ends. Can’t give up so many points on one end and not score or create assist opportunities on the other end. Very frustrating to see this occur over and over again. Add in, why does it seem we have to always have one, if not two McCafrrey’s always on the court? One is a defensive liability and the other is an offensive liability? I’ll get beaten up for the last part of the post but it is what it is. SOS, DD.
 

Bulldogs1974

HR Heisman
Oct 16, 2012
9,948
9,351
113
It didn't have to be this way. They seemingly just went 12 games without those kinds of defensive lapses. The team didn't prepare for Richmond. Wonder why?
When you shoot real well the other teams tend to press, makes them shoot worse. Our defense may have been a bit of a mirage.
we tend to have players that believe their offense is more important then their defense. That’s the reason we have players with 1 rebound and 1 foul in games with 20+ minutes. That’s a philosophy problem. Until you fix that, you will be that team that lacks success when it matters in March.
 

LarryMullenJr.

HR Heisman
Dec 7, 2011
7,370
9,879
113
63 points, while almost crappy for our offense should be enough to beat Richmond.
I had a coach who taught us that if you hold them to zero, you only need to score 1. We played poor defense. Yes, we shot horribly but stop them and it doesn’t matter.
 
  • Like
Reactions: HawkRCID

HawkeyeGenius

HR All-American
Gold Member
Nov 25, 2021
3,530
4,589
113
The record with a Luka and Keegan is criminal. I'd have some hope if Keegan said he's coming back. I highly doubt it though.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Pepperman

Bozo2020

Scout Team
Oct 25, 2020
93
122
33
Didn’t think the D was that bad yesterday (aside of 2-3 mind numbing out of bounds plays that resulted in layups for Richmond), but going 6-29 from 3 will seal just about any team’s fate.
Sandfort, both Murrays, Connor, Perkins all 0-fored from 3. They’re all capable/good shooters.
Stinks it came at the worst possible time.
 

Slim45

HR MVP
Nov 30, 2019
1,411
2,482
113
Didn’t think the D was that bad yesterday (aside of 2-3 mind numbing out of bounds plays that resulted in layups for Richmond), but going 6-29 from 3 will seal just about any team’s fate.
Sandfort, both Murrays, Connor, Perkins all 0-fored from 3. They’re all capable/good shooters.
Stinks it came at the worst possible time.
They didn’t give up a lot of points…but their d was not good by any stretch of the imagination. Richmond missed sooooo many easy shots around the rim. Their pg made us look foolish time and again on backdoor passes and drive n dishes. Not to mention the 21 pts he scored. I assumed joe and ulis would get a lot of minutes guarding that pg but instead we rolled with jbo for 33 minutes and he got abused. On to next year, maybe Dasonte Bowen will finally be the guard to get us over the top 🙏
 

SDHawkDoc

HR Heisman
Jan 27, 2013
8,609
8,705
113
Fair comments. Maybe some minor quibbles, but no significant qualms.

Bottom line, Fran's NCAA tourney performance at Iowa is bad. I was holding out some hope that this year might be a turnaround from that, but unfortunately their play pushed deeper into that trend rather than in the desired direction.
 

CookyMonster

HR All-American
Nov 27, 2018
3,063
4,007
113
Why why why do you guys follow/care what these people say? I still dont understand. You have 500 posters here who have a better insight.
 

HawkRCID

HR All-American
Nov 7, 2018
3,789
6,868
113
Didn’t think the D was that bad yesterday (aside of 2-3 mind numbing out of bounds plays that resulted in layups for Richmond), but going 6-29 from 3 will seal just about any team’s fate.
Sandfort, both Murrays, Connor, Perkins all 0-fored from 3. They’re all capable/good shooters.
Stinks it came at the worst possible time.
It ALWAYS comes at the worst possible time…..Fran’s teams failures in the tournament are well documented at this point. Let’s not act like this is a one time fluke…
 
  • Like
Reactions: SDHawkDoc

Legs94

All-Conference
Apr 28, 2020
422
991
93
Big Ten Champions.

Get a life
Big Ten tournament was fun, but in the grand scheme of everything, doesn’t mean that much. Probably another raise and extension for Fran I guess. At least we got to experience a little joy before having our hearts ripped out once again .
 
  • Like
Reactions: dekhawk

HawkLogic

HR Legend
Feb 20, 2011
13,499
9,368
113
My first reaction is damn those Haters, but 12 years of ncaa tourney futility does give me pause.


Yeah, 6/29 from 3 you are going to lose unless you have an elite defense or can quit jacking 3's, go 4 for 19 instead and feed the post and hope to grind it out.

I would say the starting lineupthat Fran uses.....Rebraca, Keegan, PMAC, Perkins, JBO....only two of those guys are plus defenders.

PMAC made some shots, so he made up for his normal poor defense/lack of rebounding. Yes, he was the only one making 3pt shots at all. PMAC definitely wants to win, high character, goes all out when he is on offense. Problem is he is too lanky/slow to defend the 3 and he is too soft/afraid of contact to guard the PF. He is an offensive player without a defensive position that he can play.


Rebraca doesn't have any offense and is undersized defending the post. JBO is the other problem...and taking his offense away is pretty easy, which just leaves you with a minus defender.

Another flawed team + tough matchup + some bad luck.
 

IllQChawk

HR All-American
May 29, 2001
4,009
2,565
113
Iowa had deficiencies that we all knew of. Guards that were too short or that were inconsistent in their offensive, No rim protector in the middle that kept teams from getting easy layups. Yes, Iowa's defense was better when certain players were on the court, but Iowa still had players that didn't provide the necessary lock down defense it needed when the offense sputtered.

Fran's insistence in playing certain players doomed Iowa in the end. As good as Jordan has been over his long career at Iowa, in games that he didn't provide enough offensive to offset his lack of height or quickness he was a liability on the floor. Six points yesterday in 33 minutes says it all.
Same with Connor. Loved his toughness and his basketball IQ, but it again couldn't offset his lack of confidence in his offensive. 0 points in 23 minutes, enough said.
Kris Murray brother of Keegan athletic and Iowa's 4th leading scorer is limited to 16 minutes with only 2 fouls and Ulis didn't even play a minute in the game, both of these players are more athletic then Jordan and Connor but played less minutes because Fran trusted his seniors. Good call!
Joe T played 13 minutes and again his inability to make a jump shot consistently even after being in the program for 3 years, 1 assist and no steals is glaring in a game when those attributes are his only reason he gets playing time and most on here complain only about Jordan and Connor.

About Filip Rebraca, Fran recruited him off the portal to fill the void left when Luka Garza graduated and over the season he's turned into a warrior and his toughness is one of his attributes but he's not a center in the Big Ten at 6-9 and if he's going to hang around the program for another year he needs to improve his offense or at the very least become more confident in his offense. I would like to see him moved to the forward position backing up either Murrays or Patrick and occasionally the center position behind Riley Mulvey.

If Mulvey can establish himself as the starting center over the summer his athleticism and skills will make him and the team better as his 7 foot plus height will provide Iowa that much needed defensive player in the middle.

As for Josh Ogundele, he has until the start of next season to lose weight and show that he's a better player then Riley Mulvey. His offensive skills lack behind Riley's and he has to improve his quickness and jumping ability if he's wants to be Iowa's starting center which coincides with losing weight and keeping it off. Hope he can achieve those goals because he has shown that he has some skills and with hard work, Iowa could use 2 centers with bulk, height, and quickness. Iowa can't go another year with a 6-9 center that provides no defensive accountability.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: 23 so far

Bozo2020

Scout Team
Oct 25, 2020
93
122
33
They didn’t give up a lot of points…but their d was not good by any stretch of the imagination. Richmond missed sooooo many easy shots around the rim. Their pg made us look foolish time and again on backdoor passes and drive n dishes. Not to mention the 21 pts he scored. I assumed joe and ulis would get a lot of minutes guarding that pg but instead we rolled with jbo for 33 minutes and he got abused. On to next year, maybe Dasonte Bowen will finally be the guard to get us over the top 🙏
I agree - they did miss a ton around the rim, but so did we. Aside of the inbounds plays, I do recall screaming at my tv to stop giving up the baseline. Seemed like on a few occasions late in the game Iowa defenders shaded toward the baseline expecting help, but it either didn’t come or was late or fouled. I doubt it was intentional, seeing as we don’t really have a rim protector.
Either case- it sucks and I am sad.
 

Ronman

HR Heisman
Jan 4, 2004
9,478
7,976
113
Planet Iowa
I would argue it wasn't our defense, although it wasn't any better than usual, but we've won plenty of games giving up 67 points or more. For once, it was our offense that flamed out at the worst possible time.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 23 so far

djwoody

HR Heisman
Sep 30, 2001
9,869
758
113
Iowa
We need more athletic guards, especially at point who can get after it on both ends of the court. I like Perkins, if he can improve his outside shooting, he can be a really good player. I’m guessing one of the PG’s will leave, leaning Ulis since he was barely used down the stretch.
 

kceasthawk

HR Legend
Nov 5, 2016
11,482
12,875
113
The record with a Luka and Keegan is criminal. I'd have some hope if Keegan said he's coming back. I highly doubt it though.
To be 100% honest neither he or Kris were part of the solution yesterday either and thats concerning. Keegan became passive offensively after the first several misses. He also was one of the Hawks in the lane when they scored THREE times on layups on in bounds plays. Thats not the way he played the last 2 months. Kris couldn't throw it in the ocean yesterday. As bad as we got hammered by Oregon last year, you sure can't say our star, (Luka) didn't show up in that one. Unfortunately our guard play was poor in both games.......
 
Feb 25, 2008
51,510
24,157
113
We picked a bad time to have a bad game. There's nothing else to it.
No no no.

It was clearly due to one out of dozens of advanced metrics that has a whole season's worth of data to take things out of context that says we're bad at that one thing. That's why we lost...................because of an advanced metric, and nothing else.

Just ask all the "That Stats Guy" f***ing morons that keep citing defensive efficiency ratings and pretend that nobody actually watched the f***ing game.

They'll tell you what's what......
 

Latest posts