Big Ten Geeks: A Puzzling Season Ends for Iowa

In a fitting end to a frustrating season, Iowa lost yet another close game to a good team, this time to Tennessee in overtime.

This one was a microcosm of the season, as the Hawkeyes started off great before things fell apart down the stretch. Iowa pushed the lead to double digits multiple times in the first half, thanks largely to some ice cold shooting by the Volunteers, who went 1-for-10 from three before the break. Unfortunately, the Hawkeyes didn’t shoot all that much better, so a late Tennessee run cut the halftime deficit to a mere three points.

After intermission, Iowa mostly kept the Volunteers at arm’s length. It was a team effort for the Hawkeyes, as Roy Devyn Marble struggled to make an impact. Adam Woodbury took advantage of Tennessee’s shorter frontline on his way to a career-high 16 points, and it appeared as though Iowa might advance.

Down the stretch, the Hawkeyes’ defense failed them, as the Volunteers used steady trips to foul line, along with an Antonio Barton three, to take their first lead of the game with just over three minutes remaining. Iowa would respond – in literally eight seconds, Marble retook the lead with a old-fashioned three-point play – but Tennessee made enough plays over the final three minutes to force overtime. To make matters worse, Marble went down awkwardly on the final defensive stand of regulation, and he was not on the court to start the extra period.

At that point, things got ugly. The Hawkeyes couldn’t make anything in overtime and were outscored 14-1, largely thanks to some unreal free throw accuracy by the Volunteers. It was a rough way for the season to end, and it was emblematic of the missed opportunities that plagued Iowa’s once-promising season.

It’s not clear where the Hawkeyes go from here. This was supposed to be a banner year, one in which simply making the NCAA tournament wasn’t enough. Iowa returned much of the team that finished last season ranked 25th in KenPom, and this year’s edition will actually finish slightly worse (the Hawkeyes are currently 31st).

The program will move now forward without Marble, Melsahn Basabe, and Zach McCabe, a trio that played 31 percent of the team’s minutes. Typically, losing that much of your rotation predicts a drop in quality, unless offset by a large number of freshman-to-sophomore minutes or a great recruiting class. Iowa has neither of those things, so it’s reasonable to expect the team to be a little worse in 2014-15.

This was supposed to be the year for the Hawkeyes, and it just wasn’t. 

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Show Comments (6 Comments)
6 Post Your Comment
Tim on 3/20/2014 @ 1:57pm EDT Said:

I have been a diehard Hawkeye for the better part of 30 years. In my opinion this team lacked toughness and a desire to win. Coach McCaffery voiced the aspect of toughness numerous times. This team lacked senior leadership. You need to do more then just perform on the floor. And it appeared that this team didn’t have that spark the Eric May provided last year. He wanted to win and not let his team lose. This team still has a lot of talent for next year to make a splash. Add a lot of heart and desire to the mix and you will be amazed at how good they can be!

Willie Erves on 3/20/2014 @ 3:03pm EDT Said:

Who cares glad they lost

Bob on 3/20/2014 @ 3:43pm EDT Said:

Willie no one cares what you think either. What a poor attitude! Good riddance to you! If you were a real Hawkeye fan you can be disappointed but your statement shows a lack of class so you don’t fit in anyway!

Tim on 3/20/2014 @ 5:02pm EDT Said:

Bob-well said! True Hawkeye Fans have endured this type of season on the basketball court and the football field for years. What makes true Hawkeye Fans is their ability to put it behind them and shoot for the moon the next season!!! It’s Great to be a Hawkeye!!! Thoughts and prayers to the McCaffery Family!!!

Doug on 3/21/2014 @ 10:45am EDT Said:

It seems like Fran really hurts the cause for Iowa. He is always on the edge of blowing up and losing his mind. He almost got a T on the Tennesse time out call and probably would have if he wasn’t pushed away by his players and coaches. He needs some big time therapy to get over this. It is embarrassing and hurts the team.

lefty on 3/21/2014 @ 4:59pm EDT Said:

Who cares what you think DOUG. Just worry about yourself.

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