Instant Reaction: Michigan 74, Iowa 53

The Iowa Hawkeyes (22-11) found themselves on the wrong end of a blowout Friday night, falling to the Michigan Wolverines (27-5), 74-53, in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament at the United Center in Chicago. Some initial thoughts on the loss:

  • Any momentum the Hawkeyes had after Thursday night’s victory over Illinois came to a screeching halt in this one. Iowa is probably now destined for an 8/9 game when the NCAA Tournament starts next week.
  • The outcome of this game was really not for a lack of effort or a result of tired legs. It came down to who made shots—Michigan did, Iowa didn’t. The Hawkeyes managed one three-pointer (a bank in with a minute left in the game) while the Wolverines made 10. Iowa shot 35.6% from the field, Michigan shot 45.2%. It doesn’t matter who you are, but it’s especially true in Iowa’s case—if the shots aren’t falling, you’re generally not going to win.
  • That said, give credit to Michigan for playing much more tenacious defense than what the Hawkeyes saw from Illinois. Iowa assisted on just 10 made field goals Friday night, a stark contrast to their 26 a night earlier. The Wolverines were all over the place on defense, minimizing passing lanes and making the Hawkeyes uncomfortable whenever possible.
  • Jordan Bohannon’s struggles to create his own shots stuck out like a sore thumb in this game. He was held scoreless on just two field goal attempts, mostly due to the aforementioned in-your-face defense played by Michigan. If Bohannon is going to become a consistent go-to scorer, he needs to either figure out how to create off the dribble or move more fluidly away from the ball in order to put himself in a position for a quick catch and release.
  • Iowa’s Big Ten Tournament semifinal drought now stands at 13 years. Yikes.

Top photo: Reese Strickland/USA Today sports

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