Iowa Basketball: The Almost Cancun Challenge Champions

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Iowa Basketball: The Almost Cancun Challenge Champions
Tommy Giglio-US PRESSWIRE

Well that was fun.

You know, if you find being completely dominated inside of 15-feet of the rim (both on offense and defense), being out coached, out hustled, out shot and out rebounded, fun.

There are so many anti-Iowa Basketball thoughts running through my head (thanks a lot Kirk) after watching Wednesday's 73-63 loss to Wichita State in the championship game of the Cancun Challenge, that I don't even know what do with myself.

No assortment of enraged emoji-texts with some of my closest Iowa brethren could help at this point; so forgive me if this comes off a little, well, ranty, but this type of game isn't supposed to happen under Fran McCaffery. Todd Lickliter, sure. Hell, most Iowa fans would have considered this a great effort during his brief stint as Iowa's head basketball coach, but not under White Magic.

How bad are we talking here?

Lets quickly break down the Box Score.

 

The Good:

1. The Hawkeyes shot 72.2 percent combined from the free throw line and beyond the arc (79.5 percent from the charity stripe and 53.3 percent from three respectfully). 

2. They assisted on 58.3 percent of the field goals made.

3. The bench ended the game having provided 55.5 percent of Iowa's total offense; scoring 35 of the teams 63 points.

4. Iowa finished the first half 7-8 from down town.

 

The Bad:

1.The Hawkeyes were terrible shooting from everywhere else on the court. Coach Fran McCaffery's team converted only four two-point field goals for the ENTIRE GAME. Think about that for a minute. Iowa scored a single two-point field goal every 10 minutes on average. Good for a glorious 12.9 percent conversion rate.

2. Iowa only made 12 shots for the entire contest.

3. Christopher Rickert and Anthony Clemmons outscored Mike Gesell, Adam Woodbury and Zach McCabe. Rickert is a walk on. Gessell, Woodbury and McCabe are all on scholarship as well as starters. 

4. Unfortunately, Iowa was only 1-6 from three point range in the second half.

Shall we keep going?

Yes?

5. Wichita State scored 30 points in the paint. Iowa scored six.

6. Shocker big man, Ehimen Orukpe, finished the game with five blocks, eight boards and a steal. Iowa finished with five blocks total. 

7. Wichita State grabbed 14 offensive rebounds.

8. Iowa's out of conference resume just got weaker.

Repulsive? Loathsome? Appalling? All of the above?

I apologize if I swayed some of you into a somber mood. But hey, at least it's Thanksgiving on Thursday, my angry Pilgrim.

Bar none, Iowa didn't look like they came to play in that championship game.

As a whole, it doesn't seem unfair to categorize the team as timid, frail, scared, in over their heads and looking as if they had a few too many pina coladas by the hotel pool.

The Hawkeyes didn't quite resemble a team on Wednesday night. Instead, they looked like a bunch of individuals who watched the Grinnell offensive game tapes and wanted to try their hand at scoring 138 points. 

Outside of Aaron White (14 points, 11 of which came from 12 free throw attempts), a Josh Oglesby three sighting (4-8 from down town) and, I can't believe I'm saying this, Eric May, the rest of the team did a whole lot of watching, chucking, trembling and fouling.

But what concerns me the most, was the play of Woodbury.

You could tell early on that it wasn't going to be Woodbury's night. He was being overpowered in the post, he made more fowl looking faces than buckets and grabbed more bench than rebounds.

It was getting so comical that with 10 minutes left in the first half, I texted a buddy of mine and asked him if he would like to play a game. He acknowledged that he would and I asked him the following question, "Guess Adam Woodbury's line".

His response: "It's not good because I keep saying to myself, 'I don't like what I see.'"

In case those of you at home were curious, he had a whopping one field goal attempt (he missed), zero rebounds, one assist, one block and one foul. He finished the game with three field goal attempts (he missed them all), one rebound (offensive), one block, three fouls and one point (he hit one of his three free throw attempts). All of that in 17 minutes of play.

Yes, Woodbury is a freshman and he has a lot of work ahead of him (strength being the most important of them all), but that does not warrant a  7-footer being forced off the block possession after possession after possession. It does not warrant a 7-footer being blocked on a fade away hook shot. It does not warrant letting post entry passes being tipped away by a defender because that individual is too lazy to pin his man behind his giant hip. It does not warrant a 7-footer grabbing one rebound.

One rebound for a 7-footer in 17 minutes of play. Jamal Crawford is averaging twice that for the Clippers and Jamal Crawford doesn't focus on anything other than shooting.

I'm sorry to continue to harp on this but that's just not the valiant effort a 4-star recruit is supposed to give you in a championship game. Cancun Challenge or Big Ten Tournament, Iowa needs more than that.

There was one point in the second half that Woodbury got his shot blocked, ran down the floor and almost immediately fouled his man after receiving the pass on the block. Then on the very next offensive possession, the 7-footer got pushed out of his positioning down low during a play that looked like a post-isolation for the center to take a high percentage shot close to the rim. Instead, he kicked it out and Iowa missed another jumper.

But the worst play of them all was when Iowa was down six points late in the second half and Wichita State was forced to take a terrible jumper. It clanked off the side of the rim but instead of grabbing the rebound with two hands, Woodbury tipped it into the air and towards out of bounds. A Wichita State player flipped it to a teammate, who then hit an open cutter and the Shockers converted an easy lay-in. 

If Woodbury grabbed that rebound (which would have given him TWO on the night!) who knows what might have happened. Wichita State was in the bonus and Iowa was on the attack.

But living in the past is never a fun place to be, and luckily for Woodbury and Iowa alike, they have a week off to correct all the problems that reared their ugly faces during this lackadaisical performance before taking on Virginia Tech on Nov. 27.

We'll see the true make up of this young team (as well as Woodbury) with how they handle coming back from such a pitiful performance in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge next week. I would hate to say it is a must win this early in the season, but with Iowa's out of conference schedule and the current state of the Big Ten, it almost stacks up that way. 

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