Lackluster. Embarrassing. Rock bottom.
For anyone looking to describe the performance of the Iowa basketball team in Thursday night’s Big Ten Tournament opener against Northwestern, those are just a few of the things that come to mind.
To all of the Hawkeye supporters out there who thought that things couldn’t possibly get any worse following a late season tailspin, you were wrong.
If there was a more despicable loss that Iowa could have suffered at this point in the season I can’t possibly imagine it. So I guess, Iowa fans, the bright side is that your team can sink no lower than the lifeless abyss in which it currently resides.
Not only did the Hawkeyes mostly trash what little regard was still held for them in basketball annals, but they did so in front of a national television audience. FANTASTIC.
I’ll try not to be overly harsh with my forthcoming words for this team’s performance on Thursday night, but please pardon any of the hyperbole I’m likely to engage in at some point.
The NCAA Tournament committee would describe Iowa’s defeat to Northwestern as a “bad loss” on its resume. I prefer to describe it as a pathetic loss, but that’s just me.
The Hawkeyes started slow and never really appeared all that interested throughout the course of the butt-whooping they received. Another big game by senior star Devyn Marble (25 points and 4 assists) went to waste, as did possibly the best performance all season by reserve forward Jarrod Uthoff (17 points and 9 rebounds). The only other Iowa players who seemed to make an appearance at all were substitute big man Gabe Olaseni (6 points and 8 rebounds), and for a stretch of the first half, forward Zach McCabe.
Just about every other member of the Iowa squad was effectively absent from Thursday’s contest, namely Aaron White and Mike Gesell. White, a third team All-Big Ten recipient was pretty much a no show against Northwestern (and he hit ALL of his shots). Meanwhile at point guard, Gesell went through a nightmarish 0-10 shooting night, and tallied only two assists.
For fear of going player by player through the rest of Iowa’s roster, here’s all you need to really know. Aside from Marble, Uthoff, Olaseni, and McCabe, the other seven Hawkeyes that saw the floor COMBINED for seven total points on 2-23 shooting from the field. Yes, it was that bad.
The Hawkeyes for the most part were lacking any and all energy and enthusiasm for the entire 40 minutes. That should never happen in a conference tournament win-0r-go-home format.
Had Iowa been so listless and lost to one of the upper echelon teams in the Big Ten it might have been slightly easier to stomach. Unfortunately, “upper echelon” and Northwestern are not two terms that belong in the same sentence.
The group of Wildcats that topped the Hawkeyes on Thursday are devoid of both depth and talent in all honesty. It’s a team that tries to bring every game it plays to a screeching halt because it knows that it can’t play with almost anybody straight up and win.
Case in point, Iowa blew out Northwestern by 26 points in each of their two earlier meetings this season.
Thursday’s game had no business even being close, much less result in a loss, had the Hawkeyes shown up to play with some semblance of pride and emotion. But that’s all revisionist history at this point.
Iowa’s season has been in a downward spiral for some time now, and this last loss is in a negative sense, the proverbial icing on the cake.
The Hawkeyes have let down their fans with their effort on the court in recent weeks, regardless of any results in win/loss column.
More importantly though, this team has let down itself.