There's a lot of talk about if Iowa will make the jump to the NCAA Tournament this season and it's become a topic commonly debated among fans of the Big Ten. Either way, Hawkeye fans are excited for what is shaping up to be the teams best season since Steve Alford was still the head coach.
For all of the hype heading into the season, the Hawkeyes easily delivered as they stifled the UNC-Wilmington Seahawks. As impressive as the win was, it should be noted the Seahawks have been very, very bad the last five seasons and were considerably over matched. Of course the win should still make Iowa fans happy as they'd much rather see a blow out against a poor team than struggling to beat a new Division 1 squad (oh hey Purdue).
Iowa spent most of the first half keeping Wilmington from reaching double digits, only giving up 12 points in the first half. The Seahawks managed to add 27 points in the second half versus predominantly backups, finishing the night with a mere 39 points.
Even worse for the Seahawks was basically every other statistical category. Wilmington made a total of 16 shots on the night, even though they had 72 attempts from the field. They also made only 2 of their 23 three pointers, a percentage of 8.7%. The team also shot 50% from the charity stripe, was out rebounded and committed more turnovers than the Hawkeyes. Cedrick Williams added 15 points for the Seahawks, shooting 6 of 8 from the field. The only other player to score double digits was Addison Spruill, adding 10 points on 4 of 12 shooting. The rest of the team managed a disastrous 6 of 52 from the field and 0 of 17 from three.
No player on Iowa played more than 20 minutes tonight thanks to the huge lead Iowa quickly built up. Leading the team in scoring was Jarrod Uthoff with 14 points, while Aaron White and Peter Jok also scored double digits. The Hawkeyes played smart ball, only committing 10 fouls and 10 turnovers on the night. London native Gabriel Olaseni ended with an impressive stat line of 8 points, 7 rebounds and 5 blocks in 17 minutes.
Iowa managed to roll through their non-conference slate last season and will likely be fully capable of doing the same this year. When everything is said and done these games will mean considerably less compared to how they handle the upper echelon of the Big Ten. Nonetheless, for a fired up and excited fan base games like these will only increase the Hawkeyes confidence and get them even more amped up for conference play.