In a game that was initially thought to be tightly contested between Nebraska and Iowa, the Hawkeyes blew out the Cornhuskers and ran away with an easy 74-46 victory. The Hawkeyes went into the Pinnacle Bank Arena, shot 50% from the field, and pulled down 8 more rebounds than their opponents. Aaron White led the charge with 18 points on 7/11 shooting and pulled down 11 boards for a double-double. Also joining White in double figures were Jarrod Uthoff and Peter Jok with 11 points and 14 points respectively.
The Cornhuskers had another poor performance and lost their fifth straight game on Saturday against the Hawkeyes. Shooting struggles continue for the Cornhuskers as they shot just 11% from behind the three point line. To complement the bad shooting, the Huskers turned the ball over 13 times. Nebraska was led by seemingly their only source of offense lately: Terran Petteway with 16 points.
So what did we learn?
What We Learned
Iowa has what it takes to be an NCAA Tournament Team
After losing two consecutive games to Minnesota and Nebraska last week, the Hawkeyes found themselves in the tournament but moving in the wrong direction. Despite a minor slip, the Hawkeyes responded well by beating Rutgers and Nebraska by an average of 31 points. With only four games left in the regular season for the Hawkeyes, things are looking up, but they still have to face a tough Illini team at home and then Indiana on the road.
Aaron White once again proved his ability to lead his team to the NCAA Tournament through inspired play. The senior averages 14.5 points per game and put up 18 in the win against Nebraska. As long as the Hawkeyes have a strong finish to the season, they have enough solid wins to get them into the NCAA Tournament, and they have enough talent to take themselves a long way.
Iowa is at its best when all players contribute
In Iowa's most recent loss to Northwestern on the road, the Hawkeyes' only source of offense was Jarrod Uthoff who finished with 25 points and two big threes late in the game to bring his team into overtime. No other player for the Hawkeyes scored in double digits, and the one-man-show behind Uthoff slowly diffused as Northwestern pulled off the upset at home. Aaron White struggled immensely with 6 points and 1/12 shooting from the field.
In their win over Nebraska, the Hawkeyes had three players in double figures and got at least 8 points from 6 different players. The Hawkeyes shared the ball nicely with 17 assists and didn't rely on one single scorer to carry the load for the entire team. The Hawkeyes must realize that when everyone contributes, they're one of the most difficult teams to beat in the conference, but when they only look to one guy for offense, they're going to get beat.
Nebraska's disappointing season is going further awry
After being ranked as the 17th best team in the nation according to the preseason AP polls, the Cornhuskers looked to make it to the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year. However, bad losses to Creighton and Incarnate Word in the non-conference portion of the season set the Huskers up to fail. A team that was nearly unbeatable at home last year (1 loss to Michigan) has derailed after disappointing offense, especially from behind the arc. The loss to Iowa marks the fifth home loss for the Huskers this season.
This 28 point loss sums up the way this season has gone and shows that there is much work to do for Tim Miles' squad. Terran Petteway has been the only offense and has proven that he can't will his team to victory by himself. Nebraska will look to try to get some momentum going into the post-season, but faces three tough tests from here on out with Ohio State, Illinois, and Maryland.
This game for the most part went the way it was expected to go. Though Nebraska has kept games close at home all year, this game was the breaking point for the Huskers, and the Hawkeyes just proved to be way too much to handle. Iowa certainly gives themselves a little breathing room off the bubble with its second straight win, but it mustn't not look too far ahead, because last year it found itself in the same position, and then barely made the NCAA Tournament.