Having been left out of the NCAA Tournament, the Hawkeyes are out to prove that they’re a legitimate college basketball team. Against South Dakota, they took a step towards that goal, beating them 87-75 in the opening round of the NIT.
The Hawkeyes will now move on to play TCU in the second round, with tip-off set for Sunday, March 19th.
Here are three takeaways from Iowa’s opening-round win.
What We Learned:
1. Jordan Bohannon Is The Truth
Coming into the game, the big question was whether or not Iowa’s freshmen would play well in their first postseason tournament.
Well, that question was answered on Wednesday night, with three first-year Hawkeyes scoring in double-figures. One of those freshmen, Jordan Bohannon, absolutely went off. Playing in a team-high 37 minutes, Bohannon dished out a season-best 11 assists, while only turning the ball over one time. He also poured in 19 points, making three of four shots from beyond the arc.
Bohannon’s 11 assist performance now gives him back-to-back games with double-digit dimes, as he had 10 in their loss to Indiana in the Big Ten Tournament.
2. Iowa Fans Are Supportive No Matter What
Iowa basketball fans have been loyal for years, regularly selling out Carver-Hawkeye Arena for home games. Last year, they ranked No. 19 in the nation in home attendance, ahead of eight other Big Ten teams.
With that said, it would be understandable if the fanbase wasn’t dying to go watch Iowa play in the NIT. After all, the program is normally in contention for the Big Dance, with anything else being an afterthought,
It turns out that Hawkeye fans are supportive no matter what tournament they’re in, drawing almost 13,000 fans to Wednesday night’s win. You could tell from watching on T.V that they were heavily involved and provided a significant home-court advantage.
3. The Hawkeyes Have A Diamond In The Rough With Isaiah Moss
This year, numerous Iowa freshmen have gained notoriety. Jordan Bohannon and Tyler Cook were both selected for the Big Ten All-Freshman team and Cordell Pemsl won the Big Ten field-goal percentage crown. One first-year player, Isaiah Moss, has flown under the radar, but managed to turn some heads on Wednesday night.
Moss, a product of Chicago’s legendary Simeon Career Academy, erupted for 17 points versus South Dakota, connecting on four shots from downtown. Although, it was his highest point total in over a month, Moss has shown he can be electric when given the chance.
When Peter Jok graduates, their will be a lot more shots to go around in Iowa City. By my estimation, Moss will be getting a large number of those shots, as he will slide right into Jok’s go-to scorer role.
On The Horizon:
In the short term, the Hawkeyes will move into the second round of the NIT, facing off against TCU on Sunday night. That game should prove to be a little more competitive, as the Horned Frogs are coming off three wins in their last four games.
Looking forward to next year, the Hawkeyes and their fans have reason to be very optimistic. Even though their leading scorer, Peter Jok, will be graduating, the program will be in good hands with their plethora of young talent.