Iowa was the top seed in their NIT bracket, and they were looking to redeem their disappointing season by going on a long run at an NIT title.
Their bid, however, was cut short after a surprising overtime loss in the second round to fourth-seeded TCU. If one were to list all the disappointing ways the Hawkeyes could have ended their season, this would be at the very, very top of that list.
We learned a few things from this game, and just about all of them are related to the same thing: for Iowa basketball, help is very much wanted.
Here’s what we learned from their 94-92, overtime loss to the Horned Frogs of TCU.
What We Learned:
1. HELP WANTED.
In case you haven’t heard from the last few sentence of this blog post, help is wanted. Six points for Ahmad Wagner and zero points from Isaiah Moss is, in a word, paltry. Peter Jok, Jordan Bohannon and Tyler Cook all had nice games, and Nicholas Baer had himself a nice game coming off the bench, as well. But, such little production coming from two of your starters is not going to cut it. Not even against a team ranked 22 spots below you, per KenPom.
Luckily for the Hawkeyes, though, reinforcements are on the way. They’re set to sign a quality three-member class that includes two players ranked within the top-150 according to 247Sports.
Iowa was a streaky team all year long, and one of the biggest issues with them was their inability to sustain long periods of strong play. They’ll lose Peter Jok next season, and while his production will be difficult to replace, they will, at the very least, have some fresh blood to work with. That’ll be helpful. Hopefully for Iowa, it’ll lead to more consistent play.
2. Nicholas Baer is ready to be a starter.
As I already mentioned, the Hawkeyes are about to lose their best player in senior forward Peter Jok. Fortunately for them, they already have a perfectly capable replacement for him waiting in the wings (that pun was for Iowa fan and Twitter genius Adam Jacobi).
Nicholas Baer has played some semblance of starters’ minutes at times this year, and he has responded well. In 23 minutes of game time in Iowa’s season finale against Penn State, Baer dropped a season-high 20 points, including a perfect four-for-four mark from behind the three-point arc.
With another offseason of development, and a bit of a boost of confidence that might come from a promotion to starter status, Baer will be ready to go for the next season.
3. Iowa will be better next year.
I think that Iowa is going to be fine.
This was a complicated season for them, and they’ll certainly look back at some regrettable losses and wonder what could have been. Still, this isn’t the nail in the coffin type of season that Indiana had. Iowa beat Purdue, Michigan, Maryland, and Wisconsin this season.
They’ll keep Tyler Cook, will have a second-yeah Jordan Bohannon, and, as I mentioned, will bring in a number of solid contributors
Iowa will be fine, and this loss will be a mere blip on the Fran McCaffery’s tenure as head coach of the Hawkeyes.