The Iowa Hawkeyes men’s basketball team is starting 2-0 after back-to-back blowouts in Iowa City at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. There’s a lot to be excited for if you’re a Hawkeye fan, but the players and coaches are looking at these past two games as learning opportunities.
“I think our second half today we got a little comfortable,” said Luka Garza, in reference to his team’s performance against the Southern Eagles. “We gave up some offensive rebounds. They had 19 offensive boards and we can’t let that happen. We’re going to get beat by teams if we let them get that many offensive boards. For us, that was a big thing in the locker room after the game. Just not get comfortable no matter what the lead is and control the boards. As a leader I have to better, I have to push our team to close out better than we did tonight.”
Using these games as ways to improve can make a difference for Iowa, as the season begins to ramp up.
“That’s something coach talked about after the game,” said Joe Wieskamp. “Obviously we won by 30 everyone thinks it’s a great game. These are games to prepare ourselves for Gonzaga and North Carolina and Iowa State leading up to the Big Ten season. We got to really take advantage of these games to get better.”
Head coach Fran McCaffery is glad to know that his players are taking responsibility for learning from these games and playing better.
“I think you want them to hold themselves accountable,” said McCaffery. “You’ve got to be careful, I was on them hard and it was not because our execution was poor because it was good. We were missing shots we normally make against that zone. What was the one thing that upset me? Their offensive rebounding and our lack of offensive rebound. Defensively we were fairly solid. We were changing defenses. Could we have been tougher at times maybe taken a charge? Maybe. But I wasn’t really that upset I thought our execution was really good.”
NOTE: The video above mentions that North Carolina is ranked 16th in the AP Poll, as of November 30 the Tar Heels are now ranked 14th. Iowa is ranked 3rd and Gonzaga still holds the top spot.