It’s easy to point to one statistic to explain a win, or a loss. As it pertains to Iowa’s 73-69 loss to 13-seed Ohio State, there’s a few options to choose from. I’ll start with 3-point shooting.

The Hawkeyes made just four triples. Yes, they shot 50% from 2. But in the final 19 minutes of play, just one? Really? Another reason I bring this up: Ohio State knocked down two huge treys in the final four minutes of the game, and it made the difference in the result.

“I feel like we got open looks we wanted to get,” said Kris Murray, who shot 2-for-8 from 3. “They just weren’t falling. We were able to get stops too, so it was a close game going into halftime, I think. Just making shots is the biggest thing, honestly, in the beginning. But both sides of the ball, I feel like we did pretty well. They’re a really talented team. We’ve
kind of seen that all year. They’ve been in close games. They got a lot of talent, a lot of scoring. Guys could take over at any point in the game.”

But ultimately, the team felt they got good looks, they just couldn’t cash in.

“I thought we played really hard. I thought we executed fairly well. We got good shot
opportunities, got to the free-throw line in the second half,” Fran McCaffery said. “I think in a game like this 11 turnovers is too many. We had a lot of guys fumbling the ball, and we needed to come up with that one at the end.”

That one at the end was essentially a game of hot potato on a basketball court. Iowa had a chance to recover a loose ball, down 2, with under 30 seconds remaining in the game. But ultimately, Kris Murray was out of bounds attempting to recover it.

Here’s the good news: The Hawkeyes are going to make the NCAA tournament, with plenty of rest this time around. No more four games in four days — followed by a first-round loss to 12-seed Richmond. It’s something guard Tony Perkins is looking forward to.

“We lost today, but the next game we get a chance to play, we’re most definitely going to turn it up a notch and make sure we win, make sure we make up for today,” Perkins said.

“At this time of year, as you well know, a couple guys have a little nagging here and there injury, a little banged up,” Fran McCaffery said. “So you get your heavy-minutes guys some rest, and then we’ll go back to work, work on our stuff, and then find out who we’re playing.”

Fran and the Hawks will find out who they’re playing on Selection Sunday. As of this moment, Iowa is slated to be a 7-seed playing in Denver, according to ESPN. But after a pair of inexplicable losses at the worst time, that may no longer be the case.

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