The Iowa Hawkeyes are trending in the right direction. After dropping 4 out of 5, Iowa was able to get wins over a ranked Rutgers team and Michigan State in East Lansing. What changed for the team? The defense seems to be coming together at just the right time.
After allowing teams to shoot 44-104 (42%) from three-point range over a four-game stretch, the Hawkeyes have held opponents to just 18-72 (25%) from deep over their last three games.
“Losing 4 out of 5, they were close games we were right there in most of those games,” said Iowa sophomore Jack Nunge. “We knew if we could limit those little mistakes we could come back out on top.”
A positive change that you can credit to the X’s and O’s.
“I thought we stayed with the zone too long,” said Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery. “I’m alwasy going to mix defenses, we’re always going to play some zone, press a little bit. We’ve always been primarily man-to-man so I challenged the guys to compete and defend man-to-man. The man’s been a lot better and hopefully, that will continue.”
Now, it’s just a matter of holding the line and keeping the intensity up.
“The way we’ve been defending lately has been better,” said Iowa junior Joe Wieskamp. “We’ve really picked up the pressure in that regard. I think the way we’re defending right now is at a good level and I think we can even do a better job. We just have to keep doing that.”
Even with this added emphasis on defense, Iowa still holds the most efficient offense in college basketball.