Iowa 83, North Florida 68: Hawks Win Bird of Prey Battle

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Ricky D's Triple Double's picture

Toussaint is to Iowa basketball as Goodson is to Iowa football. He has the potential to be the slash-score-create guard for which the fan base has prayed. He’s fast, sees the floor, and is just big enough to drive and draw contact. 

A magical night in Cleveland.

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truhawk11's picture

He looked good tonight.  Love his willingness to rebound, his defense, and his passing.  He had some fun finishes tonight on offense, too.  I thought he had pressed offense too much in the exhibition.  He just needs to keep letting the game come to him.  Will be really interesting to see how he handles heavier competition forthcoming.

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Chuck Long Duk Dong's picture

heavy on the hyperbole but i hope you’re right Ricky

no more yankey Chuck's wankey

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Ricky D's Triple Double's picture

I’d say I sufficiently qualified my statement(s) with the inclusion of the word “potential.” 

A magical night in Cleveland.

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DC_HAWK's picture

He reminds me a little of Dean Oliver, except Oliver was a really good shooter (looks like Toussaint is just mediocre).

Garbage Blog Aficionado

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truhawk11's picture

Defense was noticeably connected tonight.

Now we get one (very sweet) cupcake, before teams stop being polite and start being real.  After Cal Poly, Iowa has a brutal seven game stretch which includes 3 road games (Syracuse, Michigan, ISU), three neutral court games (Texas Tech, Creighton/San Diego St, Cincinnati), and 1 measly home game against Minnesota.

So, get to a 4-1 start followed by a 4-3 stretch would be excellent for this team.  3-4 in those seven would not be the end of the world.

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Chuck Long Duk Dong's picture

Texas Tech is going to murder us. I have no basis for this, just a hunch. 

no more yankey Chuck's wankey

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olivecourt's picture

So, get to a 4-1 start followed by a 4-3 stretch would be excellent for this team.  3-4 in those seven would not be the end of the world.

Going 3-4 in those seven games would actually be a very good result. It would mean Iowa won at least two road or neutral games against likely top-50 opponents. They would be in everyone's early brackets if they did that. If they somehow went 4-3, they wouldn't have a flashy record or anything (they'd be 8-4), but that would have a number of very quality wins and no real bad losses. It would be awesome.

I'm hoping for 2-5; I think that keeps the NCAA bubble in play. They have to beat Minnesota at home and then get one other win. Even 1-6 would not be the end of the world if they show signs of life and are competitive in most of the games. It is a truly brutal stretch.

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truhawk11's picture

I think you are probably right OC.  Agree that 4-3 would be really awesome.  I have a hard time getting my mind wrapped around Iowa being on the bubble if they find themselves at 6-6, although I think it is a very likely scenario.  At that point, the non-conference is pretty much over, and we would be counting on a pretty excellent conference record to get them in the realm of what sounds like a tournament record.  But, I do suppose the SOS should be better than we typically see on Iowa's resume.

Either way, this team better be far more prepared for this stretch of games than they were for their first test against DePaul.

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NYCHawkeye's picture

Toussaint needs to be starting sooner rather than later, growing pains be damned. Nice to see J-Bo hit some open looks, but you can see the hip slowing him down. He's a warrior, but should redshirt IMO so he can go out on his own terms. I think he deserves that much. Any win this season is a nice win for this team, they'll need all the confidence they can get right now going into the meat of this non-conf schedule, but if Nunge can hit that mid-range jumper with any sort of consistency it'll start to really open things up for Frederick and J-Weezy. With about 1000 people at Carver tonight, it would've been easy for the Hawks to give a 75%-ish performance, but I thought there was actually some urgency there after the slow start. Great to see.

My flight to LAX for the 2016 Rose Bowl was cancelled on the tarmac the morning of the game. Insert [joke] here.

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olivecourt's picture

In terms of Iowa’s offense, I don’t mind Toussaint off the bench. The starting five has plenty of scorers, and I think that second unit would really suffer with Conor running it. Conor can complement good players (7 assists/0 TOs tonight), but if he is running the point with Pemsl/Kreiner/Evelyn/injured Bohannon on the floor, I don’t see where the offense comes from. Toussaint can make that second unit work— we saw it tonight. 
 

To me whether or not he should start is all about defense. Iowa is going to score this year. What they can’t do is give up 15 points before the under-16 TV timeout. I really want to see what Toussaint can do defensively against better players,  but until then I love him as a 6th man— a very poor man’s Manu. 

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houksyndrome's picture

I agree with this 100%.  I believe that to be good on offense, you need at least one guy who can win one on one matchups and either score or draw additional defenders.  On this team, that's Garza, (hopefully) Wieskamp and (hopefully) Toussaint.  It would be wise to stagger their minutes somewhat so that we always have a playmaker on the floor.

Neil Peart stands alone

Here, have some of these smelling salts.

RossWB's picture

I'm on Team JBo Should Redshirt at the moment, too. He just doesn't look right and I don't know how much better it's going to get over the course of the season. Better to let him sit out, heal up, and come back recharged and fully healed up for next season. 

Pepper Brooks's picture

Agreed.  Looking at the pieces coming back next year the team will be much stronger.  Wondering if JBo is simply done with school, wants to graduate and move on.

Punting is a bold strategy, let's see if it pays off for them.

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RetroHawk's picture

Plus you have the risk that Fran isn't the coach next year (should the Hawks crater big time or Fran pops a vessel in his neck and clocks somebody).  He may not want to endure a fifth year despite the team being better overall.  Understandable.

RetroHawk

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Kirk Ferentz's Notecard's picture

Garza is making the leap. He looks great. Iowa in 2020 could be pretty good. Everyone just needs to be patient and not freak out this year if we don't make tourney

"Everybody got distracted by last week's game. Last week's game doesn't mean crap. It's what you do today." — Kirk Ferentz

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RossWB's picture

After the DePaul debacle, I'd consider an NCAA Tourney appearance a very pleasant surprise.

Ricky D's Triple Double's picture

I don’t disagree with this, but several quality teams have already lost games this year to much worse teams than DePaul. The college hoops season has gotten off to a weird start.

A magical night in Cleveland.

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Iagander's picture

Still hopeful too, but they got more than beat by DePaul.

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houksyndrome's picture

Exactly.  We appeared to be completely overwhelmed, athletically, by DePaul.  It's hard to be optimistic knowing that we've got 20+ games on this schedule against teams that are at (or above) DePaul's level, athletically.

Neil Peart stands alone

Here, have some of these smelling salts.

Ricky D's Triple Double's picture

I suppose it depends on your expectations. I don't think this is a tourney team, and I held that opinion before the season. Cook's absence diminishes the athleticism. Moss leaving hurts shooting. Without a healthy Bohannon and with Patrick's health issues, the team becomes too dependent on two guys (Garza and Weiskamp). That's why I'm excited about Toussaint; he looks like he can start to help fill in the gaps. With that said, this year is building toward 2020-21, when you have veterans across the line in Garza, Weiskamp, and Bohannon, with a then-seasoned Toussaint and a healthy and more-bulked (hopefully) P. McCaffery. I'm not usually big on the "next year" approach, but everything about the current roster dynamic points to that.

Also, while I was thoroughly disappointed by the showing against DePaul, I'm not sure why people think this team somehow can't drastically improve throughout the year, especially given the relatively young roster and off-season fluctuations. They're likely going to take lumps against the likes of Texas Tech, Syracuse, and Michigan, but I see a lot of growth potential for this team as they play together.

A magical night in Cleveland.

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DC_HAWK's picture

Imagine if next year's roster also would also include Zavier Foster. Assuming no attrition from this year's class, that could've been a group to get excited about.

Garbage Blog Aficionado

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Ricky D's Triple Double's picture

Yes, that would have seemingly presented an abundance of tools to play with. The hope now is that Josh Ogundele is essentially the same level of talent, just without the in-state roots and below the radar in regard to recruiting. I try not to get overly optimistic, but 2020-21 could still be a special opportunity. I should also mention that I'm assuming Bohannon will eventually shut it down and preserve a return for next year.  

A magical night in Cleveland.

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chitownhawkeye's picture

I agree with your assessment coming into the season.

As far as drastic improvement through the season, I feel like we haven't seen that our of Fran's teams, so I tend that think that what we're seeing is what we're getting.  There will likely be some improvement for Toussaint, but I think he'll also struggle with the increase in talent once we get into league play.  Additional game time experience should help with passing and and spacing awareness, so I'm hoping it's still a net positive.

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Ricky D's Triple Double's picture

McCaffery's teams typically see a regression toward the end of the year, but they have shown the ability to improve from November to early February. This team in particular presents that opportunity for growth, with the newcomers and roster transitions in the off-season. 

A magical night in Cleveland.

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truhawk11's picture

The DePaul game was disappointing, but important to remember that it is still just one result.  Even good teams by Fran have had clunkers.  Occasionally, Iowa turns around and beats the same BIG later in the season, who just blew them out.  The season is long and this was an equivalent to a an early-April, 40 degree game at Wrigley Field.

And while DePaul clearly was the more athletic team, I don't agree with the takeaway that Iowa is hopelessly too unathletic to compete.  For one thing, last year's team was not that much more athletic.  Cook was certainly a great athlete, but not a defensive dynamo.  (I will allow that Nunge's defense is many steps back from Cook, in my opinion.)  I'm not saying Iowa's super quick.  Just saying that it is not necessarily a fatal flaw.

This team has shown me more defensive acumen than they had two seasons ago.  I'm interested to see how it plays out.

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Chuck Long Duk Dong's picture

THIS.

sadly, HoustonHawkeye and the gang are already sharpening their pitchforks

no more yankey Chuck's wankey

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tyger1147's picture

I'm fine giving Nunge more time becuase he does look the part at times, but I don't know how they can survive with two guys contributing so little to points. I think Conor is an honest-to-goodness player who doesn't-score-but-does-a-lot-else-right player. I'm not sure about Frederick. I also kind feel like he hasn't earned it.

And it seems like Jo Bo is in it for the season, no? Start him against Cal Poly and just go from there. He doesn't need to play more than 20 minutes a game if that's still a worry, but I just want to see something more. I think at halftime that neither Frederick nor McCaffery had scored, and that's just not good at all.

Start Joe, JoBo, or Pat (if he were healthy)

meh

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Chuck Long Duk Dong's picture

could you imagine if your name was Oral Bob? poor guy

no more yankey Chuck's wankey

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LowcountryHawk's picture

I didn’t see the ORU game, but one distinct difference I noticed between the UNF and DePaul games was Iowa’s passing. Against DePaul there were no pump fakes or misdirection. All passes were telegraphed. Against UNF, almost every pass was set up by a look-away or hesitation. (And then there was Toussaint, who has eyes in the back of his head.)

I am hopeful the Hawks can continue that style of passing from here on. Scrub that DePaul debacle from my brain.

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Close Shave America's picture

I'm really hoping the DePaul loss was an outlier. The optimist in me says Iowa's roster needed time to gel with so many players who weren't on the floor last season (Pemsl, Nunge, Fredrick, Evelyn, Toussaint, and hopefully Patrick). They'll get better with time and there will be ups and downs. Optimist me says a loss is a loss, no matter what the margin of defeat is, and that the team will learn from that and improve—plenty of better teams than Iowa have lost to worse teams than DePaul already this year. Iowa has some young talent, particularly Fredrick and Toussaint, that has flashed big-time potential and could make a big difference going forward. 

Pessimist CSA says we lost to the only good team we've played so far, and the teams we'll face the rest of the way will be more like DePaul (or better) than North Florida. And that loss looked painfully similar to many other Iowa losses in the Fran era, particularly that 2017-18 dumpster fire of a season: we played poorly on defense, allowed a big run early, and looked slower and less athletic than Blue Demons. We are still allowing teams to shoot the lights out from three. And while Garza has been great so far, he can't carry the load by himself, and so far Wieskamp has not played up to his potential as a scorer. Bohannon is not 100% and almost certainly will shut it down in time to take a redshirt, and without his clutch shot-making we stand to lose a few close games this season that we were able to win last year. 

We'll find out soon enough what kind of team this really is.

America, you're looking good: handsome, free and tall

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RossWB's picture

Pessimist CSA says we lost to the only good team we've played so far, and the teams we'll face the rest of the way will be more like DePaul (or better) than North Florida. And that loss looked painfully similar to many other Iowa losses in the Fran era, particularly that 2017-18 dumpster fire of a season: we played poorly on defense, allowed a big run early, and looked slower and less athletic than Blue Demons. We are still allowing teams to shoot the lights out from three. And while Garza has been great so far, he can't carry the load by himself, and so far Wieskamp has not played up to his potential as a scorer. Bohannon is not 100% and almost certainly will shut it down in time to take a redshirt, and without his clutch shot-making we stand to lose a few close games this season that we were able to win last year. 

This is what worries me about the DePaul loss. I think it was an extreme example of the type of game Iowa has tended to lose in recent years -- DePaul shot preposterously well to start that game and opened up such a big lead so early that the game was out of reach even with a lot of time remaining. I doubt we'll see anyone the rest of the year who gets off to a start like that or who has first half shooting numbers like DePaul did. So I could definitely see a situation where we get to March and look back at that DePaul as Iowa's worst performance of the year by far. 

But I think that game also exposed Iowa's clear weaknesses in terms of athleticism and quickness and the potential for the defense to struggle mightily. And while Iowa's offensive efficiency has been super this year on paper (#4 nationally, per KenPom), it still shows some clear warning signs in terms of outside shooting (Iowa's shooting just 31.5% from outside) and in terms of generating good looks when Iowa doesn't have a clear advantage in size/talent (as they have against North Florida, Oral Roberts, and SIU-E). The good/bad news is that this won't be speculative for much longer -- with Texas Tech, Creighton/San Diego St, and Michigan in the next 2 weeks, we should know a LOT more about Iowa's ability to compete this season. 

olivecourt's picture

To me, it's all about defense.

Iowa's first-half offense against DePaul was very frustrating. But if you score 30 points in the first half of a home game, it shouldn't already be over. You could have a bad half and be down 42-30 or something. Everyone would be pissed but the game wouldn't be over. You can't give up 53 points in a half. It's a 20-minute half!

I think Iowa will be able to score consistently against 90% of the teams on the schedule, with the very notable exception of Texas Tech. It's keeping the other team under 80 on a consistent basis that I worry about.

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Klug's picture

Garza does not have much of a leap for a kid 7 feet tall. He can get things done against shorter defenders, like what North Florida has, but against taller athletic guys (DePaul) he gets shut down. I think Kriener is more solid against a bigger front; perhaps its his wingspan. Regardless, I fear we will miss Cook's hops in the paint more than I thought we would.

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olivecourt's picture

but against taller athletic guys (DePaul) he gets shut down

He had 14 and 8 against DePaul. 

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EverywhereIgoIseethesameclones's picture

Garza does not have much of a leap for a kid 7 feet tall.

Most 7 footers have very little ups, especially if they have legit size. Unless you are an athletic freak in which case you are in the NBA.  

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houksyndrome's picture

During his first two seasons, Garza's shooting percentage on two point attempts, against all opponents, was 61% (So) and 60% (Fr).  If you just count his shooting percentages in conference games (i.e. taller athletic guys), he shot 59% on two point attempts during those seasons.  His free throw rate (FTA/FGA) was not significantly different between conference games and non-conference games last season.  Neither was his turnover rate.  It's true that elite defenders can shut him down, and teams can make a concerted effort to deny him the ball and swarm him, but he has not shown much of a productivity difference between high quality competition and cupcakes, generally, during his career to this point.  It's true that he doesn't jump well and he often looks clunky, gets his shot blocked etc., but he puts the ball in the hoop.

You are right about us missing Cook, though.  Last year, we had Cook+Baer at the 4 spot.  This year, it's Nunge+Pemsl.  It's a big drop off.

Neil Peart stands alone

Here, have some of these smelling salts.

Joe Bauers's picture

The fact that Iowa is relying so much on Garza to get past these games is very concerning.  I haven't been able to watch games yet, but tracking flow of the game it's night and day between when Garza is on the floor and when he is on the bench (or, as was the case last night, if he's having a cold stretch).  I love Garza, but the 20+ point games come much easier when you're four inches taller than anyone else on the court.  Iowa needs to get scoring from the guards and wings, otherwise this serious could get rough.  Garza can't be expected to carry this team on his own for a full season.

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LowcountryHawk's picture

Last night was about taking what the defense was giving them. The Ospreys were extending the wings (no pun intended) and giving space at the FT line and baseline. That gave the big men most of the opportunities. Iowa’s guards weren’t forcing it.

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RickShowIA's picture

I did not think Nunge looked good.  He had a couple short stretches where he made a couple jumpers, but his other shots didn't look great and I didn't think he added much other than a bigger body.  I want him to be a solid contributor this year, but I'm not sold yet.

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truhawk11's picture

He plays with way too much finesse for a guy that is that big and strong.  And he's painfully slow to boot.  I hope a good portion of it is mental and that he gains some confidence.  Fran seems to expect a lot out of him, but to me he looks like the same player from two years ago, which is disappointing.

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Opprobrium's picture

I think there might have been a slight corner turned in the 2nd half of this game. They just came out looking focused and fired up. Everyone is starting to find their footing, aside from the stars who were already ready to go. 

The one big disappointment for me is Evelyn. Man that guy's shot does not look good, nor did his defense. He was a liability whenever he had the ball against this level of competition.

extruded plastic dingus

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RossWB's picture

He has not looked good at all so far this season. I thought he could off-set a decent amount of what Iowa lost with Moss' departure, but that looks like a complete fantasy at this point. 

I worry that this is going to reinforce Fran's bias against grad transfers, which is unfortunate. Iowa should be looking at ALL options to improve the talent on the roster, especially if we continue to miss on big gets in traditional recruiting. 

RetroHawk's picture

Your'e going to win some and lose some in the grad transfer portal but, it's a proven enough channel that the Hawks need to continue to use it.  Especially when your recruiting classes are thin or you suffer a lot of injuries.

RetroHawk

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