Since I was unable to recap Iowa’s first four loss to the Tennessee Volunteers a week ago due to vacation, I am going to give my thoughts on the game a week after. It’s easier for me to look back and see what went right or wrong because right now there isn’t any emotion going into the article. As a Hawkeye fan, writing recaps after the game can sometimes be emotional. This will make it easier on me and probably you guys, actually.
One of my really big takeaways from the game is that it look more like a football game than a basketball game. Tennessee was playing very rough and physical basketball, which is something the Hawkeyes haven’t dealt with all year. Don’t get me wrong, the Big Ten is a tough conference, but the physicality level seemed to sky rocket against the Volunteers.
One of the main reasons was big man, Jarnell Stokes, dude looks more like a linebacker than a center. At 6 foot 8, 260 pounds, Stokes virtually did whatever he wanted in the paint pushing around weaker defenders like Adam Woodbury and Melsahn Basabe. Oh, and that 260 pounds is straight muscle too, which allows Stokes to play “big boy basketball” as you often hear people say.
I thought Josh Richardson, who averaged 10 points and 3 rebounds over the course of the year, was phenomenal too. Richardson scored 17 points and hauled in 8 rebounds all while giving Roy Devyn Marble fits at the other end. Richardson was playing harder than just about everyone on the court and that slam he threw down when he went baseline – you know which one I’m talking about – was a grown man dunk.
One big area you can look and figure out the Hawkeyes were out-toughed is the rebounding category. Iowa, who usually wins the battle on the boards, was out-rebounded by 7 in this one.
For Iowa, it was the same song and dance just a different day. The Hawkeyes took a lead into the locker room for, oh, I don’t know, what seems like the 200th time this year only to watch it disappear in the end. Obviously, the choke job in overtime when they scored 1 point is something people are going to talk about for a while, but for me it was just effort at the end.
Marble and Aaron White were very ‘bleh’ the entire night. Basabe and Mike Gesell were basically non-existent too. If it weren’t for Adam Woodbury and Peter Jok, Iowa would’ve gotten blown out. Ironically for them, this should be considered a blowout – it was their largest loss of the year in terms of points.
I think we finally saw what we’ve been waiting for from sophomore center, Adam Woodbury, 16 points and 8 rebounds are what Hawkeye fans have been waiting for out of the slender left hander from Sioux City, Iowa. This could be a huge stepping stone for Adam come next winter. Also, Peter Jok’s play over the last 3 games of the season was a very encouraging site. Jok had 10 points in the first four game against the Volunteers and looked as cool as the other side of the pillow during his 16 minutes on the court.
It’s going to be tough to say goodbye to this group of seniors who were the leaders in turning this program around right behind head coach Fran McCaffery, but welcoming in some talent like, Brady Ellingson, Dom Uhl, and JUCO transfer point guard, Trey Dickerson, will be encouraging. JUCO forward, Willie Atwood, could also be added to this list soon; he has his official visit this weekend in Iowa City.