Six days. Three losses. Bad news for the Hawkeyes.
On Feb. 18, an eight-foot piece of metal fell from the rafters at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, forcing the postponement of the game between Iowa and Indiana. And since, the Hawkeyes have been in a similar free fall.
Now, the plummeting metal isn’t the reason Fran McCaffery’s crew is so suddenly out of whack, but it certainly is amplifying those woes. Why? The rescheduling of that game made it so the Hawkeyes have to play four games in nine days, an abnormal schedule for sure. So when a not terribly surprising loss to Wisconsin turned into a losing streak at Minnesota on Tuesday, there was just one day to try to things right.
And the Hawkeyes couldn’t get things right.
That game with the Hoosiers finally came Thursday, and it looked much like the previous contest against the Gophers, as the Hawkeyes gave up a ton a points and lost, this time by a score of 93-86. It was the second straight game in the famously low-scoring Big Ten that Iowa surrendered 93 points or more. And it was Iowa’s third straight loss.
"We have been making more mistakes, there is no question about that,” McCaffery said. “Those mistakes have been happening on both ends of the floor, and we weren't recovering. We weren't solid on defense.”
The Hawkeyes’ high-scoring antics this season have mainly overshadowed the fact that they’ve been allowing a whole mess of points all year long. Now that the losses are coming fast and furious, it’s no longer a secret.
And while Iowa did do a good job containing Indiana’s chief weapons, holding Yogi Ferrell and Noah Vonleh to a combined 12 points, another Hoosier went off. Two nights after the Hawkeyes allowed a career-high 27 points from Minnesota’s Austin Hollins, it was Indiana’s Will Sheehey with a huge night, pouring in 30.
And though Roy Devyn Marble had 20, Aaron White had 19 and Melsahn Basabe had 14 for the Hawkeyes, a cold night from beyond the 3-point line meant another defeat.
"You would figure that if (Ferrell and Vonleh) combined for 12 points, we would be the winners. That’s what I would have thought,” McCaffery said after the game. “Everyone knows Yogi's the man, but tonight Sheehey was on fire and they got him the ball."
The condensed schedule isn’t quite over yet. Sunday brings another contest against Purdue, the Hawkeyes’ fourth game in nine games. So any break is going to have to wait until after the weekend.
With the calendar flipping to March, it’s not a good time for the Hawkeyes to be mired in their worst stretch of the season.