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How The Game Was Lost: Iowa

A Love Letter to Thursday’s Performance against TOE

NCAA Basketball: Iowa at Iowa State Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Pathetic. Disappointing. Awful.

Iowa State’s 84 - 68 loss to Iowa was all of the above, and more. I, myself, have plenty of other R rated adjectives I’d rather use to describe a performance that was embarrassing for a variety of reasons, including: Poor 3 point defense, poor 3 point shooting, inability to get stops, and a start that was so slow I actually thought the Iowa State offense was playing in reverse.

Shooting Woes

I’ll just say it: Iowa State simply does not have the bombers to stand around and shoot 3’s as a viable strategy to win games. They just don’t. Gone are the days of throwing out Shayok, Wigginton, Haliburton and Horton Tucker. This is why Iowa State struggled so much against Iowa’s zone. The Hawks were begging and baiting every Iowa State player not named Tyrese to shoot quickly, and boy did they completely and utterly comply.

Guess what? You’re not gonna win many games shooting 23% from 3, especially if you’re gonna stand around and fire away when the other team WANTS you to do that.

On multiple occasions, we saw Jacobson (career 28% 3 point shooter), Nixon (career 32%), and Bolton (career 34%, this year 24%) get baited by Iowa guards who dangled a semi-contested look in front of them all game long. Ask yourself if watching any of the above players shoot the shots they did with more than 15 seconds left on the shot clock is going to be a good strategy going forward?

Do you want Jacobson shooting this ball with 23 seconds left on the shot clock? I don’t.

How about now? The answer is still no. It’s not completely Mike’s fault, Prohm gives the green light to everyone, which is how it should be, but this has to be recognized as a shot that you should not be actively seeking out. Again, if there’s 4 seconds left on the shot clock and a shot has to go up, you have to live with this, BUT THERE’S 23 SECONDS LEFT.

Zion Griffin: Career 24% 3 point shooter. 20 seconds left on the shot clock. If this ball goes to Haliburton, either he gets an open look or the defense rotates and Tre Jackson gets a wide open 3. Fundamental basketball.


This team was not ready for a zone. I don’t know if it was poor execution, lack of preparation, but the team absolutely and completely melted down against something that Iowa has been known to run in the past.

Here’s my criticism of Prohm, of which I think he absolutely deserves tonight. If you want to craft a high-powered offense predicated on shooting 3’s, make sure you have the personnel to execute. Asking these guys to stand around the arc and fire away is like telling Ron Jeremy he should’ve been a radio DJ. Play to the strengths of your personnel, OR recruit the guys that will fit your system.

Iowa provided the exact blueprint to defend Iowa State the rest of the year. Pack the paint, take the ball out of Tyrese’s hands as best as you can, and force Iowa State to shoot jump shots. Running a zone accomplished all of that on Thursday night.

Slow Start

Couple things to unpack here, the first being Prohm, himself took responsibility for the slow start.

“We lost the game in the first five minutes. It’s 16-4, I should have called a timeout 8-2 because we gave up an offensive rebound, we don’t switch a guard-to-guard ball screen, give up a transition 3. Those are all things you talk about every single time.”

Yes, Steve, you probably should’ve done a bunch of things differently this game, including doing a better job of calming his players down and crafting a better response to an Iowa switch from man to zone.

It certainly felt like as soon as Iowa started hitting shots, Iowa State panicked and began to press. attempting time after time to hit home runs as opposed to taking what the defense was giving, and staying patient and composed. Notice that 3 out of the 4 screenshots from above are all in the first half while Iowa was in the midst of their run.

Iowa State has had a difficult time starting games this year. Even previously against Seton Hall they struggled to get anything going early. A change has to be made. I vote to start George Conditt, which seems like a logical move considering Soloman Young doesn’t seem like the type of guy to throw a tantrum if he is asked to sit. Conditt should provide an immediate spark right off the back, and should supercharge the stagnant Iowa State offense.

Lastly, like Halstead mentions above, Iowa State actually played Iowa very well if you throw out the abysmal start, which is like saying “Hey, they may have played an incomplete game, but at least it specifically prevented them from winning!” Not many teams have the firepower and overall roster makeup and coaching to overcome a 20 point deficit, and this team especially does not have that, what with the terrible shooting and all.

Not to be all doom-and-gloom, but this team has some serious issues that they need to fix before things get even more difficult during conference play. As of right now, this is not an NCAA Tournament team, and I don’t even think that’s a hot take. If Prohm is able to guide this team to the Big Dance, however, this will absolutely be his greatest achievement.

More Reasons I’m Angry

  • Caleb Grill has been a huge disappointment so far this season. He looks lost on offense, slow on defense, and mentally unprepared. Grill is just a freshman and I understand he will get better, but right now, he isn’t bringing much to the table. Why not give Terrence Lewis a try? Assuming he’s healthy, who do you trust more right now?
  • Iowa State went 6-4 last year at home against power 5 schools and 5-6 the year before. Defending Hilton? Not a chance.
  • Global Warming isn’t a myth! Wake up Sheeple!
  • K State fans grossly misunderstanding how the bowl selection process works and why some teams get picked over others.
  • The Game of Thrones entire final season
  • Rasir Bolton’s jumper. U-G-L-Y

Hallelujah. Where’s the Tylenol.