Final Horn: Iowa 82, Michigan 71

Zach Shaw

IOWA CITY — Bubbling with confidence after a win over No. 3 Maryland on Tuesday, the Michigan basketball team traveled to Iowa for what very well could be its toughest game of the year on Sunday.

Even without leading scorer and senior guard Caris LeVert, the Wolverines (3-2 Big Ten, 13-5 overall) stood tall against the 16th-ranked Hawkeyes. But battling one of the nation’s best defenses, Michigan faltered in the second half and left with a 82-71 loss.

MVP: Jared Uthoff. Iowa looks like the best team in the Big Ten, and Uthoff very well could be the conference’s best player. Iowa’s senior forward dominated the floor Sunday, scoring 20 points on 18 shots and carrying the brunt of Iowa’s workload throughout the entire game.

On Michigan’s side, junior guard Derrick Walton and sixth man Aubrey Dawkins tried to keep the Wolverines afloat, combining for six made threes in the second half.

Key Stat: Michigan had an uncharacteristic 13 turnovers Sunday, giving the ball away on 21% of its offensive possessions. Iowa outscored Michigan 16-6 in points off of turnovers and giveaways seemed to ruin Michigan momentum time-and-again leading to easy baskets on the other end of the floor.

While the Wolverines and Hawkeyes were relatively even statistically, turnovers proved to be the dagger in Michigan’s upset hopes.

It was over when: Michigan was able to survive an 11-0 deficit to start the game and a 13-5 toward the end of the first half. But when the Hawkeyes outscored the Wolverines, 12-0 in the middle of the second half, Michigan buried itself in a hole it could not dig out of.

Aubrey Dawkins and Derrick Walton Jr. combined for three straight three-pointers to cut the Michigan defecit to six points twice in the final four minutes, but Peter Jok and Jarrod Uthoff answered. Uthoff had two free throws and an up-and-under layup and Jok hit a back-breaking three-pointer in the corner to put the Wolverines away.

Room for Improvement: Defense.  Michigan’s offense sputtered in the loss, but 1.14 points per possession on the road with Caris LeVert is a strong performance. The Wolverines allowed 1.31 points per trip to the Hawkeyes, marking their worst defensive performance of the season.

Four Factors:

four facotrs iowa
  • Barth Applefeld

    Great game. Nice article. 13 turnovers on the road against a team that leads the Big Ten in forcing turnovers (I believe) is well within the predictable range even if less than desired. So too would the poor two point shooting–another factor caused by Iowa–but I wish Walton would break out of his two point slump.

    • They shot 56% on twos, so that’s not really a problem. I will tell you that Michigan never expects to give the ball away on a fifth of its possessions though.

      • bobohle

        Correct! The turnovers did them in. This would fall under the category as a quality loss especially without Levert. We still do not have what the Selection Committee would consider a bad loss on the resume.

      • Barth Applefeld

        Thanks for the correction. I should have looked at the box score closer, but I still think I’m half right that 13 turnovers against Iowa on the road without your top scorer and a primary ball handler is not to shabby. I also think the poor shooting from our top three scorers is not entirely unrelated to the Iowa defense: Walton was 5-14 (2 for 3 from 2 point land); Irvin was 3-8 (2-6 from 2 point land) and Robinson was 3-9 (1-1 from 2 point land). Such numbers will usually cause you to lose games against quality opponents, especially on the road.

  • Champswest

    I was pretty happy with the effort today against one of the better teams in the country on their home court. Iowa with 4 senior starters and UM with no seniors period. If we keep playing hard and getting better, the future is bright.