Remember 2 seasons ago, when a sophomore class of Aaron White, Oglesby, and Olesani combined with energetic freshman Gesell, Woodbury and Clemmons to make Iowa credible again. With Marble and UW transfer Uthoff, Iowa was suppose to make the jump to the contenders of the Big Ten last season but it didn't happen. They collapsed down the stretch losing 7 of their last 8 games including the first round games of the Big Ten and NCAA tourney. Iowa struggled against the best teams going 2-6 vs. UW, MSU, OSU, and MI. They also went 0-3 vs. the other good non-conference teams they played, Tennessee, Villanova, and Iowa St. This year's team doesn't look to be any better.
Iowa's strength is their size in the front court and senior Aaron White who is a fun player to watch. White is leading the team in scoring, shooting 59%FG and 85%FT while averaging 7FTA/game. He grabs 7.6 rebounds/game and is 3rd in assists. Iowa splits the center minutes between junior Woodbury and senior Olaseni. Both are steady and productive rebounding the ball and shooting a good percentage but neither have developed much offensively. Junior Uthoff is a good shooter and all around player but like this entire Iowa team, he is a bit soft. Freshman Uhl has got some minutes but has not shown anything to make one think he will be a contributor this season.
The back court has been absolutely terrible so far this year. If Iowa has any hope, it is that they cannot possibly continue to be this bad. Gesell is the rare player whose best season was his freshman year. It is really quite shocking. Each season he has had a decrease from the season before in minutes, FGA, FTA, 3FGA, rebounds, FG%, FT%, 3FG% and of couse, points/game. Clemmons is Iowa's answer for how to replace Marble. This is the same Clemmons who was benched at the end of last season, and was so bad he couldn't get back on the court during their collapse. Oglesby is a poor defensive player who gets on the court due to his ability to shoot the 3. His freshman and junior years he shot 37% and 40% 3FG, but his sophomore year he was 27%. He is shooting 27% so far again this year. Off the bench Iowa has sophomore Jok and JC transfer sophomore Dickerson who both play limited minutes. They don't bring any relief to the shooting woes as they are shooting 29% and 31% respectively.
I liked Iowa last year, but I am officially off the Iowa bandwagon. They recently gave McCaffrey a contract extension which is fine by me, as I don't think he is a very good coach. They have the look of a team destined for the NIT for the foreseeable future. I don't expect them to improve over last year and I think they will be on the outside of the bubble looking in this year.