Iowa beat North Florida on Monday night, a win that moved the Hawkeyes to 9-4 on the season but didn’t do much to hide the issues that plague this team.
They struggle coming out in the second half. They struggle dealing with adversity. They don’t have anyone that can answer a run. They don’t defend when they need to defend.
Anyone can see it, and in a refreshingly honest postgame interview, UNF head coach Matthew Driscoll, who is close with Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery, said exactly that.
“Here’s your problem with your guys,” Driscoll said. “Your guys, they get down when they miss a shot. Coach doesn’t get on them, coach doesn’t sub them, Coach doesn’t do anything. Your guys have to get a little bit thicker skin and understand I’m going to miss some shots but I can’t let it affect the next one. Just from watching your games on tape and preparing for this game, that’s the one thing I saw is maybe a head drop or some things like that where guys, you could just see.”
“It’s not a confidence thing, because obviously they’ve got guys who can shoot the ball. It’s not a confidence that they can’t make them. It’s a confidence thing where if they miss like one they’re like, ‘Man.’ So I think that’s something that they’ve got to fix, and I think it’s personal. I think they need to fix it.”
When asked about it, McCaffery was honest as well, telling the media that Driscoll was right.
“Well, yeah, it’s accurate,” McCaffery said. “He’s a really good coach. He’s been around. I’ve known him a long time. He’s done a terrific job there. I guarantee, he’s watched every one of our games probably twice. So he is qualified to make those remarks. But, I mean, so are you. You’ve seen it.”
Part of what made Iowa’s loss to Iowa State so disappointing was that it looked like the Hawkeyes had finally turned a corner, that, after out-toughing North Carolina in Chapel Hill, that they had figured out a way to win close games without folding.
And then they got embarrassed by their arch rival on their home floor, rolling over and taking the beating instead of fighting back.
Here’s the bigger issue: I’m not sure that’s something that can be changed or developed or coached up.