Aaron White and Jarrod Uthoff combined for 36 points, 18 boards and seven assists as Iowa went into Columbus and knocked off No. 20 Ohio State, 71-65, in Tuesday afternoon’s Big Ten opener.
With the win, Iowa’s season gets stranger.
Heading into the season, the Hawkeyes looked like they had a chance to play their way into the top four of the Big Ten this season, but with early-season losses to Syracuse, Texas, Iowa State (at home) and Northern Iowa tempered those expectations. But here’s the thing: Iowa also went into North Carolina and knocked off the Tar Heels, toughing out a win on the road with, of all things, their defense.
That happened again on Tuesday, as Iowa held Ohio State’s star guard D’angelo Russell to 4-for-16 shooting from the floor and again avoided a second half meltdown; they led 43-31 at the break.
So what do we make of this Iowa team? I have no idea, but I do know this: the Big Ten is wide open after Wisconsin, meaning that there’s no reason why this Iowa team, if they put it all together, can’t wind up finishing second in the league.
And yes, I’m aware of how weird that sounds. I can’t believe that I actually wrote it.
Back to Ohio State for a second. Russell is a guy that is already getting all kinds of accolades — he showed up on our Midseason All-American and Player of the Year lists — but the majority of his damage has been done against the little guys. When he’s played high-major opponents, he’s 16-for-58 from the floor and 6-for-27 from three, averaging 11.8 points in four games.
If Russell isn’t going to play well, the Buckeyes are in serious trouble. No one else on that roster is a real threat to score.