Aaron White: We're still one of better teams in country

Chad Leistikow

CHICAGO – Aaron White loves watching basketball on TV. But he might turn his attention away from what happens on the United Center hardwood the next three days.

That's how much Thursday's 67-58 loss to Penn State in Iowa's Big Ten Tournament opener stings.

"It's going to be hard for me to watch the rest of this tournament, to be honest," said White, who moved past 1,800 points in his Hawkeye career with 21 more Thursday.

BROWN: Bad loss a confidence crusher for Hawkeyes

A senior leader on a tight-knit Hawkeye team, White knows it's essential to regroup quickly. After White and Jarrod Uthoff (17 points), Iowa's other seven players scored just 20 points.

Backup point guard Anthony Clemmons played 23 minutes but didn't score and had one assist to five turnovers. Starting center Adam Woodbury had two points and two rebounds in 12 minutes, a season low.

"It's all about learning from our mistakes and getting better," Woodbury said. "We've got to watch the film and try to improve on some things."

Shooting guard Peter Jok scored three points – after getting held to zero in the regular-season finale. He's shooting 7-for-30 in his past five games after scoring in double digits in five of six.

"Struggling. He's got to get it figured out," Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. "We'll help him. He's a great kid. He's a really good player."

The urgency across the board is obvious now, especially for seniors White, Josh Oglesby and Gabe Olaseni. Iowa will be selected for the NCAA Tournament on Sunday, then will play either next Thursday or Friday.

At that point, it's one-and-done for White's Iowa career.

"I still think we're one of the better teams in the country," White said. "We'll get another opportunity to prove that in the NCAAs. I'm still confident in our team."