Brown: Badgers' win over Iowa embarrassingly easy
MADISON, Wis. – Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan called time out with 31 seconds to play in the first half Tuesday at the Kohl Center. And then this happened.
The Badgers' Frank Kaminsky got the ball on the right wing, drove past Iowa defenders Aaron White, Dominique Uhl and Trey Dickerson and threw down a dunk. Embarrassingly easy. Which pretty much sums up No. 6 Wisconsin's 82-50 drubbing of No. 25 Iowa.
The Hawkeyes, a team that had gotten off to a surprising 4-1 start in Big Ten play and had a 3-0 record in true road games, fell behind from the get-go and got crushed by the Big Ten favorites. This was a haymaker Iowa coach Fran McCaffery didn't see coming.
"Yeah, I mean, I don't think we expected to play like we played (Tuesday)," McCaffery said. "I think that's safe to say. We didn't play a good game. We didn't play a game that's typical of who we are. But we also played a really good team who played really well. That was a part of it."
Wisconsin gets a ton of credit for manhandling Iowa.
"I think we were as close to a complete 40-minute game as we have been all year," Wisconsin's Sam Dekker said.
But the Hawkeyes had plenty of self-inflicted moments, too.
"We did some of it to ourselves, and they did some of it to us," McCaffery said. "That's what happens when you go on the road in this league."
Iowa, a team that was impressive enough last week to go from receiving no votes to getting 85 of them from Associated Press poll voters Monday, will have a short stay among the nation's elite. Polls aren't that important this time of the year. But how this team bounces back from Tuesday's disaster certainly is.
At Purdue on Saturday, followed by another meeting with the Badgers on Jan. 31, a road trip to Michigan Feb. 5 and a home game with Maryland Feb. 8. The toughest stretch of the Big Ten season. The lingering question is this: How long will this black eye last?
"It's never as good as it seems or as bad as it seems," McCaffery said.
The Hawkeyes came to town confident they could compete here. In its last three trips to the Kohl Center, Iowa won, lost in double overtime and lost by three points. Instead, Iowa turned in a game that was strikingly similar to a 67-40 loss here in March of 2009 at the tail end of the Todd Lickliter era.
Iowa fell victim to textbook Ryan basketball. The Badgers had just one turnover. That was due to excellent ball-handling and the fact that Iowa didn't play much defense.
Wisconsin moved the ball with precision on offense, getting mismatches and open looks on nearly every possession. The Badgers made nine of 22 3-pointers, with open looks that were the result of sharp ball movement.
Defensively, the Badgers hounded Iowa in the half-court. The Hawkeyes rarely got a clean look at the basket. Wisconsin missed 30 shots, but had 15 offensive rebounds. And the Badgers owned the 50-50 balls, committed just nine fouls and held the Hawkeyes to 10 free-throw attempts.
"We played extremely well," Ryan said.
That's the understatement of the Big Ten season.
Hawkeye columnist Rick Brown is a 10-time Iowa Sportswriter of the Year. Follow him on Twitter: @ByRickBrown.