On Friday night, Iowa became the latest victim of a Division II team in an exhibition game.
The Hawkeyes dropped a 76-74 decision to Augustana on a buzzer beater from Dan Jansen.
(h/t Kyle Mann)
“You just have to tell Jansen, you know what, great play,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said after the game. “We pressed up on everybody. We made him use all the clock. He made a contested shot. You don’t want to foul him. You don’t want to give him an uncontested layup. If they’re going to beat you, it’s got to be a tough two. He made a tough two.”
It’s worth remembering that this kind of stuff happens in the preseason when teams are working on stuff and coaches are working out their rotations. An example of this all working out in the end comes from UAB, who last year lost to UNC-Pembroke before going on to win the Conference USA Tournament and get to the NCAA Tournament’s Round of 32. Plus, Augustana is the No. 1 team in Division II, and Jansen is a guy who would look good at any mid-major across America.
McCaffery explained the decision to play a strong team in the preseason after the game.
“There’s two ways to look at this game,” McCaffery said. “You can schedule it or not, okay? We could have found a team that won eight games last year very easily. We scheduled a team that won 31 games. Most teams won’t play them, okay? But I felt like we needed a game like this right here. When you look at our schedule, we play next Friday and Sunday. We got Marquette, Iowa State. You look at who we have, Florida State. The tournament in Orlando. We better play somebody good who is going to expose some of our weaknesses as opposed to you win by 25 and you don’t really know where your weaknesses are yet.”
You have to applaud Iowa for scheduling a strong team. But even with those mitigating factors, it’s really not a great look for the school. Before tonight, I can honestly say that I had more familiarity with the band Augustana than the university. It’s pretty clear at this point that the Hawkeyes have a lot of work to do, and will need to clean up their play if they want to go back to the NCAA Tournament like they have in each of the last two seasons.