Two things came to my mind after Iowa dispatched of perennial college basketball power North Carolina Tuesday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. They were 'whew' and 'there's plenty of room for improvement.' The latter speaks to the expectations for the 2020-21 squad.

Third-ranked Iowa defeated #16 North Carolina 93-80. It was Iowa's fourth straight game scoring at least 90 points to start the season. The Hawks are averaging 98 points in their first four games, by the way. Let's start with the good because, obviously, there was plenty.

Iowa had four players in double figures last night. The lowest total of the four belonged to Luka Garza. The girth and height of North Carolina's bigs definitely impacted Luka, who still managed 16 points. However, 6 for 20 from the field is not your typical Garza night. It was still an impressive one for the Iowa big man who had 14 rebounds, four blocked shots, and a pair of assists. Iowa Sports Information says it was the 24th double-double (double figures in points and rebounds) of his Iowa career. He's also now seventh in all-time scoring at Iowa, passing legendary guard Ronnie Lester last night.

Iowa's leading scorer Tuesday night was Linn-Mar prep Jordan Bohannon. He hit the mark on seven of sixteen three-pointers in the game and finished with 24 points. Bohannon is now in the top 20 scorers of all-time at Iowa, passing James Moses last night.

Right behind Bohannon was fellow guard C.J. Fredrick, who poured in 21, including five makes in seven attempts from three-point land. The five made threes equaled a career-high.

Joe Wieskamp also made five of seven three-pointers last night, finishing with 19 points. He also had 9 rebounds and five assists. As is usually the case with Joe, you look at his stat line and go 'Wow. Really?' A quiet, very effective, and consistent player.

Iowa trailed a total of 51 seconds in the game, all around the midway point of the second half when Iowa's transition defense was, well, not good. After Iowa retook the lead on a Bohannon 3-point bomb with 8:53 left in the game, they wouldn't be challenged again.

We saw three concerning things last night.

  1. Iowa, which had shot 76 percent from the line in its first three games, was just 8 of 14 Tuesday night. Thankfully, North Carolina struggled mightily as well (12 of 20).
  2. Iowa's transition defense wasn't good. North Carolina outscored Iowa 24-6 on the fast break. Iowa looked fatigued at times, not surprising considering how young the season is and the ease with which Iowa had won their three previous games.
  3. The third concern, North Carolina's ability to slow Garza and force Iowa to shoot the three, wasn't much of a negative last night with the Hawks hitting 17 of 40 three-point attempts. Iowa made 11 of 22 in the first half before cooling in the second stanza.

Iowa showcased its depth last night, and not just among the starters. Only four players came off the bench, but they all made an impact.

  • Jack Nunge played the most minutes off the bench (22) and scored four points, grabbed three rebounds, and doled out two assists.
  • Joe Toussaint's speed was key as he slowed North Carolina and also scored six points and handed out three assists.
  • Patrick McCaffery grabbed four rebounds and had two assists, including a gorgeous alley-oop pass to Nunge.
  • Finally, Keegan Murray had three points on an incredible offensive rebound that he finished by completing a three-point play.

There was nothing to indicate last night that this isn't going to be a fun season to be a Hawkeye fan. Iowa has now won 16 of their last 17 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Next up is in-state rival Iowa State. The game tips off Friday night at 8 p.m. on Big Ten Network.

Top 20 Battle: Iowa/North Carolina 12-8-20

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