Iowa Can't Contain Explosive Michigan
Willhite, Lindsey, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Lindsey Willhite Daily Herald Sports Writer
You are Iowa coach Tom Davis. You don't want your team to wind up like referee Ed Hightower, who got run over by Michigan's Tractor Traylor immediately after the opening tip.
That's why you devise a zone defense to surround the all-Big Ten center, who entered Friday afternoon's Big Ten quarterfinal averaging 16.1 points per game - including 21.3 in the last four.
You tell your perimeter defenders to sag on Traylor inside, but also to keep an eye on junior sharpshooter Louis Bullock and his 16.9 point average.
You decide to ignore guard Robbie Reid, who had hit 10 of his 47 3-point attempts dating back to Jan. 25.
You head back to Iowa City without realistic hope of making the NCAA Tournament.
Reid swished 4 of 5 wide-open 3-pointers in the first half to open up a big Michigan lead that turned into a 77-66 victory.
The Wolverines (22-8), who hit 8 of 12 3-pointers in the first half, will face Minnesota (15-14) in today's first semifinal at 1 p.m.
"You've got to give up something," said Traylor, who was held to 10 points but contributed 16 rebounds and 2 blocks.
In the case of Iowa (20-10), it likely means giving up its dream of an NCAA berth.
The Hawkeyes entered the game ranked 68th in the NCAA's all-important RPI Index. Last year, the 55th-ranked team was the last one to get an at-large berth, but Davis isn't ready to face facts.
"I feel good about the fact we will be playing somewhere this next week," Davis said. "I don't want (our guys) to be too disappointed if we don't make it on Sunday because, frankly, it is very much up in the air. …