The Morning After: Northern Iowa

Blake Simmons was the only Ace in double figures, scoring a career-high 16 points.

Blake Simmons was the only Ace in double figures, scoring a career-high 16 points.

Stories from UNI’s handling of Evansville:

–Courier & Press: http://bit.ly/1euJH3I
–Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier: http://bit.ly/1glxAaK

Some observations:

–That was probably the worst effort by the team all season. UE seemed deflated right from the start after UNI took an 11-point lead minutes into the game, and it all went downhill from there. The numbers weren’t bad — 40 percent from the field, 43 percent from beyond the arc (just 3-of-7 though), 30 points in the paint — but the effort just didn’t seem to be there. Fifteen turnovers is definitely high, and the Aces have done worse, but when passes into the lane are easily deflected or stolen or a player is stripped on a drive and nothing’s done to change it, that’s an issue.

–I know I’m beating a dead horse here, but missed layups keeps hurting UE. There’s no stat for missed layups, but there were several last night. Lots were off-balance shots or hit a bad angle off the glass. Of course it takes awareness to control your body and shot when a defender is contesting your shot and that happens, but that doesn’t happen every time. If I was a coach, though, I’d rather be seeing my players driving to the basket than taking long-range shots. A few more made layups is a simple fix that should bring more confidence back to the team.

–Starting off 0-3 in the conference is obviously not the way UE imagined to start, but losing those three games by an average of 24.7 points per game isn’t acceptable. The Aces play Southern Illinois in Carbondale this weekend, a manageable game, but the Valley schedule doesn’t get easier. UE still has to play Wichita State and Missouri State twice — two of the league’s top teams — and has to play Indiana State in Terre Haute after losing to the Sycamores by 28 last Saturday. With the Salukis’ win over Loyola last night, UE is the last team in the league. So far, no good news for the Aces. Things need to change.

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