Defensive issues plague the Hawkeyes

Evan Bruner, Sporter Reporter

Obviously, the absence of sophomore guard and starter C.J. Fredrick over the last couple of weeks has contributed to No. 15 Iowa’s recent skid. Even after Fredrick returns, however, the Hawkeyes will still face a bevy of issues.

The Hawkeyes aren’t balanced enough to consistently win in the Big Ten Conference. They have become too reliant on their offense to win games. According to KenPom, the Hawkeyes have the best offense and 121st-ranked defense in all of college basketball. Per KenPom, Iowa’s defense is the worst in the Big Ten.

Iowa’s elite offense allows it to get away with playing subpar defense at times, but that isn’t a recipe for a deep run in the NCAA tournament. Only one team has made the final four in the last decade with a KenPom defensive rating lower than 47th.

As good as the Big Ten is this year, Iowa can’t afford play poorly on the defensive end of the floor. Defensive stops are the key to winning games late. If Iowa is trailing late in games, it seemingly can’t get the stops it needs to win.

When the offense is firing on all cylinders, the Hawkeyes are almost unstoppable. If the offense struggles, however, Iowa struggles — primarily because its defense isn’t good enough to win games.

Iowa’s defensive problems are fixable. At times, the Hawkeyes have had nice spurts defensively. But until the defense starts to regularly play better, it’s difficult to see the Hawkeyes making a deep run in March.

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