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Instant Reaction: Wisconsin 65, Iowa 42

(Reese Strickland/USA Today sports)

Iowa (21-9, 10-9) dropped their third straight on Thursday night, falling to Wisconsin (21-9, 13-6), by a score of 65-42 at the Kohl Center in Madison. Some initial thoughts on the loss:

  • This team is in full self-destruct mode. Coming off two embarrassing losses, one might have imagined Iowa would show up to the Kohl Center with something to prove. Instead, the Big Ten’s leading scoring offense managed just 42 points on 29.3 percent shooting, including 19 percent from three-point range. For what seems like the 100th consecutive year, Wisconsin’s arrow is pointing straight up down the stretch while Iowa watches hopelessly from the sidelines as the Badgers gear up for their annual postseason run.
  • I wish Fran McCaffery had been coaching this game, if only so I could lament the $9 million buyout he would be owed if Iowa were to move on after this season.
  • Most outlets still have the Hawkeyes down as a lock for the NCAA Tournament, though they’ve gone from a potential five or six seed to a likely nine or 10 in the span of a month. A bid to the Big Dance is wonderful, but is it a little less wonderful when it doesn’t feel deserved? The way this team has played down the stretch is downright troubling, and it’s hard to see the situation improving in time for a mid-March turnaround.
  • How long ago do the Jordan Bohannon and Joe Wieskamp heroics seem?
  • Iowa closes the season Sunday at Nebraska. Another bad loss seems imminent, but they have one last shot to create some positive momentum before the conference tournament. Their performance against the Cornhuskers will give us a crystal-clear picture of how this season is going to end—if you believe haven’t seen that picture already.

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