Men’s basketball looks to improve rebounding against Minnesota


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Iowa’s only senior Jarryd Cole broke down the team’s devastating overtime loss on Wednesday to No. 13 Wisconsin as simply as he could.

Actually, he may have summed up basketball in its basic terms.

“The aggressor always wins,” he stated following the defeat, wearing a fatherly corduroy jacket over his shirt and tie.

As Cole enters his final six regular-season games, it is the Kansas City native’s best skill — rebounding — that must be taught to the rest of the squad before his departure.

Usually a loss has numerous causes. Perhaps it was defense and untimely shooting. Or maybe a bad turnover and fast-break points.

For Iowa, the Wisconsin game has a singular reason. Almost all fingers can be pointed at the rebounding column.

Specifically, the 16 offensive rebounds that Iowa (10-14, 3-9) gave up to the Badgers.

One of the main reasons the Hawkeyes surrender so many offensive rebounds is that they typically do not send guards to the glass. This is because the team is antsy to run a fast break, therefore guards, such as Bryce Cartwright or Eric May, will look for an outlet pass when a shot is put up.

But after Wednesday, Iowa players will perhaps cool their jets about running down court so quickly.

“You have to stay on defense when you know you want to get out and run and play offense,” junior guard Matt Gatens said. “It’s got to be a total team effort getting the rebounds.”

Cole echoed that, saying that when Iowa’s big men aren’t able to get all the missed shots, more people need to follow.

“We’re going to have to fix it real quick,” he said. “[We need to] get the post guys to rebound and get the guards in to get a couple if we have to.”

Now, the Hawkeyes will have to quell the best rebounding team in the Big Ten on Feb. 13, when Minnesota tries to escape Carver-Hawkeye Arena unscathed.

The Golden Gophers (16-8, 5-7) are led by 6-8 redshirt junior Trevor Mbakwe, who as of Thursday — before his team’s contest with Illinois — was tied for the Big Ten lead in rebounding average with Ohio State star Jared Sullinger. Both grab 10.3 boards per contest.

And if the last meeting is any indication, the Hawkeyes could again have trouble recovering the rock after a bounce off the rim.

The team from Minneapolis gave Iowa fits when it came to rebounding in the team’s Jan. 16 meeting this year, when the Golden Gophers grabbed 15 offensive rebounds. The Hawkeyes lost that contest by 10.

“Up there, we had problems with that,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said. “They were going on the glass … So we’ve got a lot of work to do in terms of getting us ready to make sure we rebound.”

The elders of the team — that is to say McCaffery and Cole — didn’t want to say that Iowa will change the way it rebounds. As a team with a focus on the fast break, there’s little room to run if Cartwright and Gatens are trying to corral boards.

Because of this, Cole believes an improvement in rebounding numbers will come from effort, not a new scheme.

“[Against Wisconsin] we got kind of lax,” he said. “You can’t do that.”

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