Rushed Reactions: #5 Northern Iowa 71, #12 Wyoming 54

Posted by Andrew Murawa on March 20th, 2015


Rush the Court will be providing wall-to-wall coverage of each of the NCAA Tournament from each of the 13 sites this year. Follow our NCAA Tourney specific Twitter accounts at @RTCeastregion, @RTCMWregion,@RTCsouthregion and @RTCwestregion.

Three Key Takeaways.

Seth Tuttle and The Panthers May Not Look Like A Top-20 Basketball Team, But They Are (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) )

Seth Tuttle and The Panthers May Not Look Like A Top-20 Basketball Team, But They Are (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) )

  1. Seth Tuttle, Legit. Northern Iowa’s senior big man is not a household name among non-diehard college basketball fans although he dominated against Wichita State in his first big regular season close-up. But in his first NCAA Tournament game, he put on a show for a national television audience, displaying his versatile and disruptive game. Wanna see the 6’8” center run the offense out of the high post? Look no further than his beautiful first-half dime to Jeremy Morgan (who missed the layup). Wanna see his traditional big man moves? He sealed off the longer and more athletic Larry Nance, Jr., received the lob pass and put in an easy dunk. Worried that at just 6’8” he might not be able to do that against a bigger defender? Just watch him step out to the three-point line and drill one from deep. Defensively, he’s physical, disciplined and smart, anticipating the opponent’s plays. In short, he may not be as used to the spotlight as some of the guys in major conferences, but he’s as good of a college basketball player as I’ve seen this year.
  2. Physical, Disciplined, Experienced. You watch Northern Iowa go through the layup line in the pregame and you’re sort of unimpressed. A couple lanky and unexplosive guys in the 6’8” to 6’9” range, average athleticism, small guards. And then the ball is tipped; they run their offense through Tuttle and little point guard Wes Washpun; they clamp down on defense; they pound away on the glass; they exploit defenses to find open shooters. And they’re incredibly well-coached by head coach Ben Jacobson. What does the opponent want to do? Okay, let’s not let them do that. Today it was getting the ball out of Josh Adams’ hands (he scored four points on 2-of-9 shooting) — forcing Larry Nance to either shoot jumpers or go left — and make everybody else beat them. They may not be members of the all-airport team, but these guys can beat a lot of teams in this field. And they certainly won’t beat themselves.
  3. Wyoming Second-Half Life. At the halfway mark, Northern Iowa was up 11 and the Cowboys were fortuntate to be that close. The Panthers came out of the locker room and put together a quick 8-0 run and the next thing you know they were up 21 points and the game was over. Wyoming had shown no life. Larry Nance Jr. had two field goal attempts, two turnovers, two fouls and one point. And then, over the course of four minutes, Nance scored 13 straight points including a couple threes and a couple dunks and, following a Charles Hankerson three, the Cowboys were back within seven. The comeback stalled out, but at the very least, the Cowboys got a chance for a 10-minute second half stretch to show the nation why they were a worthy addition to the Tournament field.

Star of the GameSeth Tuttle, Northern Iowa. The numbers didn’t end up great – 14 points on 12 field goal attempts, nine boards, three dimes – but he showed a little bit of everything for the Panthers today. He’ll need to hit more shots for the Panthers to survive the weekend, but despite some misses, he was consistently the best player on the court.

Sights & Sounds. Derek Cooke. They’re called Dunk Town for a reason. But, apparently, the refs didn’t get the memo, as Cooke was called for a charge on this dunk on the opening play of the game.

Wildcard. Three-Point Shooting Kills. For the year, Northern Iowa is a very good three-point shooting team, knocking in just shy of 40 percent from deep, good for 10th in the nation. Today? They were great, hitting nine of their 18 attempts, with five different guys getting in the action. That wasn’t the sole reason the Panthers won, but they’re going to be an awful tough out against anybody when they’re stroking it at that rate.


  • Northern Iowa Head Coach Ben Jacobson on their defensive game plan: “We were going to get out and show hard on the ball screen with Adams, wanted to make sure we forced him really high on the floor or force him to give it up. And then with Nance, we were going to double him and try to get it out of his hands.”
  • Wyoming Head Coach Larry Shyatt on his graduating seniors: “When I interviewed for this job four years ago, they weren’t talking national championships. Can you find some guys that want to be a piece of something bigger? Can you clean this up? They had about a 1.9 GPA. That’s not something to be proud of. No we’ve got eight straight semesters over 2.8. They work hard, they care and they want to be at Wyoming, which is impressive nowadays.”

What’s Next?  Northern Iowa advances to play the winner of this afternoon’s Louisville/UC Irvine matchup with a trip to the Sweet Sixteen on the line. For Wyoming, four starting seniors have now played their final collegiate game and Larry Shyatt and the Cowboys will be a very different team next season.

AMurawa (999 Posts)

Andrew Murawa Likes Basketball.

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