In November Iowa went 3-4 in it's first 7 games of the season. December was better to them, as they finished 4-2 including, winning two of three to instate rivals. But, besides the record, I want to look at the numbers and see how each player did in December compared to November.
First we'll look at playing time:
Nothing too surprising. The guys at the back of the bench have lost playing time as the schedule gets tougher. Also, Payne hasn't played due to injury, which has increased Cartwright's minutes. Gatens minutes have increased as he has gotten healthier, as have Cole's. The most interesting thing to me is that as the season has gone on, Fran seems to prefer Basabe, Cole, and Brommer over Archie.
Next, let's look at shooting:
Overall, the team shot pretty much the same in November and December. The team effective FG% (weights 3pt FG more than 2pt FG) was 48.93% in November and 48.66% in December. As you can see, Gatens getting healthy and heating up counteracted the negative effects of Eric May slumping all December. Cartwright's shooting slump in December was also counteracted by Cole getting healthier and Brommer shooting better.
Points Per Game:
Just like in the graph above, Gatens and May switched roles in December. Gatens' thumb is obviously feeling a lot better, as he doubled his points per game from November to December. Interestingly enough, Cartwright actually averaged about 1.5 more points per game in December even though he shot 7% worse. The post players in Basabe, Cole, and Brommer all took advantage of their increased playing time, showing upticks in their points per game in December.
Getting to the Free Throw Line:
Jarryd Cole doubled his rate of getting to the line in December. He went from 0.42 free throws attempted per field goals attempted to 0.86 free throws attempted per field goals attempted. That's a huge jump. Now, we can see why Cartwright may have seen a slight increase in points per game, even with his shooting being worse. He increased his free throw rate from 0.22 to 0.32 in December. Gatens and Basabe saw sizable drops in their free throw rate in December.
Free Throw Shooting:
Free throw shooting was interesting to watch in December. For some reason it seemed like the team couldn't buy a free throw, and it really hurt them in their losses vs Illinois and Iowa State (shooting 53.33% and 52.17% respectively). Iowa as a team shot 60.31% in December after shooting 67.08% in November. Ignore Archie's drop, he went 0-2 on free throws in December. I even took Archie out of the free throw rate graph above because he was a huge outlier. Gatens got to the line less in December and shot a little worse than in November, but he still shot a good percentage. The 7% drop seems to come mostly from the post players, as Basabe, Cole, and Brommer all shot worse in December. Also, Devyn Marble shot worse too.
Points in the Paint:
Looking at the percentage of points from field goals in the paint (not including points from free throws), Gatens game really looks interesting. Gatens is shooting much better from the floor, and yet he is scoring a much larger percentage of his points outside of the paint. This is another hint that Gatens really is healthy, as he's making harder shots. This also gives us an idea of why May is slumping. He is not getting as much of his points in the paint as he was in November. If he's shooting longer shots instead of driving the lane, that could be why he's struggling. It looks as if Cartwright was indeed getting more of his points at the free throw line, as he isn't scoring as much in the lane. That would also probably explain his shooting dip in December. Good news is that Cole was getting more baskets in the paint in December and so was Basabe. Brommer, obviously, only scores in the paint.
3 Point Shooting:
Looking at the percentage of points scored via 3pt FG, we can clearly see that Gatens has found his stroke. He pretty much halved his points in the paint, while doubling his 3pt FG made. May has also scored much more of his points via the 3pt FG in December, but his 3pt FG% of 36.36% is way down from 60% in November. So, May's slump seems to be a result of not getting into the lane enough, and instead settling for longer shots. Gatens can get away with this because he is a shooter. May's talents are his athleticism and he needs to get to the basket. Marble, also, shot a lot better from 3pt range in December.
Overall, the team rebounded about the same in November and December. They grabbed 54.65% of all rebounds in November and 53.37% in December. The big thing to notice from this graph is Jarryd Cole. In November he was hampered by a bad foot. In December though he has been back to his explosive self. He pretty much doubled his rebounding rate in December.
Once again, look at Cole. In November he was a shell of himself on the offensive boards, and in December he has exploded on the scene. He effectively quadrupled his offensive rebounding rate. This could explain why he averaged more points per game, more points in the paint, and got to the free throw line more in December. Second chances are good, and Cole is giving them. Basabe also, showed a slight increase. Brommer did take a plunge, but overall, the team only grabbed about 2% less offensive rebounds in December than November.
Cole again, increased his defensive rebounding in December too. Brommer and Basabe did the opposite of what they did with offensive rebounding, as Basabe took a dip and Brommer increased. Cartwright and May pulled down some extra defensive rebounds in December. Overall, Iowa increased their defensive rebounding by about 2% in December. This team looks to be a good rebounding team.
Iowa's assist rate increased in December, going from 18.06% of possessions ending with an assisted field goal to 21.13%. Turnovers even dropped slightly in December, as 20.39% of their possessions ended in a turnover. That is down from 21.39% in November.
Overall, Iowa was a very similar team from November to December. They won more games in December, but there were a couple of games they should have probably won in November (Long Beach State and Wake Forest). Even the Iowa State game was in reach for the Hawkeyes in December. They have been really close to having two or three more wins. This team is young, and according to the stats, is only clearly better than Penn State and maybe Indiana in the conference. However, this team has been pretty good defensively, and can really rebound. Don't be surprised if they do catch a few teams off guard in the Big 10 this year.