Iowa went 7-5 in non-conference play this year. But, since the Big 10 schedule kicked off, wins have been few and far between for the Hawkeyes. Going just 2-8 in conference play so far. So, what has been the difference? Let's find out.
As you can see, Iowa's shooting hasn't really changed in Big 10 play. Instead, it's been their opponents shooting that has been much better since conference play started. Non-conference opponents shot a combined 44.69% effective FG%, while Big 10 opponents have shot 56.64%. Let's break the shooting down a little bit.
Two point and three point field goal percentage:
We already know Iowa is shooting pretty much the same between both halves of their schedule (even though they are shooting a little better from three point range in Big 10 play). Their opponents, though, have shot about 10% better a piece on their two point field goal attempts and their three point field goal attempts. It's not a surprise that these numbers have gone up, but a 10% increase is a lot. You're not going to win a lot of games when you get outshot by your opponents like Iowa has in conference play.
Offensive efficiency and defensive efficiency:
Offensive and defensive efficiency are simply just points per possession multiplied 100, to show what a team would score on offense or give up on defense in 100 possessions (it's like points per game, but adjusted for pace of play). Iowa is scoring slightly less in conference play, dropping by 1 point per 100 possessions. But, that hasn't really been the problem.
Seeing that Iowa has had trouble stopping Big 10 opponents from shooting really well, it shouldn't be a surprise that defensive efficiency is where Iowa see's the most trouble. In non-conference play they only allowed 87.56 points per 100 possessions. In conference play, however, they have allowed 113.26 points per 100 possessions. Don't expect these numbers to change all that much though. The Big 10, obviously, has a lot of firepower this year.
Iowa was a dominant rebounding team during the non-conference portion of their schedule. Now that they are in Big 10 play, not so much. They went from grabbing 72.64% of all defensive rebounds available in non-conference play to 61.76% in Big 10 play. That is a huge drop. Offensive rebounding rate has dropped too, but not anywhere near as much as defensive rebounding rate. The Hawkeyes pulled down 36.43% of all offensive rebounds available against non-conference opponents, but only 33.02% in conference play. We should expect a small drop in rebounding since Iowa is playing harder competition now, but the defensive rebounding is just ridiculous. That needs to be fixed.
Assists and Turnovers:
Finally, let's look at assists and turnovers. Just like the rest of the categories above, the offense has been basically the same. They have seen a 1% increase in their assist rate (percentage of possessions ending with an assisted field goal), but nothing real huge. Once again, the defense has been the difference.
To go right along with the huge increase in shooting, Big 10 opponents have seen a much larger percentage of their possessions end with an assisted field goal than non-conference opponents did. Iowa is also forcing a turnover on 22.10% of Big 10 opponents possessions compared to 23.26% against non-conference opponents. That's not a huge difference, but when you are allowing 10% more assists, the last thing you want to do is force less turnovers.
To summarize, Iowa's offense has actually been pretty consistent since transitioning into playing against Big 10 defenses. However, the same cannot be said for the defense guarding Big 10 offenses. Big 10 teams are shooting a ridiculous effective FG% against Iowa, which has also led to a huge uptick in the number of assists allowed by the Hawkeyes. The amount of turnovers Iowa has forced is also slightly down in conference play, but Iowa is still very good at making other teams cough the ball up.
The other main problem besides opponents shooting, has been rebounding. Specifically, defensive rebounding. Since Big 10 play has started, Iowa has been giving opponents way too many second chances opportunities. The rate at which Iowa was grabbing offensive rebounds has also dropped, but to a much lesser degree than the defensive rebounds have. Let's hope these problems get smaller as the season goes on. This is a young team, and it wouldn't be reasonable to expect them to fix them overnight. Hopefully, though, we can see progress as the season winds to an end. Progress gives us something to look forward to for next year.