Saturday, February 26, 2011

Iowa vs Illinois Round II Preview

From the Previous Match up: 
Iowa vs Illinois Round I Recap

Iowa doesn't have a good track record at Assembly Hall. This could be interesting.

Iowa Offense vs Illinois Defense

Let's start with shooting. Iowa dipped below NCAA average after their last game against Michigan. They are now shooting a 48.81% effective FG% on the year. Illinois, on the other hand, has been 7% above NCAA average at contesting shots, holding opponents to a 45.35% effective FG%. They've also been number one during Big 10 play in this category. However, Iowa did shoot a 53.9% effective FG% against the Illini back in January. So, you never know.

Iowa's offensive rebounding has been pretty good this year. Thanks, largely in part, to Basabe, and also Cole. The Hawkeyes have grabbed 34.67% of all offensive rebounds available this year, which is good for 7% above average. Meanwhile, Illinois has grabbed 67.32% of all defensive rebounds, allowing their opponents to pull down 32.68% of all offensive rebounds. That is good enough for a score of 100, which is exactly average. Last time, Iowa dominated the rebounding battle thanks to Cole, who grabbed 9 rebounds (7 offensive!). Basabe, if I remember correctly, was coming off the flu around the Louisiana-Monroe and Illinois games. He only played 12 minutes in this game, but he also had 3 fouls.

Iowa probably won't see the free throw line a whole lot today (unless, they work it inside to Basabe and Cole, who are the best on the team at getting to the free throw line). They are 10% below NCAA average in free throw rate, getting there on about only 34% of their field goal attempts. Illinois is also good at keeping teams off the charity stripe, as they are 14% above average in this category. Opposing teams get their on about 33% of their field goal attempts. Last time Iowa had 15 free throw attempts. So, I could see Iowa getting about the same amount from the free throw line today.

Other than rebounding, turnovers are the best news for Iowa on offense. They are 6% below average, turning the ball over on 21.63% of their possessions this year. However, Illinois is forcing turnovers on only 18.7% of their opponents possessions. That is good for 11% below NCAA average. The last time they played, Iowa did win the turnover battle, only giving the ball up on 19.4% of their possessions. Hopefully, this will happen again.

Illinois Offense vs Iowa Defense

It's weird to me how, both of these teams have the same shooting rating on offense and defense. Iowa, yet again, is 1% below average at contesting opponent shots. On the season, they've allowed opponents to shoot a 49.83% effective FG%. Illiniois is, once again, 7% above average this year, shooting a 52.49% effective FG%. You may remember last time these two played. You know, when Illinois decided to put up an 80.2% effective FG% (!) by going 13-18  from three point range (!!). Thankfully, the odds of that happening again, are very slim.

Once again, Illinois decides to mirror it's defensive rating, as they also grade out to average when it comes to pulling down offensive rebounds. They are pulling down 32.45% of their misses this year. Iowa, however, is only 2% above average, allowing opponents to collect 31.87% of their own misses this year. That number is actually propped up by their non-conference schedule, as Iowa has been terrible at defensive rebounding since Big 10 play has started. In conference play, they have allowed opponents to come down with 35.98% of their misses. That's bad. Although, they held Illinois to a 33% offensive rebounding rate last time, which isn't terrible.

In the previous matchup, Illinois saw the free throw line 13 times, for a free throw rate of 0.27. Their season average of 0.30, is 22% below average. Iowa, on the other hand, has only allowed opponents to get to the free throw line on 27% of their field goal attempts (exactly what Illinois got last time). The Hawekeyes are 43% above NCAA average in this category. Expect the Illini to only see the charity stripe about twelve times or so today.

This side of the turnover battle should also be good. Iowa is 7% above average, forcing a turnover on 21.9% of their opponents possessions. Illinois is 6% above average, giving the ball up on only 19.16% of their possessions. Iowa was able to force Illinois to cough up the basketball on 25.4% of their possessions last time. Repeat please!

  • Iowa player shooting tendencies:
  • Since last weekend, I've added points in the paint. As you can see, Cartwright and Marble are Iowa's two perimeter players, who take a lot of two point jumpers outside the painted area. Eric May is the perimeter player that takes the most shots in the paint. Cole takes a pretty good chunk (42.52%) of his two point field goal attempts outside the paint, also. 
  • Iowa player scoring breakdown:
  • Once again, Cartwright and Marble have scored about 26% of their points on two point jump shots outside of the paint. By far the biggest percentage on the team. Gatens still loves his three's. As does McCabe. Our post players, well they are post players. They do pretty much all their work in the paint. Even though Cole shoots 42% of his shots from outside the paint, he is only making 33.3% of his two point jumpers out there. As I mentioned in parenthesis above, Basabe and Cole do a lot of work from the free throw line.
  • Iowa player points per minute:
  • No real change here. Though, it would be nice if Gatens would get back up over 0.40 points per minute.
  • Illinois player shooting tendencies:
  • Unfortunately, I do not have points in the paint for opposing teams. It took me all night last Saturday to calculate Iowa's from every game this year. I'm not about to do that again for other team's I don't give a crap about. Now, last time they played, McCamey, Richardson, and Cole (Bill Cole, that is) went 13-17 from three point range. Looking at their shooting profile's, it's not surprising that they put up that many attempts from behind the arc. McCamey is the only one of those two that shoots more two point shots than he does three's. Iowa better close hard on the perimeter today. If there's one thing Iowa can't hande, besides teams with a lot of height, it's teams who can shoot from down town. Iowa is not a good shooting team, so they can't afford to be buried by three's.
  • Illinois player scoring breakdown:
  • McCamey shoots more two point shots, but gets more of his points from three point shots (3 > 2, Math!). Richardson and Cole, no surprise, get most of their value from downtown. Big man, Mike Tisdale has been known to shoot from deep. The other big Mike, Mike Davis, has not. 
  • Illinois player points per minute:
  • Of course, McCamey is first on the team. Though, I'm kind of shocked he's only averaging 0.44 points per minute, for some reason I figured he'd be over 0.50. Brandon Paul averages about 21 minutes per game, but he puts the ball in the basket at a pretty high clip in those 21 minutes. After that, Illinois' two big men Mike and Mike average 0.38 and 0.37 points per minute. 
Opposing Players to Watch
  • Demetri McCamey. He's a 48% shooter from behind the arc, but only a 42.4% shooter from inside the arc. Force him to shoot the long two! He averages 14.54 points per game or 18 points per 40 minutes, on a 54.5% effective FG%. He is also a very very good passer. His assist rate of 36.6%, is third in the Big 10 behind Michigan's Darius Morris and Iowa's own Bryce Cartwright. His turnover rate is a little high, sitting at 21.4%, but his assist to turnover ratio of 2.1 is very solid. He pretty much went off last time he played Iowa. He scored 20 points on a 90% effective FG% (!) thanks to hitting 4 of his 5 three point attempts. He also had 10 assists on the night. However, Iowa did force him to give up the ball 5 times, holding true to his assist to turnover ratio. Iowa needs to close out hard on the three point shot, and force McCamey to step up and take the mid-range jumper. Even if he does hit the long two, that is a lower percentage shot, and it is worth one less point.
  • Mike Davis is Illinois' 6'9" inch power forward. He averages 11.86 points per game or 15 points per 40 minutes, on a 52.8% effective FG%. He does all his work down low, so Basabe better be ready. Davis is a very good defensive rebounder, grabbing 18.1% of all opponent misses this year. On the offensive glass, he is simply, meh. He has only grabbed 6% of his team's misses this year. The last time he faced Iowa, he put up 15 points and 6 rebounds. Since Basabe won't be coming back from the flu this game, hopefully Basabe can slow him down. Maybe get a few blocks in the process.
  • Mike Tisdale is the other Big man for Illinois. The 7'1" Center, doesn't do all of his work inside, though. He is shooting 38.9% from three point range this year, and a 53.9% effective FG%. He averages 9.64 points per game or 15 points per 40 minutes. Tisdale is a pretty damn good rebounder, grabbing 11.5% of his team's misses and 17.8% of the opposing team's misses. Against Iowa in January, he only put up 6 points, but he only took 5 shots. He did grab 7 defensive rebounds, however. If Illinois doesn't shoot as well from outside, they may go to Tisdale inside. Because whether it's Cole or Basabe on him, there is a pretty big height advantage for the Illini there.
  • D.J. Richardson is the only one of these four that is not a senior. The sophomore guard, averages 8.82 points per game or 12 points per 40 minutes, on a 53.1% effective FG%. He's also a pretty good shooter from long range, connecting on 38.7% of his attempts this year. As you saw above, 59.33% of his attempts this year have been from long range. Also, 58.30% of his points have come from three pointers. Last time he played Iowa, Richardson put up 17 points, mostly by going 5-7 from three point range. Iowa better close out hard.

This game could get ugly. However, Basabe was coming off of the flu, last time these teams played, and Iowa still kept it close. Cartwright, has also upped his game, since the last time these teams played. If Iowa can get the ball down low, Basabe and Cole can at least get to the free throw line, if they aren't making any shots. Cartwright needs to push the ball into the paint and try to facilitate the offense. If he does this, hopefully, that will get the big men some open lay ups or get Gatens some open looks on the wing. If not, we could see a lot of passing around and jacking up contested shots.

I'll go ahead and give you my prediction now. Iowa will lose this game. Big surprise, I know. Historically, Iowa has been bad at Assembly Hall. Now, I don't care about the past, I care about the present. Presently, Iowa has a really young team, that cannot shoot the ball. Illinois is led by multiple seniors, and a young shooter. Illinois is going to put the ball in the basket, and Iowa can't afford a bad shooting night, because the Illini will bury them early with three pointers if they can. If Illinois is having trouble shooting, they may try working Tisdale inside, as Iowa is devoid of height. Iowa needs to close out hard on the shooters, and force guys like McCamey to make long two's. If they can do that, win the rebounding and turnover battle, like they did last time they played, Iowa has a chance.
However, that is a lot to ask.  Iowa doesn't have anybody who can guard McCamey. Cartwright's defense, is not one of the things that has drawn the praise of Iowa fans this year. If Fran put's Marble on him, that could be interesting as well, to see a freshman try to guard a Senior like McCamey.

The last game had 67 possessions, which is pretty much the season average for both of these teams. If we say that this game will have 67 possessions, and multiply their points per possessions, we get Illinois winning by a score of 72-67. However, since it's a road game for Iowa (they average 0.93 points per possession on the road compared to 1.04 at home this year) , I'm going to predict they shoot a little worse, and Illinois shoot's a little better. That makes my prediction, Iowa loses 62-74 (Iowa averages 0.93 points per possession, and Illinois 1.10).  As always, I'll finish with a, prove me wrong, Iowa.

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