Saturday, February 5, 2011

Iowa vs Indiana Men's Baskeball Preview: Round II

Iowa vs Indiana Preview: Round I

Iowa vs Indiana Recap: Round I

Last time this game was played, I didn't get to watch most of it because the NFC Championship game was on. But, when I did see catch the game during commercials, Iowa was dominating. That was at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, though. While, Iowa is 2-3 in home conference games this year. They are 0-5 on the road. Indiana has a similar home/road split. They are 3-2 at home, and 0-5 on the road in Big 10 play. Not to mention, in their last three games they have beaten Illinois and Minnesota (two teams that beat Iowa), and they took Sparty (a team who Iowa crushed) to overtime and only lost by one point. Did I mention that they are doing this while missing star players? When Iowa beat them they were missing Maurice Creek and Verdell Jones III. This time they will have Jones III back, but he isn't 100%, and they will be missing Christian Watford, who just happened to put up 30 points on Iowa last time out. So, who knows what to expect?

Iowa Offense vs Indiana Defense

The thing to keep an eye on, is the free throw rate. Indiana has a ridiculously hard time not fouling guys. Last time these teams played, Indiana put the Hawkeyes on the line 39 times (a 0.75 free throw rate!). Almost 30% of Iowa's points that game came from uncontested shots at the free throw line. When you give a team that many free opportunities. You're probably not going to win all that much.

The second thing is shooting. Iowa shot a 61.5% effective FG% in the first game. That's about 13% above their season average. Indiana obviously has trouble contesting shots (8% below NCAA average), so Iowa could have another hot shooting day today.

As for offensive rebounding, Iowa grabbed 34.5%, which is basically their season average (34.99%). So, Indiana's 65.5% defensive rebounding rate was also very close to Iowa's average allowed for the year.

Iowa ended 24.4% of their possessions with a turnover last game against Indiana, which is a higher rate than Indiana has forced them on the season (20.53%). Normally, I would expect that number to drop, but they are on the road, so I wouldn't be shocked to see it go up either.

Indiana Offense vs Iowa Defense

Big 10 opponents have shot lights out against Iowa this year. Only three Big 10 games have been the exception to that rule, and one of them was the Indiana game two weeks ago. Indiana has shot a 53.81% effective FG% this year, but the first time they played Iowa they only shot 42.9%. Nobody had their offensive game together for Indiana, except for Watford. Watford won't play today, but they will have Jordan Hulls (who had a nightmare of a shooting game against Iowa last time) and Verdell Jones III. I would expect Hulls to shoot better this time, and I would expect Indiana to shoot better, overall, as well.

As for Iowa's defensive rebounding, Iowa grabbed 63% last time vs Indiana, which is about 5% less than their season average (68.15%).  That means that Indiana's 37% offensive rebounding rate, was also about 5% more than Iowa has allowed on the season. That can be attributed to Derek Elston's 7 (!) offensive rebounds and Watford's 3. Watford won't be a problem today, but Elston will be. Iowa needs to box him out on every shot attempt.

Indiana is about average at not turning the ball over, but Iowa has been very good at forcing turnovers this year (11% above NCAA average). However, last time they played, Iowa only forced them into a turnover on 19.2% of their possessions. On the season, Indiana is averaging a turnover on 20.65% of their possessions. So, Indiana clearly got the better of the turnover battle last time. Since I expect the Hoosiers to shoot the ball better at home, Iowa better win the turnover battle this time around.

Free throw rate obviously went in Iowa's favor on the offensive side, but it also went the Hawkeyes way on the defensive side too. They held Indiana to a 0.29 free throw rate (free throws attempted per field goals attempted), which is 11 points lower than their season average of 0.38. That lives up to the billing of Iowa's 45% better than NCAA average free throw rate. Minus Brommer, this team doesn't foul a whole lot.

  •  Iowa player shooting tendencies:
  • Iowa player scoring breakdown:
  • Iowa player points per minute:
  • Indiana player shooting tendencies:
  • Indiana player scoring breakdown:
  • Indiana player points per minute:
  • Watford being out is a huge loss for Indiana.

There's no "opposing players to watch" section in this preview because I'm about to go make a beer run and do some other errands before the game comes on, and also because I linked to the earlier Indiana preview and recap at the beginning. Indiana's players' numbers are slightly different than they were two weeks ago, but they're still the same players. Jordan Hulls is still the dangerous shooter, and this time don't worry about Christian Watford, but instead focus on Verdell Jones III.

The key to this game might be keeping Jordan Hulls under wraps. Last time he went 1-5 from three point range. That is great for Iowa. I would be very surprised if that happens again, though. After Hulls, they have to stop Jones III on offense. I don't think he's fully healthy yet, but he did put up 12 points against Minnesota. Finally, Iowa must keep Derek Elston off the glass. He had 12 rebounds (7 offensive and 5 defensive) in the last match up. Iowa really can't afford to give Indiana that many second chance opportunities at home.

For Iowa, if they can have another game with four starters in double-digits, like they did against Michigan State, they could easily win this one. Basabe should have another big game. Watford is out, and he had no answer for Basabe last time, and I don't think anybody else on Indiana does either. He should put up points and grab rebounds. Like always, a good shooting performance from Matt Gatens would help too. Eric May put up 11 points, on 4-5 shooting last time, and had two awesome fastbreak dunks. Hopefully, February will be his breakout month. Marble had a big game last time out vs the Hoosiers, but I don't know if he will do it again. Cartwright didn't have a great game against Indiana last time, but he's been hot lately. I would like to see him be agressive and drive to the basket. Indiana has fouling problems so I want to see him be agressive and get to the line. Basabe should probably live at the line today, also.

Overall, I'm not real sure what to make of this game. Indiana is playing good basketball lately, and Iowa just came off a big win against Michigan State. The Hoosiers are without their star player Watford, but they just beat Minnesota without him. I'm very weary because of the home/road splits of these two teams, but I still want to pick Iowa in this game. I don't think it will be a runaway like the last game, but I think Iowa can win, something like 78-73. Watford is just such a huge loss for the Hoosiers, and I don't think they have an answer for Basabe. I feel like Cartwright will be able to get to the free throw line, and also find his teammates for open looks. If that happens and Gatens or May has a good game, I think Iowa takes this. I hope this will be the Hawkeyes' first conference win on the road. Even if it's not against a particularly good team, a conference win on the road for young team, like Iowa, is huge.

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