Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Iowa vs Wisconsin Men's Basketball Preview

No intro. Need sleep.

Iowa's Offense vs Wisconsin's Defense

Right off the bat, this doesn't look real good for Iowa. The Badgers are a good defensive team. Wisconsin has held opponents to a 45.62% effective FG% on the year (47.8% for Big 10 opponents), which is good enough fro 7% above NCAA average. Iowa isn't a good shooting team, coming in right at NCAA average and tenth in the Big 10, with a 49.2% effective FG%. Expect Iowa to struggle from the field.

Rebounding should be interesting. Wisconsin is a really good defensive rebounding team. In fact, their 71.9% offensive rebounding rate, is first in the Big 10. Iowa's rebounding has struggled since conference play kicked off, but that has been mostly from their defensive rebounding. Their 35% offensive rebounding rate is fourth in the Big 10, and if you look at just conference games, their 33.8% is third in the Big 10. So, this could be a good battle.

As far as getting to the free throw line goes, that probably won't happen much for Iowa. They have been 6% below NCAA average in free throw rate (except, when they play Indiana, of course). It also won't help that Wisconsin doesn't put people on the line all that often, either. They are 18% above NCAA average in that category. 

Some good news for Iowa, is that Wisconsin does not force a whole of turnovers. In fact, they only force a turnover on 18.1% of their opponents possessions, which is 12% below NCAA average. Iowa has been 5% below average on the season. So, hopefully this will help them keep the turnovers to a minimum.

Wisconsin's Offense vs Iowa's Defense

The most obvious thing to notice, is that Wisconsin doesn't turn the ball over. Ever. They turn the ball over on 13.3% of their possessions, which is good for 54% above NCAA average, and number one in the Big 10. Forcing turnovers has been one of Iowa's stronger points on defense, but they will be pretty hard to come by in this game. If they do force some turnovers, however, expect some fast breaks, as they will probably come out on the perimeter.

Wisconsin's effective FG% of 52.89%, is 8% above NCAA average. On the season, Iowa's opponents have shot a 49.92% effective FG%, which is 2% worse NCAA average for the Hawkeyes. But, even after their last two conference opponents have struggled shooting from the field, Iowa has still allowed a 55.74% effective FG% in Big 10 play. Hopefully, that number will continue to come down.

On the offensive boards, Wisconsin has been mediocre. Their season average offensive rebounding percentage of 34.3%, comes out to 6% above NCAA average, and sixth in the Big 10. But, in conference play, that number has dipped to 27.4%. That huge drop is good for ninth in the conference. On the other hand, Iowa hasn't been much better on the defensive glass. Their season average defensive rebounding percentage of 68.4%, is still 3% above NCAA average, but only ninth in the Big 10. In Big 10 play, though, they are only grabbing 62.8%, which is dead last in the conference. So, to recap,  Iowa is good at offensive rebounding and Wisconsin is good at defensive rebounding. Also, Iowa is bad at grabbing defensive rebounds and Wisconsin is bad at grabbing offensive rebounds. Rebounding should be interesting tonight. 

Considering, Wisconsin is a slower paced team, it shouldn't be surprising that they don't visit the foul line all that often. In turn, Iowa has done a good keeping opponents off the line this year, coming in 44% above NCAA average. If you like free throws, this might not be the game for you.

  • Iowa player shooting tendencies:
  • Iowa player scoring breakdown:
  • Iowa player points per minute:
  • Wisconsin player shooting tendencies:
  • John Leuer and Keaton Nankivil are the two best post players on the Badgers, who also love to step out and shoot the three. Leuer shoots about 30% of his shots from behind the arc, while Nankivil is almost 50/50 from inside and outside the arc. Ryan Evans is basically the only guy who gets playing time that doesn't shoot three's. Iowa better defend the perimeter.
  • Wisconsin player scoring breakdown:
  • Jordan Taylor is a really balanced scorer. Leuer gets 50% of his points from two point shots, 31% from three point shots, and 18% from field goals. Nankivil is like Leuer, if you switch the points from two point field goals and three point field goals around. 
  • Wisconsin player points per minute:
  • Leuer and Jordan both average over 0.50 points per minute. Nobody on Iowa is above 0.45, unless you look at conference games only, and then Basabe is averaging 0.52 points per minute. After that, there is a pretty big drop. But, Wisconsin definitely has enough firepower in those two, to run over Iowa.
  • Iowa has taken 72.61% of their shots from inside the three point arc and 27.39% from outside it. The Hawkeyes have scored 57.6% of their points on two point field goals, 22.8% on three point field goals, and 19.5% on free throws. 
  • Wisconsin has taken 59.40% of their shots from two point range and 40.60% from three point range. The Badgers have scored 45.2% of their points from two point field goals, 35.7% from three point field goals, and 19.1% from free throws.
Opposing Players to Watch
  • John Leuer is Wisconsin's best player. The 6'10" forward, averages 19.41 points per game on a 55.8% effective FG%, and is shooting 45% from behind the arc. He is also their best defensive rebounder, grabbing 21.5% of all defensive rebounds available while on the court. But, he is just a mediocre offensive rebounder, grabbing only 6.3%. 
  • Jordan Taylor runs the Badger's offense. He is also their second leading scorer, averaging 17.82 points per game on a 53.9% effective FG%. He is also a good three point shooter, making 41.3% of his attempts from downtown. Taylor is also very good at dishing out assists, while not turning the ball over (3.9 assist to turnover ratio). 
  • Keaton Nankivil is not the average post player. I say that because the 6'8" 240 lb forward, can usually be found outside the post. The big man has made 52.2% of his three point attempts this year, which has given him the highest effective FG% on Wisconsin, 65.9%. He doesn't put the ball in the basket as often as the two mentioned above, but he still averages 9.55 points per game, and can go off anytime. Shooting is his strong suit, while, rebounding, he's just okay at. His rebounding numbers are very similar to Andrew Brommer's. So, that shouldn't really strike fear into anybody.

Wisconsin is a really good defensive team, so I'm not expecting Iowa to shoot very well tonight. I think the rebounding battle will be close. I also think, that the turnovers should be reasonably low considering the teams, and the pace that Wisconsin will want to play.

For Iowa, like always, a good shooting performance from Gatens would really help. He was pretty much non-existent during the Indiana game, and against a team like Wisconsin, the Hawkeyes could really use a shooter. I'm interested to see how Basabe plays. If Leuer guards him, Basabe will be giving up a couple of inches. So, how he adapts to shooting over the taller defender will be key. He's going to get his rebounds, though, that's pretty much a given. Cartwright has really come on lately. He has been shooting slightly better, and dishing out assists at a much higher clip. If he can continue to be aggressive and get into the lane, good things will continue to happen. Finally, there is May. He has had two good games in a row, and a third would be spectacular. He has done a good job of running the court the past two games and cleaning up on the fastbreak dunks. If Iowa can force some steals out on the perimeter, we should see at least one spectacular dunk.

As well as Iowa is playing right now, I'm just not sure I can pick them in this one. An upset won't be unbelievable because Iowa does have the players (it's just getting them to play great at the same time). But, I still think the Badgers will win this game. Even though it's at Carver, I think the Badgers will shoot much better than Iowa's last two opponents have. Not to mention, they will control the tempo, and keep this game down to about 60 or so possessions. If that happens, and you multiply 60 possessions by each team's average points per possession, you get a final score of 72-60 in favor of Wisconsin. I think that is a very realistic outcome. This could be similar to the Penn State game, where two players put on an offensive show. I think two of the trio of Jordan, Leuer, and Nankivil will have big games. Like every time I pick against the Hawkeyes, I hope I am wrong. Because since the Heartland Trophy resides in Madison for the next two years, I really want to beat them in something.

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