Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Iowa vs Michigan State Round II Preview

Iowa Offense vs Michigan State Defense

Shooting-wise, Iowa is still a slightly below NCAA average shooting team. However, Michigan State is only slightly above average at contesting opponent's shots. This was seen in the first game between these two teams, when Iowa shot a 60.6% effective FG%, about 12% above their season average. That's probably way higher than I would expect Iowa to shoot this time. But, I could see Iowa shooting somewhere in the 52-54% range.

The battle between Iowa going for offensive rebounds and Michigan State going for defensive rebounds, should be pretty interesting. Iowa has been 7% above NCAA average at grabbing offensive boards this year. While, Michigan State is 9% above NCAA average at pulling down defensive rebounds. In the last game, Michigan State outrebounded Iowa, both offensively and defensively. However, Iowa did grab 34.8% of all of their misses, which is basically their season average of 34.82%. So, it's not like Iowa underperformed on the offensive boards last time.

Iowa probably won't see the free throw line all that much. They are 11% below NCAA average in free throw rate (free throws attempted per field goals attempted), and Michigan State is 7% above average at not letting opponents get there. Last time, Michigan State held Iowa to a 0.21 free throw rate, which is way below Iowa's season average of 0.34. Iowa shot 11 free throws that game, with Basabe taking none of them and Cole taking two of them. I expect Basabe to have a better game, so I also expect Iowa's free throws to go up a little bit. I would say Iowa get's to the line about 16 times, with Basabe and Cole getting about 8 of those attempts.

Assist's aren't actually one of the Four Factor's, so I don't usually talk about them all that much. However, I like to put them in the charts to get an idea of a team's assist to turnover ratio. I also want to mention them, because Iowa's assist rate has gone from below average to above average as the season has gone on. That is largely in part to Bryce Cartwright putting on a passing clinic in the last month and a half. He had a double-double against Michigan State earlier. He probably won't this time. But, he should still get 7 or 8 assists, which would mean Iowa should put up 13 or 14 as a team.

As assists have gone up, turnovers have stayed pretty consistently 5-6% below NCAA average. Good news is, Michigan State is worse at forcing turnovers (8% below average), than Iowa is at coughing them up. In the previous match up, the Spartans forced Iowa into a turnover on 19.4% of their possessions. That is about 2% below their season average. Hopefully, Iowa can keep their turnovers down in this game, once again.

Michigan State Offense vs Iowa Defense

More good news for Iowa, Michigan State isn't a real great shooting team. Their 49.36% effective FG% is only 1% above NCAA average. However, Iowa isn't very good at contesting shots either. So, in a game between two mediocre shooting offenses and defenses, I don't think Michigan State will put up another 37.5% effective FG% this game. I would say they shoot somewhere in between 55-56%.

Rebounding-wise, Michigan State will probably have another heyday on the offensive glass. Michigan State is 6% above NCAA average at pulling down offensive rebounds. While, Iowa has gone completely downhill on the defensive boards, since conference play started. They are still ranked 1% above average, but after this game against Michigan State and their regular season finale against Purdue, they could easily be below average. Michigan State came up with 40% of their misses last game (and they missed 37 shots!). And to be honest, I wouldn't be surprised if they grabbed 40% again.

Michigan State probably won't see the free throw line much either. They are 6% below average at getting there. While, Iowa is 41% above average at keeping them off it. Iowa held them to a 0.25 free throw rate last time. Their season average is 0.36. Iowa did the job last time, they will probably do their job in this category again.

Michigan State can be turnover-prone. They are 1% above average on the season, but Iowa has been 7% above average at forcing them. Last time, Iowa forced a turnover on 27.4% of their possessions. Michigan State is averaging a turnover on about 20% of their possessions this year. I doubt Iowa will force another 27% turnover rate upon the Spartans, but I think they can cause them to give up the ball on about 22% of their possessions this time. Iowa has a really good chance to win the turnover battle this game.

  • Iowa player shooting tendencies:
  • Iowa player scoring breakdown:
  • Iowa player points per minute:
  • Michigan State player shooting tendencies:
  • Totally forgot to take out Lucious' stats. Oh well. Too lazy to change it. Appling is his replacement, and he also likes to shoot three's. However, he's been hitting them at a better rate than Lucious was this year. Two of their three star players work inside most of the time. Green in the post (but can shoot from long range pretty well) and Lucas taking it to the rim (decent from long range, as well). The other star player, Summers, is pretty much 50/50 on whether he shoots from deep or not.
  • Michigan State player scoring breakdown:
  • Their scoring profiles match their shooting tendencies. Green and Lucas are almost identical, even though one is a big post player and one is a small speedy point guard. While, Summers gets most of his value from three's, because you know, 3 > 2. 
  • Michigan State player points per minute:
  • Kalin Lucas is the scorer, as he's averaging over the magical 0.51 points per minute mark. Green and Summers both average 0.41. After that, Michigan State's scoring drops off a cliff. So, it's not really surprising that Michigan State struggled, when their big three went 12-34 shooting and scored 34 points last time against Iowa. 

Opposing Players to Watch:
  • As you can see above, Kalin Lucas is the Spartans best scorer. The speedy guard averages 16.71 points per game (0.51 points per minute) on 49% effective FG%. He can hit the three every so often (37.1% 3pt FG%), but he takes over 70% of his shots from inside the arc. He's mostly an offense first point guard. His assist rate of 23.6%, is 12th in the Big 10, but 5% below teammate and big man, Draymond Green's team high 28.9%. However, his assist to turnover ratio is still pretty good, sitting at 1.4, as he only has a turnover rate of 16.5%. Last time Lucas faced Iowa, he scored 17 points, but it took him 16 shots and 6 free throws. Not very efficient. He also had 0 assists and 1 turnover. I would expect Lucas to do better offensively this game. Cartwright is not a great defender, and Lucas is fast off the dribble. If he gets in the paint, he will probably have a much more efficient shooting night this time around.
  • Draymond Green is the versatile big man, who can do it all. He averages 12.39 points per game (0.41 points per minute) on a 49.4% effective FG%. The 6'6" post player, has also added the three point shot to his game this year, knocking down 39% of his three point attempts. He's also a good rebounder, as he is sixth in the Big 10 at pulling down defensive rebounds, with a 22.7% defensive rebounding rate. He's not quite as good on the offensive glass, but he is still decent, grabbing 9.6% of all of Michigan State's misses, while on the court. Last but not least, Green can pass the ball. As mentioned in the bullet point above, he leads the team with an assist rate of about 28%. His assist rate is also sixth in the Big 10. Considering, that most of the guys ahead of him are point guards like Darius Morris, Bryce Cartwright, and Jordan Taylor. Green's game is pretty damn impressive. Last time he faced Iowa, he had 11 points on 11 shot attempts, and grabbed 5 rebounds. He also had 5 turnovers. If Cartwright has trouble keeping Lucas in front of him, it could open up shots for Green, as Iowa's defense collapses to help. So, I would probably expect him to have a better game too.
  • The third star for Michigan State, Durrell Summers, averages 11.93 points per game (0.41 points per minute) on a 48.5% effective FG%. Unlike the other two, he takes about half of his shots from two point range and the other half from three point range. So far this year, he has made 36.5% of his three point attempts. That is pretty much his game. Other than scoring, he is a pretty good defensive rebounder for a guard (though, he's 6'5"). He grabs 11.2% of all defensive rebounds, while he is in the game. Last time he faced Iowa, he put up 6 points on 7 field goal attempts. He also pulled down 3 rebounds and coughed the ball up 3 times. Once again, Lucas getting into the lane could really set off Summers' game as well. He loves to shoot the three, and he could get a lot of open looks if Cartwright can't keep Lucas in check.

The numbers for these two teams are pretty close. Michigan State is the better shooting team, but only slightly. Iowa is a good offensive rebounding team, but Michigan State is just as good at defensive rebounding. Then you have Iowa being terrible on the defensive glass, and Michigan State being good at pulling down offensive rebounds. So, rebounding should go to the Spartans also. Both teams are good at keeping the other team off the free throw line, while also not getting there very often themselves. So, this is a draw. Turnovers, however, would go to Iowa. They are turnover-prone, but Michigan State does not take the ball away from their opponents all that much. Also, Iowa has been very good at taking the ball away, and Michigan State has been about average, at taking care of it.

Since Michigan State is not a team that will shoot you out of the building on a regular basis this year, Iowa does have a chance to win. They won last time, because Cartwright was a mad man finding open guys all night. He will probably do the same this game. Last time, Jarryd Cole was the recipient of a lot of Cartwright's assists, as he put up 13 points and pulled down 9 rebounds. Cole's been playing very well recently, and a big game from him would help Iowa. Gatens also shot the ball well against the Spartans last time. He has been in a bit of a funk lately, when it comes to connecting from long range, but is a good enough player that there should be some kind of bounce back soon. Hopefully, the bounce back will come this game. Basabe was pretty invisible the last time these two teams played. That will probably be different this time. A match up between him and Draymond Green should be interesting, and one that I think Basabe can and will win in the post. May is the wild card. He had a pretty nice game last time, but he is not himself right now. Which means, you shouldn't expect much from him.

Even though Iowa can and has beaten this Michigan State team before, I have a hard time picturing them doing it again. Michigan State is still on the bubble, and trying their damndest to squeak into the tournament (after just getting flattened by Purdue). They are also playing this game in East Lansing, which has not been kind to Iowa in the past. Iowa has won there only twice since the infamous game in 1993. I think Lucas has a much better game this time around, and that will lead to much better games from Green and Summers as well. I think both teams score a little more than average, since both defenses are pretty mediocre. So, I'll go with Iowa 68 and Michigan State 75, on about 67 possessions. But, as always I'll end this with another: Prove me wrong Iowa.

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