What to watch for: Iowa

  • 02/16/2018 12:25 pm in

Indiana’s second matchup this season against Iowa tips on Saturday afternoon and we’re taking a look at three things to watch for in the rematch in lieu of our traditional game preview.

The matchup with the Hawkeyes will be broadcast on ESPN at 2:00 p.m. ET with Jason Benetti and Dan Dakich on the call:

· Will Indiana be able to slow down Iowa’s offense? Indiana’s turnaround defensively this season has been remarkable. The Hoosiers enter Saturday’s matinee in Iowa City with the league’s best defense in terms of points per possession allowed, according to Ken Pomeroy, at .983.

Indiana’s adjusted defensive efficiency, another Pomeroy stat, is 51st nationally. After setting a preseason goal of getting that number into the top 100 nationally, Archie Miller said on Thursday’s radio show that top 50 is now the goal.

Saturday’s opponent, Iowa, will be a challenge. The Hawkeyes have the Big Ten’s seventh best offense and are 29th nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency, according to Pomeroy. However, Iowa has struggled offensively as of late as it has registered more than a point per possession just once in its last four games.

The challenge for Indiana will be keeping Iowa off of the offensive glass. Iowa is the Big Ten’s best offensive rebounding team, but ranks in the bottom four in terms of turning the ball over and getting to the foul line. The Hawkeyes also play the Big Ten’s fastest tempo, but that could play into Indiana’s hands because the uptempo style also comes with plenty of turnovers.

· Will Iowa be able to stop Indiana? The Hawkeyes have a historically bad defense.

If the season ended today, Iowa’s Big Ten only defense (1.189 PPP allowed) would be the second worst in the KenPom era, which dates back to 2002. Only Rutgers, which allowed 1.191 in the 2015-16 season, was worse.

A look through Iowa’s defensive numbers in conference play tells a bleak story.

The Hawkeyes are 13th in effective field goal percentage, 13th in defensive turnover percentage, 10th in defensive rebounding percentage, 14th in 3-point field goal percentage defense, 13th in 2-point field goal percentage defense, 10th in block percentage and 12th in steal percentage.

Indiana will have opportunities, but will they be able to capitalize? The Hoosiers have scored more than a point per possession just twice in Big Ten road games (1.03 at Minnesota, 1.01 at Rutgers).

· Which Iowa team will show up? The Hawkeyes have been one of the Big Ten’s most disappointing teams, but are just a week and a half removed from taking Michigan State to the wire in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

But with a 3-12 conference mark and little to play for, it’s also fair to wonder if the Hawkeyes have checked out on the season. The frustration of Fran McCaffery has been visible on the sidelines and Iowa has given up less than 1.1 points per possession just once in its last 13 games.

The other troubling stat for the Hawkeyes is how often they’ve been beaten badly in league play. Ten of Iowa’s 12 Big Ten losses have come by double digits. Five of the 12 have been by 15 or more.

After being picked to finish eighth in the preseason league media poll, Iowa will finish in the bottom four of the league and play on Wednesday in the Big Ten tournament.

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  • Adam 01

    I will be pleasantly surprised if we win. Road games are never gimmies, and Iowa’s zone is not a great matchup for us. Arch, I think it’s going to take at least 75 for us to win this one.

  • inLinE6

    Define “very very good”… But we’re certainly on the right path.

  • HoosierDom

    They’re 3-12 in conference the year that the Big 10 is probably the weakest (at least the bottom 2/3rds of the conference) it’s been in at least a couple of decades – it does not take a very very good team to beat them.

  • Jethro Jones

    You jinxed it!! should’ve said 70 again. we only need 70 if they score 64.

  • Arch Puddington

    Dang. You were on such a roll. And by “you” I mean “the Hoosiers”. I fear you’ve blown it.

  • Colt

    Iowa is a strange team. They have better talent than their record indicates.

  • Donnie Vick

    Also, watch for Mount Fran to erupt at least 3 times during the game.

  • Adam 01

    Yeah, Jethro already let me know I blew it, lol.

  • IdahoHoosier

    Has he done something extra egregious that every coach doesn’t do every single game and practice? I’ve heard comments about him before, just wondering if there was an incident or specific instance. From what I’ve seen he yells at players and refs like everyone else.

  • VOXAC30

    Ever since Michael Lewis intentionally threw a hard pass to Jaacks’s face on an in bounds play I have like Iowa. I think Jaacks said my face got in the way of a good pass or something to that effect.

  • Deplorable Kompromat

    One thing is for certain…..Wisconsin beating Purdue for the Paint Crew’s third loss in a row was beautiful.

  • Deplorable Kompromat

    It’s gonna be an exciting finish to the BIG regular season. Penn State coming on late as well.

  • Arch Puddington

    Eye of the beholder, I guess, but he has a longstanding reputation for going beyond the normal raised voice/super intense coach thing. I don’t know that there has ever been a single over-the-top incident, but he has a history of incidents with his own players (nose-to-nose spitting and screaming), other players (refusing to shake hands), and of course refs He has gone on tirades extreme enough to have been argued to cost his team games, and even the local Iowa press acknowledges the potential impact on recruiting. He has his defenders, and even I would agree that outside of his tirades he is probably a good man. But he is too much for some, that is for sure. We can’t link here, but you can try the following, one from this year and one from a bit further back:

    hawkcentral dot com/story/sports/college/columnists/chad-leistikow/2018/01/02/iowa-hawkeyes-fran-mccaffery-angry-michigan-big-ten-conference-chad-leistikow/996688001/

    bleacherreport dot com/articles/1912204-iowas-fran-mccaffery-ejected-after-tirade-wisconsin-awarded-6-free-throws

  • IdahoHoosier

    Thanks for the articles and context!

  • coachv

    wow. i remember that

  • coachv

    they’re pretty good at home. nearly beat msu a couple weeks back. vegas has it as a toss up

  • Adam 01

    That doesn’t surprise me. I know they’re supposed to have a good offense, but I don’t see them scoring over 74 points on our improved defense unless the refs give them the game. I’m just not sure we can score over 75 on the road.

  • E Foy McNaughton

    Well he complains about as much as Coach K, but the difference between the 2 coach’s is about 619 wins and the Hall of Fame

  • TomJameson

    I just never underestimate a team when we go to their home. A road win in the B1G, even a “weak B1G”, is never a guarantee. But I think Archie has his guys focused, and it’ll take a good effort from everybody to pull it out.