Wednesday, February 25, 2009

MEN'S BB: Ed Hightower Wonders When Then Will Be Now. Answer: Soon.

Ed Hightower, always one to look for ways to get facetime on the ol' tele, went to great lengths during the Iowa/MSU game tonight. He actually pulled off the Spaceballs' watching yourself on a monitor bit. Truly incredible by Eddie. He really outdid himself this time.

MEN'S BB: Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Michigan State Spartans

My apologies for the lack of substance to this prediction/preview - been a busy guy as of late.

Iowa gets Michigan State tonight up in East Lansing. Last time up, Lickliter's squad lost by low teens (a measurable improvement over the 25+ Alford era blowouts).

Everything points to this game as a blowout for Michigan State. They are a better team, with better athletes, in a better venue. Not to mention, MSU has Izzo, one of the best coaches in the nation without a doubt.

It was a coming out party for Jake Kelly at the point last game vs. Michigan. He set career highs for points, assists, and rebounds - just missing a double double and a triple double. He looked very slick at the PG position and completely took over the game at one point. What's more is that 4 out of the 5 starters last game played 45 minutes. I'd be hard pressed to think of a time I have ever seen that happen. Bawinkel got off his snide last time out too, so that was great to see.

Tate is supposed to be able to go tonight, but I am not sure how effective he can be against this uber quick MSU team.

It's going to be a tough game no matter how you look at it. If Jake can carry the team again, and if Iowa can rebound anywhere near what they did last time out, they can keep it within double-digits. However, I see this one getting out of hand towards the end of the first half.

Two of Iowa last three wins have been in OT. I don't think this one goes to bonus minutes.

KenPom gives Iowa an 8% chance to win this game. (Lowest chance of the season). Plus, Iowa is 1-9 on the road. Not looking good.

IOWA - 57
MSU - 74

Sunday, February 22, 2009

MEN'S BB: Great Defense? Perhaps Not.

It's not a secret that Iowa is ranked at the bottom of the barrel in the NCAA for possessions per game (less than 58 poss per game). In doing this, Iowa slows down the game and the tempo suffers, as well (only Denver, yes that's a college, has a slower adjusted tempo than Iowa and the Hawkeyes actually have the claim for the slowest raw tempo in college basketball). So right there you have significant statistics to prove that Iowa's opponents just aren't getting enough touches to allow them to score many points.

Even more data to back up the thought that Iowa's good defense is a misnomer. Iowa ranks 261st in steal% and 261st in block%. So Iowa isn't creating turnovers at all.

Also, Iowa allows opponents to shoot over 34% from behind the arc (213th worst in the nation).

Iowa is aggressive on the defensive side of the ball and I completely appreciate the effort they put on the court. But while some seem to think that defense is keeping Iowa in ball games, it's more likely it's Iowa's offense (or lack thereof) that is the real determinant.

MEN'S BB: Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Michigan Wolverines

GAME INFO: Sun., Feb. 22nd, 2009 - 4:00 PM CST - Carver-Hawkeye Arena; Iowa City, IA
IOWA: 13-13 (3-10, 10th); POM: 89; RPI: 109 / MICHIGAN: 17-10 (7-7, 7th); POM: 64; RPI: 50

RADIO: Links
LINE - Iowa is a 1 point favorite at home.


Tate and Peterson are doubtful for this one. Jermain Davis also sustained a leg injury this week in practice and may be limited, as well.

Kelly did a decent job taking over for JPete last time out, but Iowa is going to need more than him to take down the Wolverines. Iowa will need to attack Beilein's 1-3-1 zone defense, but without ballhandlers (read: Peterson, Tucker, and maybe even Davis), Iowa will be up against it today.

To say Iowa's offense has been anemic as of late is an understatement. Iowa has gone from being the 4th best 3pt shooting team in the nation, to now outside the Top 50. In the last 10 games alone, Iowa has yet to score over 60 points in 40 minutes of regulation basketball. The only time they have exceeded that limit was an overtime win against Wisconsin (63 pts scored).

Michigan is 2-6 on the road, and Iowa is 11-3 at home (losses all to Top 25 teams). Iowa has 3 wins in 2009, all at home; they've won 1 game in the last 7 games and won 2 games in the last 11. Iowa is 1-9 vs. the Top 50 RPI, UM sneaks into the Top 50 today.

If Tate, Peterson, or Davis play, Iowa will stick with UM, but I just don't like the matchup that the Wolverines bring. Iowa is 1-3 under Lickliter against UM.

Oh, by the way, Matt Gatens is REALLY important to this team in case you were living in a cave:

Anything else stick out at you from the above chart? Such as our leading defensive rebounder is... Jermain Davis? Oh, and Andrew Brommer has more fouls than points.

KenPom gives Iowa a 56% chance to win this game.

TODAY'S PROJECTED HAWKEYE KILLER: Manny Harris. It could be raining treys in Carver for Manny today. I assume Kelly will have the task of guarding him today, and if Jake is burdened with the load of the offense in this one, he might not have enough to stop Harris.

Iowa - 59
Michigan - 61

Saturday, February 14, 2009

MEN'S BB: Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Purdue Boilermakers

GAME INFO: Sat., Feb. 14th, 2009 - 3:05 PM CST - Carver-Hawkeye Arena; Iowa City, IA
IOWA: 13-12 (3-9, 10th); POM: 89; RPI: 97 / #20 PURDUE: 18-6 (7-4, 3rd); POM: 18; RPI: 34

TV COVERAGE: BTN - Wayne Larrivee and anyone but Tim Doyle (Greg Kelser) will call the action.
RADIO: Links
LINE - Iowa is an 4.5 point underdog at home. Seriously. 4.5 points. I don't understand it either.


Iowa received their Valentine today

It's Valentine's Day 2009. Iowa will look to get some love from its fans today (as of yesterday 1500 tickets remained). Hopefully, today Iowa's passes are straighter than an arrow, and some sweet shooting couldn't hurt either. Candy Hearts. OK, enough of the Valentine's Day crap, no one cares about that "holiday" anyway.

Iowa is going to go into this one without the services of starting PG, Jeff Peterson. And, as The Sporting News points out, Iowa hasn't been healthy since December (thanks crossoverdribble). The Hawkeyes only have 2 wins in the last 10 games, and haven't won back to back games in well over two months. While youth and the physical strength of this team are legit reasons for the recent struggles, you can't discount how the injuries have just killed Iowa this year. Losing Tate was huge, losing Peterson could be worse... hopefully Tate can put some minutes in this afternoon.

Iowa is 10-2 at home, while Purdue is 4-3. Iowa's only losses at home have come against Top 25 teams. Surprise, surprise, Purdue is a Top 25 team. Purdue has beaten Iowa four straight times, although most of them have been close battles (don't look back at this year's score, please). Additionally, Matt Painter is going for his 100 win as a college basketball head coach.

Before the Peterson injury, I felt as if Iowa could hang with Purdue, maybe not necessarily win, but definitely hang with them and if the crowd was right they could upset PU. Playing in Carver on a Saturday only made me feel better about Iowa's chances. But now with their starting PG out and the distinct possiblity of Robbie Hummel returning, Iowa will be up against it. So it looks as if it will be Davis, Bawinkel, Kelly, Gatens, and Cole in the starting lineup (note: 4 of these players were coming off the bench in the beginning of the year). Last time out, David Palmer went nuts against the Boilermakers, but don't expect that to happen again.

Here's hoping for a clean game with some decent officiating for once this year (don't hold your breath)... and it would be nice if Iowa didn't lose another player to injury. It also would be nice to see Jake Kelly completely absorb the role of PG and just dominate today, but that is wishful thinking against a very solid defense backcourt of Purdue.

KenPom gives Iowa a 26% chance to win this game.

Without JPete, Iowa is going to struggle and struggle mightily.
TODAY'S PROJECTED HAWKEYE KILLER: JaJuan Johnson - Iowa has no one to matchup with his size and versatility even if a 60% Tate is playing.

Iowa - 57
Purdue- 71

PS - I swear if I hear ONE reference to "Bobby Buckets" this game...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

MEN'S BB: Todd Lickliter OUT!!! Iowa Hawkeyes Hire New Head Men's Basketball Coach

Iowa's new head basketball coach was announced before the Wisconsin game...

MEN'S BB: Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Wisconsin Badgers

GAME INFO: Wed., Feb. 11th, 2009 - 7:35 PM CST - Kohl Center; Madison, WI
IOWA: 13-11 (3-8, 10th); POM: 86; RPI: 94 / WISCONSIN: 14-9 (5-6, 7th); POM: 36; RPI: 28

TV COVERAGE: BTN - Wayne Larrivee and Tim Doyle will call the action.
RADIO: Links
LINE - Iowa is an 11 point underdog on the road.


Iowa was rejuvenated by the return of their captain, senior forward, Cyrus Tate last time out vs. Northwestern and pulled off a much needed win. The win really put a damper on the Wildcats' postseason hopes, while it put an end to an awful eight game string the Hawks had put together (interesting that the eight games were without Tate).

For Wisconsin, it's been a Big Ten season of streaks. They started out winning the first three games in conference play (albeit beating 3 of the 4 worst teams in the Big Ten), then they went into a 6 game funk (the longest losing streak under Bo Ryan), and now they have seemingly righted the ship winning the last two contests.

Wisconsin is another "system" program like Iowa, where you find the players to plug into your system and have them perform efficiently. Bucky doesn't turn the ball over, in fact, they are in the Top 10 in the nation in turnover %. At the same time, they don't force turnovers, either - so it's sort of wash in that regard. While they don't shoot the ball as well as Iowa, they are more efficient with it. UW has a 1.16 A/TO ratio, while Iowa has a .97 A/TO ratio. Wisconsin also has a fairly experienced team (much more experienced than Iowa for that fact).

Both of these teams are painfully deliberate on the offensive side of the ball. Iowa averages 58 possessions per game, Wisconsin averages 3 more; both are in the bottom 10 in the nation.

Wisconsin is not a team that loses at home, however both Minnesota and Purdue have escaped Madison with "W"s in conference. Overall, Wisconsin is 9-3 at home, while Iowa is 1-8 on the road (the one win being over The Citadel).

With Tate back in the lineup and, presumably, getting more minutes than last time out, Iowa should ready to battle the Badgers. The Kohl center will undoubtedly be rocking tonight, but if Iowa's shooters (41% from 3 pt land, 4th best in the nation) can get the shots to fall Iowa has a shot in this one. If Tate and Cole are allowed to be physical down low (and why not, with the things Krabbenhoft is allowed to do), it could be a gem of a game.

Pomeroy gives Iowa a 16% chance to win the game.

I like the Hawks' chances, but Iowa is just a different team away from home [see: Iowa vs. Indiana, Feb 4th, 2009]

Iowa - 51
Wisconsin - 58

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Monday, February 09, 2009

MEN'S BB: Anthony Tucker Talks About Future Plans, Staying Focused

Rob Howe has the story HERE.
Scott Dochterman also writes about it HERE.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

MEN'S BB: Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Northwestern Wildcats

GAME INFO: Sat., Feb. 7th, 2009 - 5:05 PM CST - Carver Hawkeye Arena
IOWA: 12-11 (2-8); POM: 87; RPI: 98 / NORTHWESTERN: 13-7 (4-5); POM: 62; RPI: 58

TV COVERAGE: BTN - Wayne Larrivee and Shon Morris will call the action.
RADIO: Links
LINE - Iowa is a 2 point favorite at home.


Iowa has lost 7 out of their last 8 games and Tate remains questionable for this one. Iowa is coming off a loss to the previously winless in the Big Ten Indiana Hoosiers.

Iowa remains in a huge shooting slump, however they did put up 40 points in the second half of the last game. The problems remain the same, low possessions, shooting poorly. It doesn't take much to realize why Iowa is losing games. In fact, Iowa averages just over 58 possessions a game (worst in the nation). Northwestern does a fantastic job of holding onto the ball, they are 4th in the nation in A/TO.

Iowa is 10-2 at home, Northwestern is 2-5 on the road.

Iowa will need to contain Craig Moore. Kevin Coble will get his, Moore will the Hawkeye killer today.

Pomeroy gives Iowa a 54% chance to win the game.

Iowa - 67
Northwestern - 66

Sunday, February 01, 2009

MEN'S BB: Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Illinois Fighting Ilini

GAME INFO: Sun., Feb. 1st, 2009 - 1:05 PM CST - Assembly Hall, Champaign, IL
IOWA: 12-9 (2-6); POM: 83; RPI: 88 / #19 ILLINOIS: 17-4 (5-3); POM: 24; RPI: 18

TV COVERAGE: BTN - pure awesomeness as Roy Marble and Kendall Gill are announcing this one!
RADIO: Links
LINE - Iowa is a 12 point underdog on the road.

Iowa has lost 5 out of their last 6 games and Tate is likely out, so things do not look good for the Hawks in this one. Although the W/Ls haven't looked good, you can definitely see that Iowa is steadily improving.

Iowa has been in a shooting slump the last few games, but they still rank fairly high nationally for 3 pt% (26th), 2 pt% (43rd) and FT% (21st). The problem lies in the fact that Iowa has a very limited number of possession in a game, which can be attributed to their horrible rebounding (worst in the Big Ten).

Even though Illinois score fewer points than in a high school girls' basketball, the Hawkeyes are going to be up against it today and I think Illinois' bigs are going to have a heyday against Iowa's big boys. Tisdale has made big strides in his sophomore campaign, and Iowa really doesn't have anyone to match up with him. Mike Davis should own the boards today. Being at home is going to give Illinois the help they need (11-1 at home so far this year). Illinois is the best passing team in the Big Ten, and they rank 4th in the nation in assists per game (over 18 a contest).

Iowa hasn't won a Big Ten road game yet, and I don't see one happening today.

Pomeroy gives Iowa a 13% chance to win the game.

Iowa - 57
Illinois - 66