<body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\x3d8865224\x26blogName\x3dHawkeye+Hoops\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dBLACK\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3dhttp://hawkeyehoops.blogspot.com/search\x26blogLocale\x3den_US\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3dhttp://hawkeyehoops.blogspot.com/\x26vt\x3d1162862754422728162', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>
Friday, February 18, 2005
 
Next Up - #1 Illinois
#1 Illinois (26-0, 12-0) at Iowa (16-8, 4-7)
11:06 a.m.
Carver-Hawkeye Arena

Obligatory Numbers Rundown
- conference games only
- conference rank in parentheses
..................................Illinois..............Iowa
Offensive Rating.........122 (1)............102 (8)
Defensive Rating.........100 (4)............101 (5)
adjFG%.......................0.561 (1).........0.484 (8)
opp adjFG%...............0.518 (9).........0.478 (3)
TO / poss...................0.159 (1).........0.213 (5)
opp TO / poss...........0.234 (3).........0.232 (4)
off reb rate................0.351 (4)..........0.324 (6)
def reb rate...............0.711 (3)..........0.678 (6)
FTA / FGA.................0.295 (10).......0.381 (5)
opp FTA / FGA..........0.269 (2).........0.437 (10)
3 pt %.........................0.397 (2).........0.362 (4)
opp 3 pt %.................0.418 (11)........0.340 (6)
FT %...........................0.778 (2).........0.671 (10)
Pomeroy Rating...............1......................24

Illinois comes to town with its undefeated season still intact to face the team that's been as close as anyone to beating them. It's been one month since Iowa's exciting comeback that forced overtime but ultimately came up five points short.

This time Iowa will have a new look, as it will be without the player who gave them 45 minutes and 22 points while guarding Illinois point guard Deron Williams. There was doom and gloom in Hawkeye Nation about how Iowa would dearly miss Pierre Pierce's play after his dismissal, but so far its only been half right.

Iowa's offense has been just as productive with Pierce as it was without him, as I suggested would happen here. Greg Brunner and Adam Haluska have played well in their bigger roles, leading Iowa to an average offensive rating of 103 for the past four games. Iowa averaged 102 for its first seven games when Pierce was playing (and coughing up the ball over 5 times a game).

Pierce's presence is missed much more on the defensive end. The Hawkeyes allowed 106 points per 100 possessions in the four games without Pierce. The team's defensive rating was 98 when Pierce was in the lineup. So much for Mike Henderson's reputation as a defensive stopper (although four games isn't exactly a large sample size).
***Update***
I should mention that the past four games have been against offenses that rank in the top half of the Big Ten's most efficient offenses. With games remaining against punchless offenses like Minnesota, Penn State, and Michigan, Iowa's defensive numbers without Pierce should look more respectable by season's end.

Individual Stat Report
Illinois
Player........................MPG.......Floor%......Off Rtg......%Poss........Notable
Luther Head...............33.3........0.535...........128..........23.4%........B10 3rd leading scorer
Dee Brown.................32.5........0.558............137..........18.8%........blazing 65% adjFG%
Roger Powell.............24.9........0.553............117...........22.5%.......0 asts in 299 min
Deron Williams.........34.4........0.451............105..........22.5%........B10 ast leader, 7.3/g
James Augustine......29.2........0.659............139..........17.7%.........85% FT in B10
Jack Ingram..............14.5........0.607............137..........15.5%
Nick Smith...................9.8........0.481............102..........19.7%
Rich McBride.............16.7........0.407............110..........10.3%

Iowa
Player......................MPG........Floor%........Off Rtg.....%Poss.........Notable
Greg Brunner..........34.5.........0.559..............117.........23.6%........Leads team with 41% on 3's, leads B10 in def reb
Jeff Horner..............37.8..........0.421..............102........19.6%........31% on FG last 4 games
Adam Haluska.........29.4.........0.487...............112........21.2%........
Erek Hansen............16.7.........0.388.................81.........11.4%.......26% on FG
Doug Thomas...........17.0........0.521...............103.........16.1%.......2nd on team in reb, 6th in min
Mike Henderson.......19.1........0.334.................69.........14.7%
Carlton Reed............13.3........0.400................93..........13.6%.......more ast than Henderson in 64 less min
Alex Thompson........10.2........0.463................97...........12.7%
Seth Gorney..............4.4.........0.323................66............7.8%

Illinois's offense looks like what you might expect a great offense to look like - plenty of talented players who aren't afraid to share the ball. As is often cited, their three guards each rank in the Big Ten's top ten for assists per game, and Deron Williams is five points shy of being the team's fifth double-digit scorer. One factoid that helps illustrate Illinois's offensive efficiency - they lead the conference in scoring (75.7 pts/g), yet their possessions per game is below the conference average. In other words, Iowa averages over four possessions more each game than Illinois, but manages to score 8 fewer points.

Nothing new here, but Illinois's strengths on offense include excellent shooting, rarely turning the ball over, and above average rebounding. The guard trio of Brown, Head, and Williams all land in the Big Ten's top ten for three point %, and their turnover rate is among the lowest in the country.

Keys to the Game
I think Iowa's keys to victory are the same as they were the last time these two teams played. The things I highlighted last time were outside shooting, defensive rebounding, and getting to the free throw line. To that I would add staying out of foul trouble (that means you, Brunner).

Horner and Haluska will need to step up by hitting some threes. Illinois is likely to have more shot attempts because of their offensive rebounding and their ability to hold onto the ball, so Iowa will have to make up for that by scoring more on their opportunities, which means making some threes. Horner and Haluska have had mixed results from deep recently, but have shown flashes where they can hit the shot. More minutes for Reed would help too (are you listening Coach?). They should be aided by Illinois's league-worst 0.418 allowed on opponents' threes.

Another key is limiting Illinois shot attempts by not giving them second chances, i.e. not allowing many offensive rebounds. This was a huge problem for Iowa earlier in the year, but Erek Hansen also used to play a lot. Now that he doesn't, Iowa is doing a lot better on the glass. Check out how Iowa's last four opponents have done against Iowa and against the Big Ten overall -

Team...............Hansen min.....Oreb Rt vs IA........Oreb Rt in B10
Mich State..................14...................0.343.........................0.379
Wisconsin..................17..................0.259..........................0.312
N'western....................6..................0.000.........................0.216
Purdue.......................14..................0.235.........................0.366

I don't know what I like more about the Northwestern game - not a single Wildcat offensive rebound or just 6 minutes of playing time for Hansen. OK, a little harsh, and I'll admit I supported him early in the season, but I expect tress like that to produce a few more boards.

Another key is getting to the free throw line, especially guys like Brunner, Horner, and Haluska. This provides the double benefit of shooting for points while racking up fouls for individuals on the other team, hopefully to the detriment of their playing time. Iowa has shown they are not one of the better shooting teams in the league (8th in adjFG%), but they can offset some of that inefficiency by getting to the free throw line. With the exception of the Northwestern game, good things tend to happen when Horner and Haluska get a lot of free throw attempts, and that's simpy because they tend to make them. I would really like to see Haluska getting after the rim tomorrow (Horner too) and maybe limit Head or Brown to 30 minutes. I'll temper my optimism by noting that Illinois's opponents don't shoot a lot of free throws (2nd to Penn St in opp FTA / FGA).

Finally, it's imperative for Iowa's chances that their scorers, namely Greg Brunner and Adam Haluska, stay in the game. Both have been Iowa's main contributors since Pierce left, and both have had frequent run-ins with foul trouble. The offense used to be OK as long as three of the top four scorers were on the court, but without Pierce, the team seems to struggle whenever it is missing any of Horner, Haluska, and Brunner. I cringe at the thought of seeing Brunner on the bench, because it inevitably leads to 25-foot heaves from Horner.

Feel free to leave comments about your thoughts about Iowa's chances tomorrow.

Go Hawks!
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

Powered by Blogger