Iowa Hawkeyes (6-2) vs. Maryland-Baltimore County Retrievers (0-7)
Date: December 6, 2014
Time: Noon ET
Location: Carver Hawkeye Arena
TV: Mediacom 22/BTN Plus
Point spread: No line
Three days after knocking off North Carolina in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, Iowa returns home to face Maryland-Baltimore County. Tipoff is scheduled for noon, with TV coverage for Mediacom subscribers on MC22 and streaming through BTN.
UMBC is one of the nation's worst teams. Of the 351 Division I basketball programs, the Retrievers are ranked 346th by Kenpom. They have not won more than 9 games since 2008-09, and they have been within single digits of an opponent just once this season. Minnesota beat them by 18 early this year. Even Maryland-Eastern Shore, another of the nation's worst programs and perennial Iowa cupcake, beat UMBC by 13.
The Retrievers aren't horrible defensively, though opponents are shooting at a near-50 percent effective rate against them. UMBC has forced its fair share of turnovers, though that might be a function of bad opposition more than anything the Retrievers have done; their steal rate is somewhat low in comparison. But UMBC generally tries to find a way to make offense difficult for opponents, and hasn't been that bad.
The offense, on the other hand, is atrocious. UMBC is shooting at a 43 percent effective rate, and just 27 percent from behind the three-point line. They turn the ball over in one of every four possessions, recover less than 25 percent of their misses, and make just 58 percent of foul shots. This will likely be the least effective offensive team that Iowa faces this season.
UMBC has just one player who has averaged more than 10 points per game so far: Senior guard Wayne Sparrow (6'3, 180), who is scoring 10.9 points per game. Point guard Jourdan Grant (6'2, 180, 7.4 ppg, 3.6 apg) joing him in the backcourt and acts as the Retrievers' best distributor. Their forwards, senior Devarick Houston and junior Cody Joyce, are both smaller than anything Iowa will use at any forward spot.
Iowa had a big game Wednesday. It has another big game Friday. This isn't a big game. Even if they're flat -- which can be expected -- Iowa should comfortably roll over the Retrievers.