The University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) came into this game projected to be one of the worst teams on Iowa's schedule this year, and they lived up to that hype. They were severely outmatched Saturday afternoon. So much so, that despite a mediocre second half performance from Iowa's bench (more on that later), the Retrievers were still whipped by 30 points.
But, yeah. The retrievers are bad. That's the narrative. Let's just go ahead and get into the numbers.
First, the scoring breakdown by 10 minute quarters:
Four Factors in Review
First Half Points Per Possession: Iowa 1.18, UMBC 0.49
Second Half Points Per Possession: Iowa 0.90, UMBC 0.83
Points Per Possession: Iowa 1.06, UMBC 0.65
As you can tell by looking at the charts, Iowa shot the ball much better in the first half than they did in the second half. It's not so easy just to blame all the shooting woes on the bench, however, because the starters went 3-9 during their little bit of time on the court after the half. Of course, the bench wasn't great in the final 20 minutes of play and shot 8-23 from the field. That drop in shooting (and in the other three factors) in the second half precipitated the drop in PPP from 1.18 before the intermission to 0.90 afterward.
(Shot chart courtesy of Shot Analytics)
However, they were playing UMBC so it didn't matter. Like, at all. The Retrievers just couldn't get anything going from inside or outside the arc.
Iowa could have failed to score in the second half and they would have still won this game.
Did I mention that UMBC is not very good at basketball?
Woof. UMBC gave the ball away slightly more than once every three times down the court. It was so bad in the first half that the Retrievers were actually over the 40% mark for a little while. If it wasn't obvious already, UMBC really had no answers for Iowa's aggressive defense, as 16 of their 26 turnovers came on Iowa steals.
Iowa, on the other hand, had little issue controlling the rock.
This is the slightly concerning part of this game. Iowa actually lost this category thanks to a second half that saw the Retrievers rebound over half of their misses. Allowing North Carolina to do that is one thing, but UMBC? Now, the starters only played 4 minutes in the second half, so this one is all on the bench players. The Hawkeyes had 10 defensive rebounds in the second half, and 3 of them were by Aaron White and Jarrod Uthoff in their 4 minute stints. I don't expect the bench to be as good as the starters, but I do expect them to be able to out-rebound UMBC.
Free Throw Rate
Iowa won this category like they are usually known to do. But, while the first half saw Iowa post a free throw rate right around their season average, the bench was only able to muster 4 free throw attempts in the second half. Honestly, though, that's not all that shocking, seeing how Olaseni is the only one on the second unit that is fairly good at drawing fouls.
UMBC, meanwhile, couldn't draw a foul to save their collective life. Iowa was whistled for 11 fouls, and only 4 of them occurred in the second half.
Overall: Iowa Won 3 Out of the 4 Factors
Because the bench mob got so much playing time in this one, it's only makes sense that most of the top performers were not starters. Peter Jok found his stroke against the Retrievers, as he was a high-volume shooter a high-efficiency scorer. He cooled off a bit in the second half, but he still finished with 15 points on 5-11 shooting, including a very welcoming 4-6 performance from downtown.
Sure, we have to apply the caveat that this came against UMBC, but it was good for him to get some playing time and hopefully build some confidence.
Gabe Olaseni also had himself a 15-point day, but did so on 6-9 shooting from the floor and 3-3 shooting at the line.
As you can see, Gabe used his height advantage to punish the Retrievers in the paint all afternoon long. For whatever reason, he was only in position to grab 1 defensive rebound all game long, but he was very active on the offensive glass, accounting for 6 of the Hawkeyes' 12 offensive rebounds. He also had his usual great defensive performance, in which he blocked 3 shots. One of those blocks was swatted violently something like 10 rows up into the stands. He seriously needs to adopt that tea-sipping gesture.
The last two guys who played pretty major roles in this victory were none other than Iowa's star players, Aaron White and Jarrod Uthoff. White scored 10 of his 14 points in the first half. He continued to be extremely efficient on the offensive side of the ball, as he went 5-7 from the floor and 4-5 from the charity stripe.
He also finished the day with 5 rebounds, 3 steals, and 1 block, which is pretty damn good for only 17 minutes of playing time.
Uthoff also did most of his scoring before halftime, putting up 8 of his 11 points during that time. He only played 15 minutes, but continued to be aggressive on offense, being responsible for 11 of Iowa's scoring opportunities. He wasn't incredibly efficient on the day, but a 50% TS% and averaging 1 point per scoring attempt isn't bad.
He also had 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block, and 1 steal. I'd call that a nice day's work.
Let's finish up with some bullet points:
- This year's team isn't quite as good as the last couple of years when it comes to getting to the foul line. That's because the foul-drawing abilities of Devyn Marble and Melsahn Basabe have not been made up by anyone this season. In addition, Iowa is taking a lot more long two point shots and more shots from beyond the three point line than in year's past. Basically everyone who's name is not "Aaron White" has seen a large drop in their free throw rate, as a result. Guys like Jarrod Uthoff, Adam Woodbury, and Gabe Olaseni have all seen pretty dramatic drops in this category. Now, it's not necessarily a bad thing if the offense was good at shooting, but Iowa doesn't appear to be a very good shooting team. If they can go back to attacking the rim more, drawing fouls and shooting free throws should help the offense more than taking and missing jump shots.
- Aaron White is very good at basketball; this we all know. However, I almost feel as if a lot of people may be taking him for granted and not appreciating just how good he really is. Coming into this season, a lot of people doubted his ability to step up and be the main offensive guy on this team, but I would say he has done that more than admirably this season. He's never going to be the guy that you isolate and let him go to work when the shot clock is winding down or the offense is in a slump; that's just not his game. However, his number of possessions used on offense is at an all-time high this year and so is his offensive rating. He's shooting and rebounding as well as ever, while his number of assists and steals are up, and he's also getting to the free throw line at a similar rate to his insane sophomore year. If you care at all about win shares, Aaron White has already been worth 2.1 wins for the Hawkeyes this season, and the next closest person is Jarrod Uthoff at 1.3 wins. White has theoretically been worth about a third of a win for the Hawkeyes every 40 minutes that he's seen the court this season, which is a career best rate for him. Sure, the competition is going to get tougher and it will be hard to keep up the pace of contributing a win every 4.5 games played, but he is on his way to having another monster season. The guy is one of the best to ever play for Iowa, and we only have about twenty-something games left of him. Enjoy him while you still can.
- Speaking of Aaron White, he had another dunk against UMBC. He has a dunk in every game except for against North Dakota State and North Carolina. Because of the high rate of dunks from him, I am going to start an Aaron White Dunk-O-Meter. Okay, it's more a "Dunk-O-Table" than a "Dunk-O-Meter", but the latter sounds better, so that's what I'm going with. I will continue to update the "Senior" column as the season goes on.
|Aaron White Dunk-O-Meter||Freshman||Sophomore||Junior||Senior||Career|
|Field Goals Made||136||140||143||42||461|
- Another stat I want to publicly track for the remainder of the season (unless it somehow falls off a cliff as the season goes on) is the number of shots Gabe Olaseni blocks. Like I said above, Olaseni has at least 1 block in every game so far this season, and he is currently at 24 on the season. Among guys who play enough to qualify, that's good enough to be the 9th best shot-blocker in the country, according to Kenpom.
That's enough for now. Iowa gets another terrible team in Alcorn State this Tuesday and then they get Iowa State three days later. Friday can't get here fast enough.