Iowa Hawkeyes (7-2) vs. Alcorn State Braves (1-5)
Date: December 9, 2014
Time: 8:00 p.m. CT
Location: Carver Hawkeye Arena
TV: ESPNews (seriously)
Point spread: Iowa -30.5
Four letters: NJIT.
Michigan's loss last weekend to the New Jersey Institute of Technology is the only reason to watch this game. NJIT entered Saturday in the bottom quarter of Kenpom, shot out of their minds, caught everyone but Caris LeVert off guard, and pulled off a massive, stunning, "what does it all mean?"-level upset.
So, could Alcorn State do the same at CHA Tuesday night? Theoretically, sure. I mean, they haven't won a game against a Division I team this year, they lost by a combined 68 points to Cal and Texas in that NYC tournament that Iowa played in back in November, and they just lost by 21 to Troy. They are one of the worst two-point shooting teams in the country, in large part because they have no size: Just 12 percent of Alcorn's available minutes have been played by guys over 6'8, and those guys are averaging 3.0 points per game. The lack of size has extended to the defensive end, where opponents are making 55 percent of their two-point attempts and recovering a staggering 42 percent of the misses. Put another way: Alcorn State's opponents are either making or rebounding 74 percent of two-point shot attempts. At which point they're making 55 percent of the second attempts. This is how 1.14 points allowed per possession happens.
The Braves aren't the worst offensive team you'll ever see, at least. They don't turn the ball over -- their 16.2 percent turnover rate is one of the best in the nation, a product of playing five guards pretty much all the time -- and they shoot fairly effectively from the perimeter. The awesomely-named LeAntwan Luckett (6'4, 184 lbs.) is their best scorer, averaging 16.2 points per game. Luckett also has the most assists of Braves who have played in every game. Luckett put up 18 on Cal and topped 20 points in two of his last three games, and is not afraid of shooting from three. Besides Luckett, Iowa has to be concerned with forwards Reginald Johnson (6'5, 225, 12.0 ppg) and Marquis Vance (6'7, 225, 10.7 ppg, 6.5 rpg).
Should Iowa comfortably win this game? Absolutely. The lack of turnovers should be countered by the rebounding edge, and Iowa's ability to capitalize on offensive rebounds is second to almost none. Expect huge numbers for Aaron White and Peter Jok, ample playing time for Trey Dickerson and Dominic Uhl, and a comfortable win.
But NJIT. Never forget NJIT.