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FRANALYSIS: IOWA'S LENGTH, ATHLETICISM PROVES SUPERIOR TO DAVIDSON'S OFFENSIVE SYSTEM

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Aaron White and the Hawkeyes were just too long and too athletic for Davidson.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Davidson had no chance in this one. No matter how incredibly efficient their offense has been this year, it was no match for Iowa's size and athleticism on Friday night. On offense, the Hawkeyes had no trouble shooting the ball over the top of this small Wildcat roster and they cleaned up the few misses that they did have. On defense, Iowa's defenders not only towered over Davidson's players, but their athleticism allowed them to chase Davidson guys off of screens and close out on the perimeter to contest shots. At halftime, Bob McKillop admitted that his team was bothered by the length of Iowa. He said something to the effect of "They are seeing a wall."

So for as great as Iowa looked scoring 83 points and for as much as this game will be remembered as the game where Aaron White scored 26 points and Adam Woodbury had an awesome put-back slam, I would ask you all to remember the defense. This is a Davidson team that Kenpom still has rated as the 7th best offense in the nation, averaging 1.17 adjusted points per possession (PPP). In Iowa's first NCAA Tournament win since 2001, the Hawkeye defense held that Davidson offense to just 0.81. It was an amazing performance.

quarters

Four Factors in Review

1st half

First Half Points Per Possession: Iowa 1.23, Davidson 0.94

First Half Possessions: 31

2nd half

Second Half Points Per Possession: Iowa 1.35, Davidson 0.69

Second Half Possessions: 33

4 factors

Points Per Possession: Iowa 1.29, Davidson 0.81

Possessions: 64

Shooting

According to Kenpom, Davidson is 14th in the nation when it comes to eFG%. Iowa is 214th. Now, that eFG% rating for Iowa is very heavily influenced by their offensively-challenged days back in the non-conference schedule. They've shot the ball significantly better since 2015 started, and they continued that trend against Davidson. Name a way to score the basketball, and Iowa did it better than Davidson. Near the rim? Check. Mid-range jumper? Check. Three-point shooting? Check. Free throw shooting? Checkmate.

Iowa 2pt Near Rim 2pt Jumper 3Pt FG
Attempts 34.8% 42.0% 23.2%
FG% 75.0% 37.9% 37.5%

Iowa had periods of time when they seemed to just jack up mid-range jumper after mid-range jumper, and they still won this game by 31 points. Despite a couple stretches where they seemed to forget that they had a size advantage in the post, it never really hurt them because they were shooting the ball well from everywhere on the floor. And, when they did miss, they were usually grabbing the offensive rebound and scoring on the second chance.

Davidson, though, they had a rough night. Tyler Kalinoski picked up 3 early fouls, and had to sit for the final 8 minutes of the first half. Bob McKillop brought in Andrew McAuliffe to help bolster the rebounding (Iowa was murdering Davidson on the offensive boards in the first half) and the defense, but that definitely took away some firepower from this Davidson offense. The A-10 player of the year played the entire second half, though, and the Davidson offense somehow looked worse.

Here are their final shooting stats:

Davidson 2pt Near Rim 2pt Jumper 3Pt FG
Attempts 33.3% 22.2% 44.4%
FG% 61.9% 14.3% 21.4%

Advantage: Iowa

Turnovers

This category didn't play a huge role in this game. Davidson is a team that rarely turns the ball over and never forces any turnovers, and that is pretty much what we saw in this one. Iowa did end up with 1 fewer turnover, though, and they outscored the Wildcats 9-3 on points off of turnovers.

Advantage: Iowa

Offensive Rebounding

This was a huge category for Iowa in the first half. Their 10 second chance points in the first half helped mask what would have otherwise been a lackluster early shooting performance. Early on, it seemed as if Iowa was content to just throw up mid-range jumpers from the elbow and not get the ball inside. Luckily, Iowa's size advantage allowed them to scoop up those misses and convert them into made field goals near the rim and a couple free throw attempts. Adam Woodbury scored 6 of his 8 points off of offensive rebounds in the first half, while Gabe Olaseni scored 4 of his 6 in the same manner before halftime.

In the second half, though, Iowa no longer needed to crash the offensive glass the way they had in the first half because they simply weren't missing many of their attempts from the field. Davidson ended up with 5 offensive rebounds to Iowa's 3 in the second half, but they had 11 extra misses to potentially rebound that Iowa didn't have. And the Hawkeyes still outscored Davidson 3-2 on second chance points in the final 20 minutes.

Advantage: Iowa

Free Throw Rate

Like turnovers, this was a category that didn't end up factoring into the game a whole lot. Again, like turnovers, Davidson is a team that doesn't foul much and doesn't draw many fouls. Both teams had 10 free throw attempts for the game, and Iowa made 7 compared to just 4 for Davidson.

Davidson did win this category, however, because they put up their 10 free throw attempts on 63 field goal attempts, while it took Iowa 69.

Advantage: Davidson

Overall: Iowa won 3 of 4 Factors

Players

players

If you needed this chart to tell you that Aaron White was the player of the game, then you clearly weren't watching the basketball game. White's adjusted game score of 0.85 was right up there with his performances against Northwestern, Illinois, Ohio State, and Texas this year. And similar to that stretch of play against Ohio State where he scored 12 straight points on 6 straight possessions, White scored 13 straight points for Iowa in the second half in 3 minutes of game time. Iowa's veteran ginger went on his own 13-1 run against Davidson, blowing the game open from a 9-point lead to a 21-point lead in just 3 minutes. To give you a perspective of his domination down the stretch, I present to you:

His final state line was 26 points on 11-14 shooting from the field and 3-3 shooting from the line (his 1.69 points per scoring attempt was his best of the season). He also grabbed 6 rebounds (2 offensive), dished out an assist, blocked a shot, and came away with 1 steal, which he finished with a fast break layup. He also threw down 2 dunks, moving his season total to 60 and his dunk streak to 21.

Aaron White Dunk-O-Meter Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior Career
Dunks 32 56 51 60 199
Field Goals Made 136 140 143 164 583
Dunk Rate 23.5% 40.0% 35.7% 36.6% 34.1%

And, oh yeah, there is also this:

This really was a team game, though. Peter Jok shot the ball well and scored 12 points. Mike Gesell was the offensive catalyst, and scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half and threw in 6 assists and no turnovers for the game. Adam Woodbury demolished everything in his way in the first half, and Jarrod Uthoff hit a few shots, but stuffed the box score with rebounds.

There is a lot more I could say, but with a quick turnaround game against Gonzaga to preview, I will leave it at that.

This was a great performance from Iowa, and it pretty much reaffirms what we already knew: If Iowa plays like they are capable of, they can beat just about anybody. Let's hope this same team shows up against Gonzaga.