Iowa is officially a Hawkeye state. Forget about Cyclones and Panthers; Black and Gold reign supreme after Iowa defeated both of the state’s other public universities in hand-to-hand combat. I mean basketball. And football. And wrestling. The Hawks have all the wins that matter after taking care of business easily against UNI on Saturday, bringing the good guys to 6-5 overall on the season. And with two more games to go in the non-conference slate, it’s a good time to take stock before the games that matter happen. This week Iowa plays host to North Dakota and Delaware State. So let’s talk about the birds and the bees. I mean the Fighting Hawks and the Hornets.
North Dakota Fighting Hawks
Who knew there were enough people in the hinterlands of North Dakota to justify two state schools? We know very little about these people, except that they tend to have an incredibly thick and furry epidermis in order to survive the permafrost that exists outside of their basketball arena. In fact, if you put a thin layer of water on their basketball court, it becomes their ice hockey team’s venue within an hour. None of the above is true. Or is it? Really I’m just stalling, because I’m a bit concerned with what the computer model says about this game. The last time it looked wonky when predicting a low-major school against Iowa, it was Nebraska-Omaha, and we all know how that turned out.
On the surface, UND looks similar to Iowa statistically. The big difference is that Iowa has some better outside shooters. But UND does have the ability to pull up and shoot from almost anywhere else on the court and they are quite efficient when they do, ranking 41st in the nation in field goal percentage (48.7%). This team is also fairly long and athletic with very active hands, picking a lot of pockets this season. With Iowa’s lack of an experienced pure guard, the Hawkeyes may find themselves the victim of some forced turnovers. H.A.W.K.E.Y.E.S. predicts North Dakota stealing this one away from Iowa, 70-76. I’m reminded of Jon Miller’s podcast this week where he said Iowa would drop some games they had no business losing. I think this might be one of them.
Delaware State Hornets
The Hornets are just plain bad. Even against some very very poor opponents, Delaware State has had a very hard time finding their offense. Despite having the 54th-best three-point shooting percentage in the nation, they rarely maintain possessions long enough to get those shots off, ranking 308th in turnovers lost. And two of their three wins this season came against Division-III opponents Clarks Summit and Keystone, making their effective record 1-9. And even against this lackluster competition, they do not look stunning statistically. This is easily the worst team Iowa will play this season, hands down. They may actually be the worst team in the nation, and that’s not just my editorializing.
And like the rest of the world, the computer is not at all concerned about this game. Fran could probably sit the top 5 scorers and still walk away from this game without breaking a sweat. In fact, if you happen to go to this game, they may let you walk on for a few minutes of game time. The computer predicts Iowa winning 82-56. If Delaware State scores even that many, then panic.
North Dakota 70-76 (L)
Delaware State 82-56 (W)
Predicted record this week: 1-1
Predicted record after this week: 7-6