It’s finally here - the last non-conference game of the season (until tourney time) is finally upon us! It’s been a bumpy ride, but you know what? That’s fine, because it was expected for the young Hawks to run into some problems in the non-con. As it stands now, Iowa’s 7-5 and has the 13th best record in the Big Ten. Not exactly ideal, but once conference play starts up, I’d expect them to rise a few spots.
Who do they play tonight? Well, a really bad Delaware State team. Let’s learn a bit about them, yeah?
The Hornets (had to look this up) are one of the WORST teams in the country. Seriously! They’re really bad! Kenpom has them ranked 338(!) out of 351(!!) teams in the country overall, and neither their adjusted offensive or defensive efficiency cracks the top 300. A big thing to note is that they’re 330th in the country in rebounds per game, which is probably a big reason for their 3-10 record.
Their losses aren’t really impressive, but their wins are especially not all that impressive. Two of their wins have come against Summit (who?) and Keystone (the beer?), neither of which are even Division I schools. Their only D1 victory this season has come against a not great St. John’s squad. They also just lost to Indiana a couple days ago by 47 points! Needless to say, their resume isn’t all too impressive coming into this bout against the Hawks.
Like Iowa, Delaware State is a pretty young team - the Hornets boast a squad with only two seniors and only one of them starts. Sound familiar?
This team is the polar opposite of Iowa on the offensive end of the floor. Where Iowa boasts a handful of really good shooters, Delaware State doesn’t really have anyone who jumps off the page and scares you. Their leading scorer is Devin Morgan at 12.9 ppg, which in itself isn’t anything that scares you, but the way he does it is incredibly underwhelming. Morgan is an incredibly inefficient shooter, shooting 37% from the field and three-point range. He takes far and away the most shots on the team, and it appears as though they’re not very good shots to be taking.
Their second leading scorer is the complete opposite as Devin Morgan. Kavon Waller is a high efficiency, low volume kind of guy, as he shoots over 50% from both the field and three-point range but only takes about seven or so shots a game. If he gets his opportunities, he’s definitely the guy that I’d be afraid can tear the Iowa defense apart with his ability to space the floor. Outside of him, they don’t have anyone that I’d fear if I were Fran or the Hawks.
The biggest story in this one is that the Hawkeyes once again have a size advantage over the Hornets. Delaware State boasts only two players who are 6’9”, and the rest are all significantly shorter. While Iowa doesn’t have anyone who is much taller than 6’9”, their average height is a lot greater than that of Delaware State. This size deficiency is probably the biggest factor in determining why the Hornets aren’t a great rebounding team, and I’m hopeful that Iowa will be able to exploit it against a team that only averages 30 boards a game.
This one is a really winnable game for Iowa, and I don’t think it’s even a question whether or not they’ll come out of this one on top. I think Delaware State’s best chance is if Iowa gets caught looking ahead to Purdue next week, but I think that Fran is a good enough coach that his team will be focused on the task at hand. This should be a cakewalk. Right? RIGHT?
Iowa 88, Delaware State 50. Mark it down.