I really don’t want to dwell on what happened at the hands of Purdue the other day. But I noticed a few things worth mentioning. Purdue is vastly underrated. Their guard play is outstanding and their ability to find open threes is jaw-dropping.
Prior to this point in the season, nobody had shot more than 25 threes and hit more than 40% of them. Purdue shot 29 (the third most against the Hawks this season) and hit 12 (the most Iowa has allowed all season). And even when those shots were contested, they seemed to find a way to go in regardless. By the end of the first half, it felt like Purdue could shoot from anywhere and hit.
And on the opposite end of the floor, Peter Jok was cold for the first 20 minutes, and Iowa had a hard time even finding space to take a shot from outside, finishing the game with a season-low 4 three-pointers on only 17 attempts, the second lowest number of attempts all season, good for an abysmal 23.5% three-point percentage. To top it off, Iowa did a great job of keeping the Boilermakers from getting second chances, holding them to four offensive boards. But they were unable to create these chances for themselves, despite ample misses creating a ton of opportunities. In short, Iowa looked the worst it has offensively all season, outside of the game against Virginia. I probably could have summed this whole section up by simply saying this: Iowa sucked.
But tomorrow is another day and it brings another game. And despite thirteen games under their belt, it is very difficult to read the Michigan Wolverines. Their only real quality wins came against Marquette and Texas. But after seeing Texas get beaten by Kent State, I’m not so sure that one really counts. And somehow they managed to win that one scoring only 53. But they have managed to basically dismantle less-talented teams.
As is expected from a team that shoots as many threes as Michigan, they are not particularly prolific at rebounding. In fact, D.J. Wilson is the only player on their roster who averages 5 or more boards per game. If Iowa can avoid looking lethargic under the rim like they did against Purdue, this could be the key to the game.
Michigan focuses almost entirely on bursts of scoring from the perimeter and tends to ignore defense entirely. But their trio of Zak Irvin, Derrick Walton and Mo Wagner can be very difficult to contain. Just looking at the five keys, the most important thing Iowa can do is get in the face of Michigan’s shooters and at least contest the three. If the Hawks can disrupt the perimeter shooting, they should be able to force Michigan to prove that they can be more athletic on the interior, where Iowa should have a definite size advantage.
It seems like the computer thinks Iowa will take care of business, predicting Iowa winning with a score of 71-51. Personally, I think the game is going to be a little higher scoring and a little closer. Iowa’s size advantage inside is going to lead them to a win over the Wolverines with a score more like 86-75. But let me know what you think the score will be and leave your predictions in the comments below.