This week, Iowa takes on three more non-conference opponents, two of whom are perennial round-ball pests for the Hawks.
If it weren’t for a good friend of mine, I wouldn’t even know where Stetson was, or that they played any sports. But appropriately enough, their mascot is the caricature of John B. Stetson of hat fame, so they have that going for them. Outside of their awesome mascot, the Hatters did not really present any particular threat as a team and struggled to score against Iowa’s best defensive outing in a few weeks. Iowa was able to contest most of Stetson’s threes, stifling their only real strength. The computer model predicted a score line of 83-78, Hawks. I don’t think the game was ever this close.
I’m not overly optimistic about this game. Iowa State looks pretty decent. However, they do have one area where they’ve been a little vulnerable. Teams that can defend in the paint and force the Cyclones to make their hay from beyond the arc have a chance to exploit their mediocre shooting.
That said, having seen Iowa’s defensive play, I’m not expecting the Hawks to be able to pull this off. And neither is H.A.W.K.E.Y.E.S. Iowa is going to need to take care of the ball and be aggressive on the boards, as ISU has been successful with second chance opportunities. The model is calling for the game to be 85-74 in favor of Iowa State. I would say this sounds a little low, but the computer is also expecting a slightly slower pace of play (~76 possessions) than we’ve been used to seeing, so that might be right on target.
Iowa’s final opponent this week also hails from the Hawkeye State, making this a big one. Luckily, unlike the Cyclones, the Panthers are not looking like their normal selves. In 3 of their 7 games, the Panthers have failed to even score 60 points or more, with only one game scoring more than 80. That said, they have been tough on defense, holding teams to just under 62 points per game. They are essentially the exact opposite of Iowa, packing a heck of a defense and treating offense like a luxury.
If UNI can find a way to force some turnovers and convert them into points, then Iowa may be in trouble. But if the Hawks score anything north of 75 points, this should be a runaway win for Iowa. The computer expects Iowa to win 74-65. But with 81 predicted possessions, I think Iowa’s offense makes it a bit more of a blowout.
In a Nutshell
vs. Stetson: 84-75 (Actual 95-68)
vs. Iowa State: 74-85 (L)
vs. UNI (neutral court): 74-65 (W)