For the second straight weekend in a row, Iowa won a game against a team from the state of Illinois by double-digits. A game in which the final score doesn't fully capture the magnitude of the beatdown. They won by 12, sure. But if it wasn't for Iowa letting their foot off the gas for the final ten minutes, this would have been a 20+ point blowout.
To recap, the game started sloppily for both teams, but Iowa quickly got on track. Everything was going right for the Hawkeyes in the first twenty minutes, while Illinois was only able to stave off a double-digit deficit at the half because they hit 6 of their first half 13 three-point attempts. After the intermission, Illinois' outside shooting abandoned them and Iowa put it in overdrive, increasing their lead to 20 with eleven minutes left in the game. Iowa would then face a drought on offense, which was made doubly worse when they went to their end-of-game, clock-milking offense that is essentially just Mike Gesell dribbling around until the shot clock winds down. Illinois, meanwhile, would find some semblance of an inside game and would outscore Iowa by 8 points down the stretch to make the game look closer than it really was.
But it really wasn't that close.
Anthony Clemmons shut Kendrick Nunn down, while Jarrod Uthoff held Malcolm Hill in check. The only person Iowa didn't have a total answer for was Jalen Coleman-Lands, who finished the game 5-11 from downtown. But he wasn't going to beat this Hawkeye team by himself. He needed the help of Hill and Nunn, and Iowa made sure their impact was limited on this game.
The final score may not completely capture how non-competitive this game was, but a 12-point win is yet another double-digit victory over a Big Ten team this year -- Iowa's ninth in eleven games. This team is good, you guys.
Four Factors in Review
First Half Points Per Possession: Iowa 1.11, Illinois 0.84
First Half Possessions: 34
Second Half Points Per Possession: Iowa 1.07, Illinois 0.99
Second Half Possessions: 36
Total Points Per Possession: Iowa 1.08, Illinois 0.91
Total Possessions: 71
|Iowa||2pt Near Rim||2pt Jumper||3Pt FG||FT|
|Illinois||2pt Near Rim||2pt Jumper||3Pt FG||FT|
If it seemed liked Iowa's shooting was a bit off against Illinois at times, it was because of the two-point jumpers they were taking and not making. However, as we will talk about below, Iowa's crashing of the offensive glass allowed them to get multiple looks near the basket, and also gave them some second chance opportunities to bury threes -- two places they were actually shooting the ball well from on Sunday afternoon.
As for Illinois, they had different things go right for them in both halves. Before halftime, they didn't make their first two-point field goal until there was 8:34 left on the game clock. They finished the first half 5-19 from two-point range, managing to stay within 9 points of Iowa only because they shot 6-13 from from three-point range. In the second half, they ended up shooting just 2-12 from long range, but started finding some success from closer up late in the game. No matter what Illinois did, however, it didn't matter because Iowa had the game firmly in control at all points in this game.
Overall, there weren't a lot of turnovers in this one. With 71 possessions, 9 turnovers for Iowa and 10 for Illinois really isn't very many. Both teams were responsible for forcing a majority of these turnovers, as Iowa finished with 7 steals and Illinois with 6. Additionally, both teams capitalized on the other team's turnovers. The Hawkeyes ended up with 12 points, while the Illini had 13.
Overall, Illinois capitalized on their turnovers a bit more than Iowa, but the Hawkeyes technically win the category due to quantity.
We knew coming into this game that Illinois was terrible when it came to offensive rebounding, and they did not disappoint. Iowa outscored them on second chance points 26-6 for the entire game, which helped the Hawkeyes offset some of the inefficient shooting they displayed in this game.
Adam Woodbury (5) and Jarrod Uthoff (4) combined for 9 of Iowa's 12 offensive rebounds on the day. Of those 12 offensive rebounds Iowa had for the game, 6 of them were converted into field goals in the paint like this one:
Meanwhile, 4 of them ended with Iowa burying a three, like they did here:
Oh yeah, and here:
On the other end of the floor, Illinois was atrocious on the offensive glass, living up to the expectations we had of them, entering this game. For about the first 30 minutes of game time, the Illini rebounded just 7.7% of their misses. That means, conversely, that Iowa had grabbed around 92% of all available defensive rebounds up to that point. That is complete and utter domination.
Unfortunately, Illinois came up with 5 offensive rebounds in the final 11 minutes of the game (3 more than they had in the first 29 minutes of play), leaving them with an offensive rebounding rate of 18.4%. Of course, that's still way below the Division I average and the lowest percentage an Iowa opponent has logged against the Hawkeyes this season. Add that to the fact that Illinois only managed 6 points on their 7 offensive rebounds, and you can see why this was the most important category of the game.
Iowa didn't get to the foul line in this one as much as they had been recently. However, Illinois' 6 free throw attempts over the entire 40 minutes paled in comparison to Iowa's 16. And not only did Iowa get to the line, but they also made their free ones, too. Aside from Anthony Clemmons missing front iron on both of his attempts for the day, Iowa made 13 of those 16 tries, which was good for 81% from the line. Illinois shot 83%, but when they only attempt 6 free throws, they should expect to make 5 of them.
Overall: Iowa Won all 4 Factors
This was quite the team effort for Iowa, which means it's hard to give a definitive player of the game because you could make a strong case for four players.
You could argue that Peter Jok was the team's best player (and adjusted game score and Kenpom would agree with you), considering he led the team in points, with 23. He only made 4 of his 11 two-point field goal attempts, but he made up for that by draining 3 of his 7 tries from deep. He also earned his way to the foul line three times and made all 6 attempts from there. On top of that, he gave Iowa 5 rebounds (2 offensive), 2 assists, and 2 steals (one of which ended with a breakaway dunk).
You could also argue that Adam Woodbury was the game's MVP. Not only did he have another great game on the boards with 14 rebounds (5 offensive), but he also gave the Hawkeyes 10 points on 5-6 shooting and 4 assists. Over his last six games he is averaging 11.5 rebounds per game in just 22.8 minutes per game. Oh, and this was his seventh double-double of the year. He had all of three for his career when this season started.
Adam Woodbury with 10 points and 14 rebounds, his seventh double-double of the season and 10th of his career. #Hawkeyes— Iowa Basketball (@IowaHoops) February 7, 2016
Now, you could also argue that Anthony Clemmons was the player of the game for Iowa. He didn't have the most efficient day on offense, scoring 10 points, but needing 10 field goal and 2 free throw tries to get there. Additionally, his 2 assist to 3 turnover ratio doesn't look that great, either. However, we cannot overlook his defensive contribution to this game, as he finished with 4 steals and completely shut down another of the league's top sharpshooters. Kendrick Nunn entered this game scoring about 16 points per game against Big ten competition, and Sapp held him to 6 points on 2-13 shooting and 0-7 shooting from distance. Even Nunn's made field goals didn't come easy, thanks to Clemmons.
At least Illinois ended the half on solid note. pic.twitter.com/8pxgmbf00G— Big Ten Geeks (@bigtengeeks) February 7, 2016
With this performance and what he did to Bryn Forbes earlier this season, Clemmons has established himself as one the premier lockdown defenders in the conference. Let's hope he gets recognized for it at the end of the season.
Finally, you could make a case for Jarrod Uthoff being the top player for the Hawkeyes in this one, too. Like Woodbury, he also finished with a double-double, scoring 18 points, grabbing 12 rebounds (4 offensive), dishing out 2 assists, and blocking 2 shots (both of which were on jumpers). And, like Clemmons, he held the other Illinois superstar, Malcolm Hill, to just 14 points when he was averaging 19 coming into the game. Now, Hill's 5-9 shooting may not seem like a great defensive effort from Uthoff, but on the contrary. For Uthoff to hold Hill to only 9 field goal attempts and 4 free throw attempts on the day -- when he was averaging 14 and 10 against Big Ten opponents before this game -- is quite the accomplishment. And, not only that, but Uthoff also helped get him in foul trouble, forcing him to play less aggressive than he probably otherwise would have.
The main argument against crowning him player of the game was the fact that it took him an unusually inefficient 17 field goal and 4 free throw attempts to get his 18 points vs. Illinois. And if you've noticed that Jarrod's shooting has been a little off lately, that's because his mid-range jumper isn't falling as frequently as it was earlier in the season. He's still shooting the ball well from near the rim (76%) and from beyond the arc (44%) in conference play, but he is making just 18.8% of his long twos in Big Ten play, after making 33.3% against non-conference opponents. And to make matters worse, 42.3% of his field goal attempts have been long twos against Big Ten competition, compared to 37.5% in non-conference play.
The only real knock on Uthoff's game this season has been that he can settle for contested jumpers (usually of the fadeaway variety) too often, and this seems to be what is happening lately. It wasn't hurting him so much earlier on, but there is a real trend that has developed as the season has gone on.
Of the seven games in which he's posted an eFG% south of 50%, four of those games have included him taking long twos on more than half of his attempts. His cutoff appears to be around 43%, which makes the Illinois game (the orange diamond) look more like an off-shooting night compared to the five other games above it. Still, keeping his percentage of mid-range jumpers to less than 40% would only make Uthoff that much more dangerous.
I tried not to harp on the long twos (like I have in past seasons) earlier this year because they weren't hurting Uthoff's offensive game. However, as the season goes on and those shots stop falling as much, that's not quite the case any longer. He's still having an outstanding season, and deserves all the post-season accolades he will get. But Iowa probably can't afford for him to be this inefficient against better teams come tournament time. Of course, if this is what a "slump" looks like for him, that just tells you the caliber player he is, and, man, we are lucky that he plays for our favorite team.
But let's not end this on a negative note. The Hawkeyes are a really good basketball team, and they looked the part against an overmatched and injury-stricken Illinois team. After three games in a row against less-than-stellar competition, Iowa gets to prove themselves once again against the top of the conference, as they head to Bloomington to take on Indiana and their high-powered offense. That high-powered offense was held to less than a point per possession in a loss at Penn State on Saturday, so it would appear that the Hoosiers have the motivation narrative going into this game.
We'll break down the match up later in the week, but for now, let's all enjoy the fact that Iowa is 10-1 and alone at the top of the conference.