No matter the sport, it always feels good to beat Ohio State. Like, really good. Like the first-time-you-beat-your-dad-in-anything good. A couple of things of note from this game: Peter Jok did not start (called it!) and Nicholas Baer did (called it, too!) I doubt we’ll see Jok against Rutgers, either. Not because we don’t need him or want him, but because a hobbled Jok leaves teams free to ignore him and creates a defensive nightmare, as he is just too easy to beat one on one in that situation. And finally, it looks like the computer model is doing a much better job with score lines. Sure, it didn’t get it totally right, but the data going into the regressions relied heavily on a roster that included a healthy dose of Peter Jok.
Overall, the predicted scores over the last two games have been much closer to reality since I made some small changes, and I’m happy with the results. The problem with forecasting, in any line of work, is that it relies upon past results and necessarily contains error in the output. The more variable the outcomes (like predicting two college basketball scores) the more error there is likely to be. But there are more pressing concerns ahead: Iowa is playing its second match against Rutgers and we need to see what’s going on there.
So the cool thing here is that there has been quite a bit of action since the last time the Hawks faced the Scarlet Knights and we can see how (if at all) Rutgers has progressed (or regressed).
Rutgers relied heavily on second-chance points, pulling down impressive numbers of offensive rebounds. Outside of that, they were fairly pedestrian when it comes to nearly everything else. But the more things change, the more they stay the same.
The only noticeable difference is that Rutgers has learned that they are absolutely abysmal at hitting the three and have adjusted accordingly, taking on average about 3 fewer shots per game than earlier in the month. But they have continued to crash the boards and pick up their own trash, still averaging about 15 offensive rebounds per game.
Iowa, likewise, has also not changed. At all. But, with Jok looking questionable at best to play, I would expect Iowa’s three point shooting to drop quite a bit from their average. I don’t foresee the Hawks to give up perimeter shooting entirely, but against Ohio State they shot 4 fewer than their average (and this trend was similar in the games where Jok was clearly hurting). If I had to make a wager, I’d say a good over/under on three-point attempts from Iowa would be 19.5, almost ten under their season average. Iowa may need to be a little more aggressive in closing out on rebounds, and it could be fun to watch Cordell Pemsl and Tyler Cook take on that responsibility.
The artificial intelligence likes Iowa in this game, but not by much. And given the three game skid Iowa fell into over the last two weeks, it’s not hard to see why the computer is a little hesitant. H.A.W.K.E.Y.E.S. predicts a Hawkeye victory over the Scarlet Knights on Tuesday night, 75-73 in a very slow-paced game. But, as I said, this is heavily weighted on games where Jok played and Iowa lived and died by the three. Without him in, Iowa’s offense should look a lot more like it did against Ohio State than any other game previously.