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Iowa Basketball Ranked Ninth in Big Ten in KenPom 2018 Preseason Ratings

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The Hawkeyes improve from the end of last year to be 54th overall

NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament-Iowa vs Indiana Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Ken Pomeroy (aka KenPom) released his first round of estimates for the 2017-18 basketball season and has Iowa 54th in the country with an Adjusted Estimated Margin of +13.4. More simply, if the Hawks played a completely average basketball team for 100 possessions, they would be expected to win by 13.4.

While it’s an improvement from last year, it didn’t allow Iowa to jump anyone else in the Big Ten, as they currently rank 9th, the same as last year. However, their 7.1 point improvement on defense is the largest improvement of any Big Ten team’s single variables.

*continuity is an estimate calculated earlier this offseason to ballpark returning minutes for each team

Observations

  • Iowa’s overall rank of 54th is right in line with where they’ve been in the past. Since Fran took over, Iowa has started the season ranked: 105, 61, 53, 15, 31, 36, and 55. The 3.1 bump moved Iowa up 17 spots from the end of last year.
  • I find difficulty criticizing Iowa’s rating and rank as we enter the season, given it is largely based on estimates of how much the Hawkeyes young guns would improve. I do think Iowa will be able to stabilize offensively in the low 110s and hopefully maintain the current defensive rating around 95 with the injection of Luka Garza down low.
  • Conference-wide, I’m still perplexed at the high value KenPom places on the foundation of both Wisconsin and Michigan. Both teams lose significant pieces who will impact their overall game - i.e.: I expect many more doubles on Ethan Happ as the Badgers lose two great three-point shooters and the loss of a point guard (from both) is always something I expect to adversely impact teams.
  • On the flip side, I’m glad to see my initial thoughts on Purdue hold up here in terms of losing only Caleb Swanigan. They’ll still be good and I expect them to push Michigan State.
  • The Spartans, meanwhile, jump 7.2 points but aren’t the most improved team according to KenPom in the Big Ten. Color me shocked because that honor goes to Penn State, who are slated for a top half finish in the conference.
  • For reference, here is Mr. KenPom himself explaining his methodology for preseason rankings.

What thoughts do you have on the upcoming season?

KenPom Ratings 2018 vs 2017

Team 2018 Offense 2018 Defense Net 2017 Offense 2017 Defense Net Continuity* Offense Change Defense Change Net Change
Team 2018 Offense 2018 Defense Net 2017 Offense 2017 Defense Net Continuity* Offense Change Defense Change Net Change
Michigan State 113.7 91.0 22.7 111.4 95.9 15.5 78% 2.3 -4.9 7.2
Purdue 112.5 92.8 19.7 117.0 93.9 23.1 75% -4.5 -1.1 -3.4
Northwestern 111.6 91.9 19.7 111.3 95.5 15.8 80% 0.3 -3.6 3.9
Wisconsin 108.8 91.2 17.6 115.1 92.1 23.0 39% -6.3 -0.9 -5.4
Michigan 112.0 95.1 16.9 122.3 99.2 23.1 44% -10.3 -4.1 -6.2
Minnesota 109.0 92.4 16.6 109.7 93.7 16.0 87% -0.7 -1.3 0.6
Penn State 106.8 91.5 15.3 104.5 97.2 7.3 79% 2.3 -5.7 8.0
Maryland 108.9 93.8 15.1 113.1 98.7 14.4 61% -4.2 -4.9 0.7
Iowa 108.8 95.4 13.4 113.0 102.5 10.5 86% -4.2 -7.1 2.9
Indiana 109.1 97.7 11.4 116.1 101.6 14.5 66% -7.0 -3.9 -3.1
Ohio State 105.1 97.2 7.9 111.2 101.0 10.2 56% -6.1 -3.8 -2.3
Nebraska 101.8 96.2 5.6 105.0 99.8 5.2 55% -3.2 -3.6 0.4
Illinois 102.0 97.2 4.8 107.2 95.8 11.4 34% -5.2 1.4 -6.6
Rutgers 100.3 97.6 2.7 101.5 99.3 2.2 52% -1.2 -1.7 0.5