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H.A.W.K.E.Y.E.S. Predicts: Illinois (The Sequel)

Another game, another shot at the Illini

Hawk for Nerds
New chemistry, a healthy Jok, and a new model. The computer tells all in this latest statistical exposé.


It felt good to get a week off. The MSU game was an exercise in both frustration and hope. The Hawks kept up with the Spartans for a good part of the game, but were unable to close out in the end. There were a lot of things to like and about as many things to slap your forehead over. If you haven’t done so yet, take a look at BoilerHawk’s excellent breakdown of recent Iowa lineups and Ben’s review of the MSU game. Either way, H.A.W.K.E.Y.E.S. apologizes for getting our hopes up and suggesting Iowa might be able to pick off this conference win.

Technical Talk

Again, the computer, under the new model, is doing a much better job across the board at predicting scores, particularly with the opponent score and the over/under.

Diagnostics Table
Games Iowa Difference Opponent Difference Absolute Score Difference Over/Under Difference
Old Model 14 10.3 17.4 27.7 -15.6
New Model 3 10.3 7.0 17.3 4.7

While little has changed in predicting Iowa’s score, we’ve seen opponent score predictions get 10 points better, and a much closer approximation of the actual over/under of the games (11 points better). This is good to see holding up, but with n=3 under the new scheme, I’ll need to see a few more games follow this pattern before I get too excited. As always, this is a learning experience for both myself and the computer, but a 10 point improvement is still a big jump.

Illinois (again)

This time around, the Illini come to Carver to try to repeat their success against the Hawkeyes from earlier in the season. Just like the last meeting, a big chunk of Illinois’ offense comes from the combination of Malcolm Hill and Maverick Morgan. However, adding in Michael Finke, and the Illini present a very strong group inside. They are ranked second in the conference when it comes to keeping other teams from collecting offensive rebounds and have been incredibly effective at limiting teams in the paint (first in the conference in number of 2-point attempts allowed). Iowa is going to need to find their shot outside to pull off an upset here. This means both Peter Jok and Jordan Bohannon are going to need hit their stride early to open up the paint for Tyler Cook and Cordell Pemsl.

Unlike the last time these two teams met, Iowa is going to need to keep the Illini from getting their points in transition, as they have not had great success during longer possessions. Expect to see a lot of three-quarter court pressure from the Hawks to counter, especially after a week’s worth of rest. All in all, H.A.W.K.E.Y.E.S. isn’t too optimistic, but sees a narrow path to victory in this game, predicting an Illinois win, 85-82.


Iowa’s Current Record: 14-12 (6-7)

Game Prediction: 82-85 (L)