The Iowa Hawkeyes (6-1) return after a week off to face the #15 Duke Blue Devils (8-2, 1-0). In the Hawks’ most recent game, Kris Murray went off for 31 points & 20 rebounds, was named conference player of the week and national player of the week by ESPN. Add in four three-pointers and the power conference player who last posted that stat-line was: Kevin Durant. Good stuff. Iowa’s taking on a Duke squad who has already played three teams rated more highly than the Hawks, per KenPom. They’re 1-2 with losses to Kansas & Purdue but beat Ohio State in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
Duke has hovered around 15-20 all season in KenPom with expected results as the name of the game. Their two biggest drops occurred after a tight “semi-away” win against Oregon State, 54-51, and a blowout loss to the Purdue Boilersevenfooters. In those two games, they shot a combined 7/48 from deep. Their loss to Kansas featured 3/21 shooting.
They’ll counter that much like TCU did, with a dedication to offensive rebounding. Duke is second in the nation in offensive rebounding rate, gathering 40.1% of their misses and putting them back at a high clip. Grad transfer Ryan Young of Northwestern fame is third in the nation with a 20.5% OR rate and is using them to buoy his insane 71.4% of his shots. After starting the first three games, he’s been relegated to a bench role but plays about 20 MPG.
Below are a couple other thoughts and how to watch.
Can the Hawkeyes counter Duke’s size down low? Flat out: Duke is huge. They’re the 6th tallest team according to KenPom with starters Kyle Filipowski & Dereck Lively measuring over seven feet and Young at a sturdy 6-foot-10. Both Young and Lively hit over 70% of their shots from two, though Filipowski enters the game shooting around 47%. Part of it is when he’ll settle for midrange jumpers but he’s also shooting just 52% around the rim according to Synergy. Can Iowa contest enough of those shots without fouling? Both Filipowski & Young are shooting over 80% from the line.
The flipside is Iowa can go five out and force Duke’s bigs in space but will, of course, have to maintain a presence rebounding with guards Tony Perkins, Ahron Ulis, & Payton Sandfort snagging rebounds while Murray & a McCaffery keep their Blue Devils off the glass. If they’re able to zag by making Duke play in space, hitting some shots (34.4% from three on the season is a slight disappointment), and getting to the line on dribble drives they’ll have a chance.
Otherwise, it’s probably a Josh Ogundele game. Will he be able to be a presence on the boards without being a negative defending in space or on offense?
Who shoots better? As alluded above, I’ve been a little disappointed with Iowa’s shooting so far this season. Payton Sandfort is, of course, headliner as underperforming shooters (8/32 from deep) but Perkins has not yet found his shooting stroke going 2/11 from 3 as well. With Filip Rebrača a non-threat from deep, a lot of pressure finds itself on Murray and Patrick McCaffery.
Does Connor recognize the need to generate points from deep and crank up his scorer’s mentality? He’s 9/15 so far this season but has been hyper-selective in the shots he’s taken.
Duke, on the other hand, is even worse than Iowa from deep absent Mark Mitchell (45%), Filipowski (36%), and old friend Jacob Grandison (37%). If anyone else finds their stroke unexpectedly, it could be a long night for Iowa.
How does Fran McCaffery play this one? Iowa’s rotation, so far this season, has been basically 6.5 players. They’re rested after the week since the win over Georgia Tech but face Iowa State & Wisconsin on Thursday and Sunday. Can Fran stomach a tight rotation with two more tough ones to come?
With the emotion of the Jimmy V Classic swirling this game, I actually expect a really good Patrick McCaffery game. Just a total gut feeling. It’s his fourth year in the program, highlighting Iowa’s veteran presence and ability to maintain continuity across years while guys grow into roles. Duke’s one of the youngest teams in the country and has just 15% continuity over last year (333rd in the country).
But with a game less than 48 hours and travel involved, maybe we see a deeper bench to counter the Blue Devils’ use of theirs.
How to Watch
Date: Tuesday, December 6th
Time: 8:30-ish pm CT
Opponent: Duke Blue Devils (8-2, 1-0); Atlantic Coast Conerence; Durham, NC
Location: Madison Square Garden; New York City, NY
Betting line by DraftKings: Duke -2.5 | -140 vs. Iowa +120 | O/U 147
Radio: Hawkeye Sports Network (Gary Dolphin & Bob Hansen)
TV: ESPN (Dan Shulman, Dick Vitale, and Holly Rowe)
Streaming: Sling TV , Watch ESPN
Visit Sling TV for prices, streaming options and available channels to make sure you don’t miss a minute of Iowa basketball this season.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.