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FRANALYSIS: IOWA DEVOURS YET ANOTHER CUPCAKE

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Iowa beat Alcorn State 67-44 on Tuesday night. Yeah, yeah, yeah, bring on the good teams.

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa played another bad team, and beat them handily. That's the gist of this game.

Let's jump right into the numbers.

Here is the scoring broken down into ten minute quarters:

quarters

Four Factors in Review

1st half

Points Per Possession: Iowa 1.18, Alcorn State 0.68

Possessions: 30

2nd half

Points Per Possession: Iowa 0.95, Alcorn State 0.71

Possessions: 34

4 factors

Points Per Possession: Iowa 1.06, Alcorn State 0.70

Possessions: 63

Shooting

I don't want to sound negative, but I'm not exactly sure what Iowa was trying to do on offense for parts of this game. The Hawkeyes came into Wednesday night with a huge height advantage and with most of their strength lying in the post. It would only make sense that Iowa would get the ball down low and attack the rim, right? Wrong. At least for long stretches of time, anyway.

For whatever reason, Iowa had stretch runs in this game where they were just shooting nothing but long twos or threes, and guess what? They weren't making them. (They haven't really made them all year.) And even though threes are supposed to be more efficient shots because they are worth an extra point, that's currently not true with the way this team is shooting them. The strength of this squad comes down low and when they started getting the ball in the paint, good things unsurprisingly happened. Look at their shot chart (courtesy of Shot Analytics):

iowa

That's a lot of green around the basket and a lot of red further out.

As for Alcorn State, they became the latest in a long line of teams to struggle to shoot the ball well against Iowa this season.

alcorn

The Braves also couldn't shoot from distance in this one, as they actually went 0-8 from deep. What little success they did have came near the basket, but, according to Shot Analytics, they still only made 48% of those shot attempts that are clustered at the rim. Iowa only had 3 blocks in this game, which is kind of surprising for the height advantage they had. But despite not blocking many shots, Iowa's bigs still altered quite a few and continued to protect the rim with aplomb.

Advantage: Iowa

Turnovers

Neither team really turned the ball over much in this one. Iowa's starters did a nice job of causing turnovers on Alcorn State in the first half, but the second and third unit weren't able to keep that going in the second half. The Braves did seem to struggle with Iowa's 1-2-2 three quarter court press at times, but it didn't always lead to turnovers or steals. Iowa only had 3 steals, which is low for the aggressive defense they like to play. It's only one game, though.

Meanwhile, on offense, Iowa was a little sloppy with the ball to start the second half, but outside of that, they took care of the ball all night long.

Advantage: Iowa

Offensive Rebounding

The Hawkeyes won the offensive rebounding battle in both halves. It was a team effort in the first half, but Gabe Olaseni did his thing in the second half and grabbed 4 in the final 20 minutes of game time.

Meanwhile, defensive rebounding thankfully wasn't an issue against Alcorn State. The second unit wasn't out-rebounded by the Braves, the way they were against UMBC. Hooray!

Advantage: Iowa

Free Throw Rate

Iowa won the free throw battle thanks to Aaron White's continued freakish ability to draw contact down low. White was responsible for 10 of Iowa's 22 free throw attempts, and all 10 of those came in the first half. He only played 6 minutes after halftime, hence why Alcorn State tied Iowa in free throw rate in the second half.

Advantage: Iowa

Overall: Iowa Won All 4 Factors

Players

players

The usual stars of the show apply, as Aaron White and Jarrod Uthoff were Iowa's main form of offense for the first 25 minutes of this game. I don't remember when exactly, but at one point in the second half I tweeted out that Iowa's studly duo were shooting 9-13 from the floor, while the rest of the team was 4-17.

White finished the game with 15 points on 3-5 shooting from the field and 9-10 shooting from the line.

white

He also added 5 rebounds (1 offensive) in his 23 minutes on the court.

Uthoff, on the other hand, continued to make a point to shoot the ball early and often, as he was responsible for about 16% of Iowa's scoring attempts. He was very efficient with the high volume of shots taken, as he finished with a 59% TS% and put up 13 points on 6-11 shooting, including making 1 of this 3 attempts from long range.

uthoff

Uthoff also pulled down 4 rebounds (2 offensive), dished 1 assist, and came away with 1 steal during his 20 minutes of play.

Once White and Uthoff left the game in the second half, Iowa's offense became the Gabe Olaseni and Dominique Uhl show. Gabe went to work after halftime, throwing down 3 dunks on the way to a 10 point, 6 rebound, 1 block second half. He did just about everything you could ask him to do from an offensive standpoint. Post up and dominate an undersized defender? Check. Run the court and finish in transition? Check. Clean up on the offensive glass and get second chance points? Check. His final stat line included a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds (6 offensive). He shot 5-7 from the floor and 2-2 from the charity stripe.

olaseni

And, yes, that's the type of shot chart we want to see from the big Brit.

Our final star of the night was a pleasant surprise. Dom Uhl has shown flashes of brilliance in small spurts this year, but this was the best we've seen him look for a long stretch of play. He didn't play much in the first half, but he made the best of his 14 second half minutes. Overall, he put up 11 points on a very efficient 5-6 shooting from the floor.

uhl

He wasn't so efficient from the free throw line, shooting 1-3 (clearly still a work in progress there), but Alcorn State had a tough time keeping him off the boards (he had 6 rebounds), which led to buckets at the rim and free throw attempts. He even showed the ability to handle the ball in transition, as he went coast-to-coast for an unassisted layup after grabbing the defensive rebound. It was good to see Uhl go to town against a lesser opponent. I can't wait to see him do it against better competition in the coming years.

Per usual, let's finish with some bullet points.

  • Mike Gesell and Anthony Clemmons also had pretty good games. Gesell shot the ball well in limited attempts and had 3 assists and a steal. Clemmons also did a good job of driving to the basket and drawing fouls and also handed out 4 assists.
  • Josh Oglesby and Peter Jok went 1-10 from beyond the arc. Woof.
  • Going back to Iowa's shot selection for a moment, I said after the Hampton game in this same section that I wondered if Iowa would be a more perimeter-oriented team than in years past. After that first game, I was open to the idea of them shooting more threes because theoretically (extra emphasis on that word) this team should be pretty good at them. Uthoff is a legit shooter from distance; Oglesby has a track record of shooting well; Peter Jok has shown the ability to be pretty good from distance; Mike Gesell is a remarkably consistent 31% shooter from long range (not great, but not back-breakingly terrible); and Anthony Clemmons shoots very well in limited attempts. So far, the Hawkeyes are taking the most attempts from three point range of Fran McCaffery's Iowa career, but shooting them worse than ever. (Kenpom has Iowa at 270th in the nation in knocking down their threes so far this year.) Now, three point shooting is a lot of luck, and Josh Oglesby's incredibly unlucky 22.2% shooting from downtown is the main culprit for this three point funk Iowa is in, but at some point, this team is going to have to make an effort to work more to their strength down low with White, Woodbury, and Olaseni. Hopefully, Iowa will be more lucky from distance as the season goes on, but for now, they are settling for too many jumpers and shooting the fewest percentage of shots near the rim since McCaffery took over as coach:

shots

  • Luckily for Iowa, their shooting hasn't killed them too badly this year because they are playing excellent defense. Kenpom currently has them as the 15th best defense in the nation, with an adjusted defensive efficiency of 89.8. Texas is the only team to average more than 1 point per possession (PPP) against Iowa this season, and that was thanks to the only half of basketball that has seen a team average more than 1 PPP against this Hawkeye defense in 10 games. Additionally, Kenpom has Iowa's defense logging the 5th best defensive eFG% in the nation, allowing opponents to shoot only 37.8% from the field this year. In case you were wondering, this is what the 5th best defensive eFG% in the nation looks like:

defense

That's enough for this game. With the last cupcake out of the way, it's time to prepare for Iowa State. Get excited, you guys, we should be in for a fun game on Friday.

Update: I forgot to include Aaron White's dunks and Gabe Olaseni's blocked shot.

  • Iowa's lovable ginger had 2 dunks against Alcorn State, bringing his total this year to 17.

Aaron White Dunk-O-Meter Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior Career
Dunks 32 56 51 17 156
Field Goals Made 136 140 143 45 464
Dunk Rate 23.5% 40.0% 35.7% 37.8% 33.6%
  • And Olaseni had 1 block against the Braves, bringing him up to 25 opponent shot attempts swatted this season. Out of qualifying players, Gabe is the 10th best shot-blocker in the country, according to Kenpom.