So that's what it feels like, huh?
This game had the opportunity to be like every other Big Ten game before. Iowa had a chance to blow a big lead in the second half of a basketball game, but somehow, they didn't. I mean, this game started the same way that basically every other Big Ten game had started, as Iowa started fast and took a double-digit lead into the locker room.
Iowa's first halves in B1G games: Led by 12, 7, 11, 11 and 11 points.— Chad Leistikow (@ChadLeistikow) January 17, 2015
We were undoubtedly thrilled that Iowa was leading by 11 at the break, but we were also dreadfully awaiting our second half fate.
But, then, something new happened. Or, rather, something didn't happen, as Iowa never let Ohio State make much of a threatening run. Sure, the Buckeyes got within 6 points with just under 5 minutes left in the game, but Iowa responded on the offensive end every single time it looked like Ohio State was about to make their dreaded comeback. The second half defense did it's usual thing of giving up way more points than they did in the first half, but the offense didn't hit their usual scoring lull in this one.
When Iowa seemed as if they were going to slip into sweet unconsciousness on offense,
Andrew Aaron White or Adam Woodbury usually shook them awake again. This was a pleasant development. One that I hope we will see more of going forward.
Four Factors in Review
First Half Points Per Possession: Iowa 1.15, Ohio State 0.81
First Half Possessions: 32
Second Half Points Per Possession: Iowa 1.24, Ohio State 1.30
Second Half Possessions: 32
Points Per Possession: Iowa 1.18, Ohio State 1.04
Iowa had a good shooting day against Ohio State on Saturday. It was the second straight game in which the Hawkeyes put up an eFG% above 50%, and the second time they finished with an eFG% of 54% against Ohio State this season. So how did this team come away with another great shooting performance? Well, they had great shot selection, for the most part, against Ohio State. There were a few points in the game where they became a bit jump shot-happy, but when you add in all the shots that drew fouls, I thought the selection was good, overall.
(Shot charts courtesy of Shot Analytics.)
By my count, 20 of Iowa's 47 field goal attempts came "near the rim", where they converted on 15 of those. Aaron White and Adam Woodbury both had 12 points a piece down low, and White had 10 points from free throws because he kept driving to the rim. In fact, I know we aren't in the "free throw rate" section yet, but Iowa had 35 free throw attempts on the day thanks to getting the ball down low to the big guys or driving the ball into the paint with the perimeter players. Those shot attempts that draw the fouls don't show up in the box score or on the shot chart, but if they did, Iowa's attempts near the rim would have been over 50% pretty easily.
As for Ohio State, it was a tale of two halves.
The Buckeyes found their stroke from long range after halftime, which helped them cut the Iowa lead to 6 with a little less than 5 minutes left to play. However, they never really developed their touch from inside the arc. For the game, Ohio State made 38.9% of their three point attempts (54.5% in the second half), but only 38.1% of their two point attempts. Unless you are winning the other three factors, that type of shooting probably isn't going to cut it in the Big Ten, and it didn't against Iowa.
If shooting was a tale of two halves for Ohio State, turnovers would be the same story for the Hawkeyes. Iowa started the game by forcing turnovers on Ohio State's first three possessions, allowing them to jump out to a 9-0 lead (the same margin they would later win by). The Hawks ended the first half forcing Ohio State to cough the ball up 7 times compared to their 3 turnovers, and outscored them on points off turnovers 12-2.
In the second half, Iowa looked determined to let Ohio State back in the game by way of handing them the ball. 5 of Iowa's 10 total turnovers for the game came in the first 4 minutes of the second half. Ohio State forced 7 turnovers after halftime, while Iowa only managed to cause 2 on the defensive side of the ball. Additionally, Iowa was outscored 9-3 off turnovers in the second half.
Really, turnovers were why Iowa was able to get off to such a fast start against the Buckeyes. However, thanks to forcing 7 turnovers in the second half, this category belongs to Ohio State.
Advantage: Ohio State
It was a weird rebounding day for both teams. Iowa was Dr. Jekyll in the first half, hauling in only 5 of their 17 offensive rebounding opportunities. Their season average is about 36%, so their first half performance of 29% was a little meh. But they more than made up for that in the second half, coming away with 6 of the 11 available offensive rebounds. It's always great when you can shoot 10-18 from the field and 18-24 from the line in a half, but it's even better when you can toss in coming away with over 50% of your misses, and that's what Iowa did in the following intermission.
But, while Iowa won the offensive rebounding battle thanks to their big second half, Ohio State seemed to capitalize on their second chance opportunities a little more often than Iowa did on the day. The Buckeyes outscored Iowa 15-11 on second chance points. For whatever reason, Ohio State's guards had unusually good offensive rebounding days. D'Angelo Russell had 6 offensive boards (3 in each half), and Shannon Scott had 2. Moreover, Iowa also allowed Jae'Sean Tate, the freshman power forward with the body of a shooting guard, to grab 5 offensive rebounds in his 22 minutes of play. To be fair, though, Tate has proven this year to be a ridiculous rebounder for his size, so allowing Russell to collect 6 offensive boards is probably the more heinous crime out of the two.
Overall, though, Iowa's second half allowed them to edge out Ohio State in this category. And even though Ohio State outscored Iowa in points per possession (PPP) 1.07 to 1 on second chance opportunities, you could argue that key offensive rebounds like this one from Adam Woodbury, and the final one by Jarrod Uthoff that brought the game clock down to 1:14 from 1:48, were more important for Iowa than any of the ones that Ohio State secured.
Free Throw Rate
I said after the Minnesota game that I think free throw rate is the most important stat for this offense, and it was extremely important again against Ohio State. Aaron White did most of the work in this category, as he was responsible for 12 of Iowa's 35 attempts from the charity stripe. All of his trips to the line came after halftime, in which he finally went to work on his undersized defenders in Jae'Sean Tate and Marc Loving. Iowa visited the foul line so often in the second half that they ended up with 6 more free throw attempts than field goal attempts in the final 20 minutes of play.
Of course, getting to the free throw line is only half the battle. Once there, Iowa shot 71% from the line compared to only 66% for Ohio State, who had 14 fewer attempts.
Essentially, Iowa did what they needed to do in this category, and they are now 8-2 on the year when putting up a free throw rate over 40%, and 4-1 on the year when going over 50%. Their only two losses came on ridiculous second half shooting outbursts from Texas and Michigan State.
D'Angelo Russell played his heart out for Ohio State, but didn't get much help outside of Jae'Sean Tate's 22 minutes off the bench. Russell finished the game with 27 points, shooting a very efficient 56% TS% (includes free throws) while being responsible for 34% of Ohio State's scoring opportunities. His adjusted game score attributed about 35 of Ohio State's 67 points to him, while his adjusted game score per minute was also the best out of anyone on the court, just beating out Aaron White.
And, speaking of Aaron White, it was a delight to watch him use his skill set to perfection against Ohio State on Saturday. He only had 4 points in the first half, but he took the game over in the second half and helped Iowa avoid that dreaded scoring draught that usually allows the other team to take every ounce of the momentum away. He finished the day with 22 points on 6-8 shooting from the floor and 10-12 shooting from the line.
But White's second half takeover was a thing of beauty. In about the span of 4 minutes, Aaron White scored 12 straight points on 6 straight possessions for the Hawkeyes.
The screen shot above is what the box score shows during that time. That is offensive domination by the veteran redhead. During this time, White was driving to the basket on possession after possession, and if he wasn't finishing at the rim, he was drawing fouls and getting to the free throw line. Hell, during this time, he had two plays where he grabbed the defensive rebound and went coast-to-coast to the other rim. The first time ended in a layup. The second time ended in a trip to the foul line. Overall, the second half performance from White helped him to a monster performance against his home state team. I'm sure this one was extra special for him.
Adam Woodbury was the other star player on the court for Iowa against Ohio State. Woody actually messed around and got a double-double against the Buckeyes; the first in his career against a non-terrible team (sorry, North Dakota State). For the game, the Iowa big man scored 13 points on 6-10 shooting.
He also had 10 rebounds (3 offensive), 1 block, and 1 assist in 28 minutes of play. This was his second nice game in a row, and it was good to see him add some offense to a very good defensive effort this time around.
Now, time for some bullet points.
- Jarrod Uthoff had a bit of an off game in this one. He didn't shoot the ball as much as we are accustomed to this year, nor did he shoot it particularly well. He didn't have a terrible game, but this performance just continues his weird home/road splits on the year. He's now averaging about 11 points per game at home and 16 on the road. If you adjust that for Big Ten games only, it goes from 11 at home to 20 on the road. And if you look at his three point shooting in Big Ten home games vs. Big Ten road games, he is shooting 29% from downtown in Carver, while shooting 60% away from Carver. We are talking a small sample here, but it's still different.
- Peter Jok is also showing a weird Big Ten home/road split early on as well. On the road, Jok is scoring 10 points per game, but when he comes home, he is only scoring 5. And when you look at his three point shooting, it also gets a bit sketchy in Carver, as he is knocking down only 14% from long range at home, but is making 44% on the road. Again, small sample.
- And if you are wondering whether or not the whole team shows similar home/road splits, the answer is "yes..." on some things. The Hawkeyes are averaging 1.21 PPP on the road compared to 1.10 at home in Big Ten play. Their eFG% is also 57% on the road and only 48% at home. That has everything to do with three pointers, by the way, as Iowa is shooting 10% more of their field goal attempts from deep on the road and making 42% of them in comparison to just 24% at home.
- However, not everything is better away from home for Iowa. The defense is only giving up 1.07 PPP in Carver compared to 1.15 away from Carver. Iowa has turned the the ball over on only 15% of their possessions at home in Big Ten play, while giving it away on 23% of possessions away from home. And, finally, free throw rate -- Iowa's key stat, in my opinion -- is currently 68% at home and 51% on the road. Small sample size stuff, but still interesting.
- Aaron White had 2 dunks against Ohio State, pushing his season total to 30. Here is the updated table:
|Aaron White Dunk-O-Meter||Freshman||Sophomore||Junior||Senior||Career|
|Field Goals Made||136||140||143||82||501|
- Finally, Iowa basketball dropped this fun tweet after the game:
In the 80 minutes played against Ohio State this season, the Buckeyes led Iowa for a combined 7 seconds. #Hawkeyes— Iowa Basketball (@IowaHoops) January 17, 2015
With a sweep of the Buckeyes now under their collective belt, Iowa moves to 4-1 in the Big Ten (hooray!). The next three match ups are going to be tough, though. Two games against the best team in the conference in Wisconsin and then a road game against a Purdue team that should not be taken lightly. Both of these teams have legitimate height and length on them (Purdue has two 7-footers, for crying out loud), so Iowa won't be able to just pound it down low with ease.
Wisconsin may be a little more beatable without Traevon Jackson, but using Kenpom's projected winning percentages, Iowa has something like 6% odds of winning both games. If they can find a way to win two of the next three, I would be absolutely elated. But, in reality, if they can at least play Wisconsin tough (no more blowout losses, I beg of you, basketball gods) and come away with a road win against Purdue, they would set up nicely for a back end of the schedule that is very favorable.