That sucked. That sucked so bad that this won't be my usual long, rambling article. First of all, I'm tired and bed sounds good. Second of all, I just can't allow myself to put that much effort into dissecting that second half. Maybe I can find the strength this weekend, but tonight is too soon. The wound needs to heal.
Instead, I'm just going to go ahead and give you the numbers, and allow you to discuss just what in the hell happened in Carver-Hawkeye arena last night.
Here's the point breakdown by ten minute quarters:
The Hawkeyes only outscored Michigan State in the 10 minutes before halftime. Otherwise, they were outscored 36-65 in the other 30 minutes of game time. Most importantly, of course, Iowa was outscored 22-47 in the second half, which wasted a perfectly awesome 11-point halftime lead. I don't know what it is about this team, but when things go bad, they REALLY go bad. It's an incredible talent that I think we all wish this team didn't possess.
Four Factors in Review
First Half Points Per Possession: Iowa 1.23, Michigan State 0.88
Second Half Points Per Possession: Iowa 0.72, Michigan State 1.53
Second Half Possessions: 31
Points Per Possession: Iowa 0.97, Michigan State 1.19
Feeding the ball in the post to Gabe Olaseni worked wonders in the first half, so much so that Iowa averaged 1.23 PPP and the great shot selection led to a 51.9% eFG% at halftime. The second half didn't go so well, and Olaseni only saw 2 field goal attempts and 2 free throw attempts after the break. Iowa's offense was out of sorts in the second half, and, as a result, it was more jumper heavy. That meant 0.72 PPP, a 38% eFG% and fewer trips to the free throw line.
Michigan State, meanwhile... well, an 83.3% eFG% 1.53 PPP after halftime pretty much says it all. Three pointers are stupid, you guys.
Advantage: Michigan State
Iowa outscored Michigan State 7-2 on points off of turnovers in the first half. That totaled out to 1.2 PPP on turnovers forced for Iowa in the first half and just 0.67 for Michigan State. Just like in basically every other statistical category, though, the second half was completely different, as Iowa was outscored 3-10. That would be 1.7 PPP on turnovers forced for the Spartans in the second half, compared to just 0.6 for the Hawkeyes. Iowa technically won this category by forcing more turnovers than the Spartans, but Michigan State capitalized on them more.
Iowa couldn't reach their season average offensive rebounding rate in either half against Michigan State and that was mostly thanks to Branden Dawson (13 defensive rebounds) and Denzel Valentine (6 defensive rebounds). The Hawkeyes are a team that needs free throws and offensive rebounds to offset bad shooting, and they sure as hell didn't get offensive rebounds in this one; especially, in the second half.
Advantage: Michigan State
Free Throw Rate
Getting to the free throw line was a big reason why the Hawkeyes were up by 11 at the break. But, like everything else in the second half of Thursday night's game, Iowa looked to be cursed when they got to the free throw line after the half. We all know Iowa is a great free throw shooting team, and they looked like it in the first half, as they went 12-14 (86%) from the line. In the second half, though, the Hawks finished a meager 3-10 (30%) from the charity stripe. Like I said earlier, when things go bad for Iowa, they really go bad; even in the areas they usually have no issues with.
Overall: Iowa Won 2 Out of the 4 Factors
Gabe Olaseni had an amazing first half, in which he was easily the best player on the floor. When he was in the game in the first half, he touched the ball on almost every possession. So, again, it only makes sense that he had 2 field goal attempts and 2 free throw attempts after halftime.
Aaron White was invisible for most of the game. Amazing play from Gabe helped offset the fact that White only had 2 points in the first half, but when things went quiet in the second half, White couldn't get going on offense. He had a nice dunk off the baseline and a hit a three pointer early on after halftime, but he couldn't provide much more offense than that in the second half.
Jarrod Uthoff struggled to shoot the ball against Michigan State. He finished with 12 points, but it took him 17 scoring attempts to do so. That's 0.71 points per scoring attempt, and that hurts. For a reference point, you want a player to average at least 1 point per scoring attempt, and that is actually Uthoff's season average. The main culprit for Uthoff averaging 0.29 points per scoring attempt less against Michigan State's defense was his shooting from distance. Out of his 16 field goals attempted, 4 were from downtown, 6 I had classified as "two point jump shots", and the final 6 I had classified as "near the rim." Uthoff was 0-4 from long range, 1-6 on two point jumpers, and 5-6 from near the rim (he also went 0-1 from the free throw line). I have no problem with Uthoff shooting threes because they usually go in at a high clip. But let me just go on the record as saying that I like post up/drive to the basket Jarrod Uthoff more than I like wide open fadeaway jumper Jarrod Uthoff. He did some other nice things outside of scoring (10 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks and 1 steal), but this Iowa team needs him to knock down shots on a nightly basis. It's probably not fair to put all that pressure on one guy, but that's the cruel reality for an Iowa team that struggles to put the ball in the net from any sort of distance. Iowa needs his perimeter shooting to keep the defense from clogging the middle for the Hawkeyes' big guys.
Travis Trice and Denzel Valentine scored 43 of Michigan State's 75 points, including scoring 33 of those points on 11-15 shooting from long range. That reminds me of yesterday's preview:
I think Iowa's defense can hang with Michigan State's offense, especially in the lane. My only concern is Michigan State's ability to hit threes. They don't bombard their opponent with them, but against a team like Iowa, who can't shoot to save their lives, that outside shot could allow Michigan State to hang around a lot longer than we would all like.
Up next, Iowa travels to Minnesota on Tuesday. I really have no idea what to expect from that game.