Franalysis: Shooting Trumps Turnovers, as Iowa Beats Wisconsin in Madison

By Matthew Lundeen on March 3, 2017 at 12:17 pm
Three-pointers -- specifically Jordan Bohannon's game-winning one -- helped Iowa upset the Badgers on the road.
Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports
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Three-pointers -- specifically Jordan Bohannon's game-winning one -- helped Iowa pull off their second-straight road upset of a ranked opponent.

points

Four Factors in Review

  Iowa 1st half UW 1st half iowa 2nd half uW 2nd half Iowa Game UW Game
Points Per Possession 1.00 0.78 0.78 0.93 0.89 0.86
Possessions 31 35 66

Note: Due to rounding, possessions from both halves do not quite equal possessions for the entire game. 

Shooting

shot charts

(Box score courtesy of ESPN. Makes are filled in.)

Iowa 2pt Near Rim 2pt Jumper 3pt FG FT
Attempts 39.6% 24.5% 35.8% N/A
FG% 52.4% 15.4% 47.4% 85.7%
Wisconsin 2pt Near Rim 2pt Jumper 3pt FG FT
Attempts 40.7% 16.7% 42.6% N/A
FG% 54.5% 55.6% 26.1% 35.7%

So Iowa outshot Wisconsin in the Kohl Center... Even with Wisconsin's struggles as of late, that's not exactly something I was expecting to write. Yet, here we are. 

In the first half, the Hawks struggled to score from inside of the arc, missing layup after layup. Fortunately, the three-point shot was falling, and Iowa connected on seven of 11 from deep before halftime, carrying them to a seven-point halftime lead. Nicholas Baer was Iowa's top performer in the first half, shooting 4-4 from downtown.

In the second half, Iowa's focus went to the paint, and thankfully they shot the ball a little better because the three-point well had run dry. Cordell Pemsl and Tyler Cook combined to score 13 of Iowa's meager 27 second half points, including 10 of the Hawkeyes' 16 points in the paint. But even while the three-point line wasn't friendly to Iowa in the second half, it was nice enough to warm up for Jordan Bohannon's final shot.

As for Wisconsin, that three-point line never fully warmed up to them. Bronson Koenig made four of his eight three-point attempts, but the rest of his teammates combined to shoot a whopping 2-15 from long distance. Meanwhile, Iowa's defense in the post should get some credit for the way they limited Ethan Happ's shot attempts. They frequently fought to deny him the ball in the post, and when he did catch it, the double team often came quick enough that he was forced to get rid of it. He still scored in double figures, but he never quite took over the game the way he is capable of doing. He also made just one of seven free throws. (LOL)

Overall, credit goes to Iowa, as this was one of Wisconsin's worst offensive performances in a long time.

Advantage: Iowa

Turnovers

  Turnovers Turnover% Steals %of Turnovers Forced by Steals Points Off Turnovers Pts Off Turnovers Per Turnover Forced
Iowa 19 28.6% 9 69.2% 6 0.46
Wisconsin 13 19.6% 9 47.4% 10 0.53

In addition to still being in shock over outshooting a Wisconsin team in the Kohl Center, I am also trying to wake up from this dream where Iowa turned the ball over on 29% of their possessions and still won in Madison.

The Hawkeyes lost the ball 10 times in the first half, which was why they were only leading by seven points and weren't up by double-digits at the break. They then turned it over an additional nine times in the second half, which almost cost them the game when paired with their cold second half shooting. Wisconsin was kind enough to never fully capitalize on Iowa's empty possessions, though, which really negated a lot of the damage that came from turning the ball over six more times than the Badgers. 

Of course, Wisconsin still had a five-point lead with three minutes left in the game, and it was turnovers on three-straight possessions of their own that let Iowa back into the game. The Badgers would go scoreless over those last three minutes, while Iowa would score on two of those possessions, cutting the lead to one point after Ahmad Wagner stole an inbounds pass and scored at the rim.

So while Wisconsin won the overall turnover battle, their three turnovers at the end of the game proved costly, and helped Iowa end the game on a 7-0 run.

Advantage: Wisconsin

Offensive Rebounding

  Off. Rebounds Available Off. Rebounds Off. Rebound% 2nd Chance Points 2nd Chance pts/Off. Rebound
Iowa 9 29 31.0% 8 0.89
Wisconsin 7 35 20.0% 10 1.43

The Hawkeyes dominated the rebounding battle in this one. Not only were they successful at crashing the offensive glass the way we expected, but they were also very good at limiting Wisconsin's second chance opportunities. And that proved to be a very good thing because Wisconsin certainly took advantage of the few offensive rebounds they did get. In fact, Iowa was so good on the glass, the 58% of all rebounds they grabbed in this one was their second highest total of the season, just behind the 60% they hauled in against UNI. 

Even with the disparity in second chance points per offensive rebound, we also must not forget that Cordell Pemsl had the most important offensive rebound of the game on Iowa's final possession. If he hadn't come down with that rebound -- or Nigel Hayes hadn't mistimed his jump -- the tone of this post would likely sound awfully different.

Advantage: Iowa

Free Throw Rate

  FT Made FT Attempted FT% FT Rate (FTA/FGA)
Iowa 6 7 85.7% 13.2%
Wisconsin 5 14 35.7% 25.9%

Free throws weren't a big part of Iowa's game, but all six of them were certainly important for the simple fact that Iowa won by all of two points. Of course, they also mattered for Wisconsin, who missed nine of the 14 they attempted in this game. Ethan Happ missed two crucial free throws in the final minute, which if they had fallen, could have ultimately sent the game to overtime. But they didn't, and Jordan Bohannon's three proved to be the game-winner. 

So while Wisconsin got to the free throw line more often, it's hard to give them the advantage here when they absolutely failed to make the most of that situation. 

Advantage: Push

Overall: Iowa Won 2 of 4 Factors

Players

 

I know Jordan Bohannon is getting all the publicity in this one (and rightfully so), but I want to start with Nicholas Baer. Iowa's former walk-on was the player of the game, according to adjusted game score per minute and Kenpom's MVP formula. And throughout the game, I found myself clamoring for Fran to put him back in when he was on the bench. Baer was Iowa's highest scorer at 14 points. He did most of his scoring in the first half, dropping four three-point bombs en route to 12 points before the halftime buzzer sounded. He also tallied two steals in the first 20 minutes of game time, to boot. In the second half, he went quiet on the offensive side of the ball, but he still managed four defensive rebounds and one total steal.

Overall, Iowa just looked like a much better team on both ends of the court when he was in the game. He finished with a plus/minus of +9, which was only second to Tyler Cook's +10. And that continues a trend that we've seen over the entire Big Ten schedule. If you go to the "Plus/Minus" tab on the Tableau visual above, you will see that Baer has easily been Iowa's best player in terms of the Hawkeyes outscoring their opponents when he is on the floor. Those numbers don't include the Northwestern game -- because apparently their scorekeepers don't track plus/minus -- but Iowa is outscoring their opponents by an average of +5.1 points per game in the other 16 Big Ten games this season when he is on the floor. In case you were wanting to make comparisons, here is the entire list:

Player Games Minutes Per game Plus/Minus
Nicholas Baer 16 26.2 +5.1
Ryan Kriener 13 9.8 +2.5
Dom Uhl 15 13.8 +1.6
Maishe Daily 4 6.0 +1.5
Christian Williams 16 11.5 +1.1
Brady Ellingson 16 15.2 +0.3
Cordell Pemsl 16 19.4 -0.6
Ahmad Wagner 16 13.9 -0.7
Dale Jones 3 3.0 -1.0
Tyler Cook 16 24.2 -1.9
Jordan Bohannon 16 30.5 -2.1
Peter Jok 14 32.3 -2.6
Isaiah Moss 16 17.1 -3.9

Now, don't take too much away from this table. The guys at the top who don't play much get the benefit of playing fewer minutes in games in which Iowa is trailing and the starters are in the game, trying to fight their way back. Thus, guys who play a ton, like Peter Jok and Jordan Bohannon are punished for being on the court more when Iowa is behind the eight ball. What you should take away from this table is the one outlier in all of this: Nicholas Baer. He basically plays double the minutes of anyone on the roster with an average plus/minus above zero, and he towers above them with an average of +5.1. Essentially, the guy is a game-changer on both ends of the court, and I am overwhelmed with joy at the thought of having him in a Hawkeye uniform for two more years. 

Now, onto Jordan Bohannon. 

Fresh off the best game of his young career, Bohanon put together another solid performance. His shot wasn't falling the same way it did at Maryland (a difficult feat to replicate), but he did still score 11 points on 11 field goal attempts, including making three of his nine three-point attempts. He also hit the biggest three of the game, and he was also the game-leader in assists, dishing out five of them. And this was probably his best dish of the night:

But back to that game-winning three. There are so many things to like about that final shot, and I am having a hard time deciding whether my favorite part is the epic Jordanesque hold of the follow through:

(The Titanic music is pretty awesome, too.)

Or, Eric May celebrating that shot with a couple of black and gold clad Bohannon brothers.

It has to feel bittersweet to come into the school two of your brothers played at, and knock down the game-winning shot against the team that didn't offer you a scholarship.

Cordell Pemsl also gave Iowa some great minutes in the second half of this one. He finished with 10 points total, but scored eight of them in the second half when Iowa was struggling for offense. 

Tyler Cook also had a good game, scoring nine points and wrangling in eight rebounds. He also played some pretty good defense on the night, which he should get credit for because he has looked pretty awful on the defensive end of the court at times this season. 

He also had three dunks, which helped him keep pace with sophomore year Aaron White after going dunkless against Maryland. 

Tyler Cook Dunk-o-meter Games dunks Dunks Per Game made field goals dunk rate projected season total
Tyler Cook 23 40 1.7 104 38.5% 43 (25 Games)
Sophomore Year Aaron White 23 40 1.7 98 40.8% 56 (38 Games)

Sophomore year Aaron White went dunkless in game #23 of the season, which also coincidentally came against Wisconsin at the Kohl Center. Unfortunately Iowa lost that game in overtime 74-70.

Lastly, Peter Jok deserves a mention. He didn't have the best game of his career, but he now officially has a win in every Big Ten arena over his four-year career at Iowa. And it's really a testament to this team that they have been able to pull off back-to-back road wins against ranked opponents with Peter Jok still not quite back to normal. 

With this win, Iowa has secured their fifth-straight season of playing at least .500 basketball in the Big Ten conference. If they take care of business at home on Sunday against Penn State, it will be their third-straight Big Ten season above .500. And this one seems pretty damn remarkable given how young this team is and the fact that Peter Jok has been broken for such a long stretch of this season.

Moreover, Iowa is trying to sneak their way into the NCAA Tournament with their most-recent three-game winning streak. It still seems like a bit of a long shot, but they could really do it if they can continue this win streak a couple games into the Big Ten Tournament next week. Either way, Iowa has likely done enough to make the NIT, barring they don't lose their next two games in epic meltdown fashion. And considering how most of us had already come to terms with no postseason non-conference tournament, this recent stretch of basketball has been quite the turnaround. Now, let's keep the momentum going.

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