Franalysis: Iowa Bounced From the Big Ten Tournament Thanks to Ugly Second Half

By Matthew Lundeen on March 10, 2017 at 10:44 am
Iowa witnessed firsthand just how good Indiana is when they aren't making boneheaded mistakes.
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

For one half, Iowa witnessed firsthand just how good Indiana is when they aren't making boneheaded mistakes. And that 20 minutes was enough to send them home from D.C. early.


Four Factors in Review

  Iowa 1st half IU 1st half iowa 2nd half IU 2nd half Iowa Game IU Game
Points Per Possession 1.07 1.15 0.86 1.35 0.96 1.25
Possessions 37 39 76



(Shot chart courtesy of ESPN. Makes are filled in.)

Iowa 2pt Near Rim 2pt Jumper 3pt FG FT
Attempts 44.6% 15.4% 40.0% N/A
FG% 55.2% 40.0% 34.6% 60.0%
Indiana 2pt Near Rim 2pt Jumper 3pt FG FT
Attempts 53.4% 12.1% 34.5% N/A
FG% 67.7% 28.6% 60.0% 68.4%

Iowa really didn't shoot the ball all that badly, seeing how they shot 50% or better in both halves of this one. That said, Iowa really struggled to finish around the rim. Juwan Morgan and Thomas Bryant blocked eight of Iowa's shots down low, and Tyler Cook and Cordell Pemsl were the main victims.

As a team, Iowa took almost half of their field goal attempts from up close, but made just 55% of them. And while 35% shooting from downtown isn't bad, it wasn't anywhere near good enough to keep up with Indiana's ridiculous rate.

Speaking of Indiana, they were super efficient with their shot selection, which isn't really anything new. They are very good at either pounding the ball inside or shooting the three-point shot. And that's what they did against Iowa. Thomas Bryant, De'Ron Davis, and Juwan Morgan killed the Hawks in the paint, while James Blackmon Jr. and others killed Iowa from three-point range. 

Moreover, Indiana used transition to get themselves easy baskets. I didn't have the stomach to go back and watch this game and count transition points and possessions, but needless to say, Iowa's transition defense was quite pathetic throughout the entire game. 

Indiana finished the game shooting an absolutely en fuego 71% (eFG%) from the field, including 79% in the second half. And, essentially, when you make only 11 of your 20 layups, and your opponent shoots 12-20 from deep, the odds are pretty good that you aren't winning the game. 

Advantage: Indiana


  Turnovers Turnover% Steals %of Turnovers Forced by Steals Points Off Turnovers Pts Off Turnovers Per Turnover Forced
Iowa 12 15.8% 10 58.8% 18 1.06
Indiana 17 22.4% 6 50.0% 22 1.83

I was surprised to see that Indiana turned it over on 22% of their possessions because it felt like they went long stretches without inexplicably giving the ball away like they normally do. Well, as it turns out, it felt like that because five of their turnovers came in the final five minutes of play, when the game was effectively a scrimmage and I was barely paying attention to the carnage on my television screen. That means that during the other 15 minutes of the second half the Hoosiers lost the ball just three times, which played a key role in helping them run away with the game. 

Some of that is on Iowa, who also has to play an active role in forcing said turnovers. But even when they tried going to their 1-2-2 press, it didn't have nearly the same effect that it did back when these two teams played in February.

Overall, Iowa still won the quantity portion of this category, but again that's because Indiana got careless with the ball at the end when they were up by about 30 points. Also, Iowa failed to really capitalize on Indiana's turnovers, scoring just 18 points off 17 of them. Meanwhile, Indiana scored 22 off of 12 Iowa turnovers. With such a hollow victory in quantity for Iowa and the Hoosiers winning the quality aspect, I'm calling this factor a draw.

Advantage: Push

Offensive Rebounding

  Off. Rebounds Available Off. Rebounds Off. Rebound% 2nd Chance Points 2nd Chance pts/Off. Rebound
Iowa 8 40 20.0% 4 0.50
Indiana 6 27 22.2% 5 0.83

Part of why Iowa's offense had been so good to end the season was because they were crashing the glass and converting on second chance opportunities. They did neither of those things against Indiana on Thursday night.

Well, technically, Iowa did grab seven of the 22 available offensive rebounds in the first half, which was right around their season average 31.5% offensive rebounding rate. That said, they managed just four second chance points off of those seven first half rebounds.

The second half was worse, though. Iowa grabbed one lone offensive rebound out of the 18 possible. That comes out to a 5.6% offensive rebounding rate, which I thought was for sure Iowa's worst percentage in a half this year, but somehow it wasn't. Apparently, Iowa didn't grab even one in the second half of the Delaware State game. 

Anyway, if you combine Indiana's torrid shooting pace, their lack of second half non-garbage time turnovers, and Iowa's inability to secure offensive rebounds, it's pretty easy to explain how the second half got out of hand. The shooting was bad enough, the rest was just demoralizing. 

Advantage: Indiana

Free Throw Rate

  FT Made FT Attempted FT% FT Rate (FTA/FGA)
Iowa 6 10 60.0% 15.4%
Indiana 13 19 68.4% 32.8%

And, finally, if the rest weren't enough, we get to free throws. I'll start off by saying that I didn't think the whistles were being called evenly when both teams got the ball in the post -- at least in the first half. I thought Indiana's bigs were getting away with more than Iowa's were. 

Of course, that didn't cost Iowa the game. Part of why the Hawkeyes failed so badly in this category was because Thomas Bryant got Tyler Cook in foul trouble this time around, instead of vice versa. Additionally, Peter Jok was not nearly as aggressive at attacking the hoop this time around, and frequently settled for contested jumpers, which are much less likely to draw a whistle. 

In the end, it was just a weird game, and Iowa only attempting 10 free throws against the most foul-prone team in the Big Ten is just another cherry on top of this bizarre sundae. 

Advantage: Indiana

Overall: Iowa Won 0 of 4 Factors



There isn't much to highlight individually in this game outside of Jordan Bohannon, Cordell Pemsl, and maybe Isaiah Moss.

Bohannon was no doubt Iowa's best player in this one, and the only efficient scorer, to boot. He ended up playing 37 minutes and scoring 24 points on just 15 scoring attempts. 15 of his points came in the first half, in which he went 5-7 from downtown, en route to a 6-11 performance on the night. 


He also earned his first career double-double by dishing out 10 assists, which ended up breaking his previous career-high of nine in the January win against Purdue. Even if he wasn't great on the defensive end, he was basically the only guy keeping Iowa afloat for most of the first half, so he gets a break. Overall, it was another good performance for the true freshman, and there should be plenty more to come in the next three years.

Cordell Pemsl also logged the first double-double of his career, putting up 14 points and 11 rebounds in 28 minutes on the court. It did, however, take him 15 scoring attempts to get those 14 points because Thomas Bryant and Juwan Morgan erased or disrupted a number of his shots at the rim. Pemsl also struggled on defense to defend the bigger Bryant, and like everyone else he didn't always get back on defense. Still, though, he was persistent on offense and he helped Iowa muster all that they could at the rim, and he should be recognized for that.

Isaiah Moss was the other double-figure scorer for Iowa, tallying 11 points, but on 13 scoring attempts. I have mixed feelings about Moss in this game. On the one hand, he had five steals in the first half and he did a great job of finishing at the rim on the handful of times he got there. However, he did settle for a number of long jump shots early in the clock that killed Iowa possessions when they needed points. That and he didn't always look decisive when he had the ball in his hands. He's certainly got talent, but the game still seems too fast for him at times. As a whole, this was probably one of his better games since the non-conference portion of the season, but it was also further proof of just how much further he has to go development-wise.

After those three, there really isn't much good to talk about. Iowa got very limited production from three of the most important players on the roster in Peter Jok, Tyler Cook, and Nicholas Baer, and that was a big part of why they lost this game.

Jok ended the night with 9 points on 4-11 shooting, including an awful 1-6 from long range. I'm not sure of the extent to which he is still hurt, but we have only seen brief glimpses of the old Peter Jok a few times since January, so something is clearly off. Whatever the case may be, this was one of the worst games from him in a long time. From an adjusted game score per minute standpoint, this was his third-worst game of the season, finishing only ahead of his injury-riddled performance at Northwestern and the lackluster one at Wisconsin.

Against Indiana, he didn't always hustle back on defense and he looked like he forgot how to dribble the ball at times, as he simply lost it out of bounds on a few of his four turnovers on the night. Again, I'm not sure why he couldn't get going, but he just never could against the Hoosiers. It's too bad, though, because Jok will finish his career without ever having won a Big Ten Tournament game. 

Tyler Cook also struggled, mostly because he couldn't stay on the court. He picked up two quick fouls and got the autobench nine minutes into the game. He started the second half by scoring on a fast break layup that gave Iowa a 44-43 lead, before picking up a foul on the very next Indiana possession and going to the bench with 18:41 left to play. He then spent the next five minutes on the bench, as Indiana went on a 19-8 run. 

Even when Cook was on the court, though, he struggled to score in the paint. Like Pemsl, Bryant and Morgan also blocked or contested a number of his attempts at the rim. He finished with eight points (all in the second half) on 4-8 shooting and hauled in seven rebounds (one offensive). Three of Cook's made field goals were dunks, which meant that he shot 1-5 on anything he couldn't slam. And, honestly, two of his dunks came in the final two minutes when Indiana's defense was acting like it was the NBA All-Star Game, so his stat line is a little inflated. 

Numerous caveats aside, Cook still gets credit for three dunks. And at least one of them was seriously legit.

We haven't really had any player that could pull off the alley-oop in a pick and roll situation since the Aaron White and Gabe Olaseni days. Iowa got killed in this game, obviously, but I'm still excited for more of this in the future. 

Tyler Cook Dunk-o-meter Games dunks Dunks Per Game made field goals dunk rate projected season total
Tyler Cook 25 45 1.8 113 39.8% 47 (26 Games)
Sophomore Year Aaron White 25 41 1.6 101 40.6% 56 (38 Games)

Speaking of White, Cook's recent dunking spree over the last few games has put him four ahead of White in total dunks and dunks per game. White is still ahead in terms of dunks per made field goals, though.

Finally, Nicholas Baer had one of his worst games of the season. By adjusted game score per minute, his total of 0.15 was his fourth-worst of the season behind a -0.13 against Delaware State (that was a weird game), a 0.05 at Northwestern, and a 0.09 at Minnesota. He finished last night's game with a line of: three points on 1-4 shooting, one assist, one steal, and no rebounds. Yes, you read that right. Nicholas Baer played 21 minutes and secured no rebounds. I have no idea how that is humanly possible, yet here we are.

Moreover, Baer's three-point shot did not look the way it had over the past couple of weeks. He obviously couldn't continue to convert at the insane rate that he was, but his shot looked awful when it left his hands on his two misses from deep. But it was just one bad game, and I don't want to blow it out of proportion. It was just too bad that on a night when Jok and Cook were struggling, Baer also had one of his worst games of the season. 

So yeah, with that loss, Iowa's bubble has been popped. It was a fun dream, but we shouldn't be too heartbroken that this extremely young Hawkeye team will be playing in the NIT. I mean, it wasn't too long ago that I was worried Iowa wouldn't even be playing in the postseason.

And I know that a lot of people are annoyed and perplexed by the fact that a Fran McCaffery-coached Iowa team hasn't won a Big Ten Tournament game in four years. I am also annoyed and perplexed (as I'm sure Fran and the few upperclassmen are), but this loss was a lot more understandable than the past three losses. After all, Iowa wasn't the favorite entering this game. Despite this being a contest between the #7 seed and the #10 seed, all the advanced metrics think Indiana is the better team. When the Hoosiers aren't shooting themselves in the collective foot with stupid turnovers and fouls, they are one of the best teams in the conference, if not the nation. The thing is, that doesn't happen very often. But it happened for one half of basketball last night, and Iowa stood no chance with off performances from three of its best players.

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