The competition was awful, but Iowa at least did what they were supposed to do this weekend.
Let's start with the obvious: The competition that Iowa faced on Friday and Sunday this past weekend was some of the worst in Division I college basketball. Kenpom ranks Chicago State as the 334th best team out of 351 D-1 teams this season, while Alabama State is ranked 341st. It's obviously still early, and both of those teams could potentially improve that ranking before the season is over. But the likelihood that these two teams are going to get much higher than 300 or so is very low.
As a result, the quality of the competition leaves us with very little to take away from Iowa's first two games of the season. What we can take away, however, is that Iowa at least handled these two cupcakes like a quality team should.
Chicago State Four Factors
- Shooting- Outside of the free throw line -- which isn't included in eFG% anyway -- Iowa dominated this factor. Advantage: Iowa
- Turnovers- Iowa struggled to take care of the ball against the Cougars. If there is any consolation, eight of the 17 turnovers came from Kriener, Dailey, and Uhl -- guys who certainly won't combine for 45 minutes of playing time against legitimate competition. Even then, it's a sample size of one and Iowa still forced more turnovers. Advantage: Iowa
- Offensive Rebounding- The offensive rebounding was a problem mostly for Iowa in the first half, where they grabbed just 29% of their misses, which is basically the Division I average. Average against Chicago State should obviously be seen as below average, but fortunately Iowa grabbed 45% of their misses after halftime. The defensive rebounding, on the other hand, wasn't particularly impressive in either half. The bright side, though, is that the Hawkeyes only allowed eight second chance points on 15 offensive rebounds. Advantage: Iowa
- Free Throw Rate- Iowa clearly dominated the getting to the line aspect of this category. They only made 60% of their 35 free throws, though, meaning they didn't take advantage of the foul disparity as much as they could have. Advantage: Iowa
Overall: Iowa Won All Four Factors
Alabama State Four Factors
- Shooting- Iowa wasn't quite as hot from the field as they were against Chicago State, but they were still plenty good. And Alabama State struggled to shoot over Iowa's length just like Chicago State did. Advantage: Iowa
- Turnovers- Ball security was much better in this one for the Hawkeyes. Meanwhile, Alabama State looked absolutely overwhelmed at times against Iowa's pressure defense. Advantage: Iowa
- Offensive Rebounding- This is the type of domination on the boards that we expect from a forward-heavy team like Iowa. Hopefully we see more of this going forward. Advantage: Iowa
- Free Throw Rate- Again, Iowa won the foul-drawing contest, thanks to its bevy of big men who are excellent at initiating contact. Said players need to make more than 52% of their free throws, however. Advantage: Iowa
Overall: Iowa Won All Four Factors
- Jordan Bohannon -- Bohannon looked like his normal self. He only had five points on Sunday, but through two games he is shooting 5-11 from three-point land and has a 12:1 assist to turnover ratio. The jury is still out on his defense, though.
- Isaiah Moss -- 26 points in 31 minutes of play? 6-11 from downtown? Yes, please. Aside from looking out of control attacking the rim a couple of times, Moss has looked excellent. His jump shot has looked silky smooth and extremely effortless, and if he can pair that with the perimeter defense and transition offense he showed last year, he is going to take the Big Ten by surprise.
- Ahmad Wagner -- Despite being yanked from the Chicago State game early, Wagner has looked like the player we thought he would through two games. He's still not a huge scoring threat, but he has the intangibles. (13 rebounds, five assists, and just two turnovers through two games.) It's looking like Nunge will probably play more minutes than Wagner this year, but Ahmad is still a very valuable defensive energy guy for this team. Oh, and he made the first three-pointer of his career against Alabama State.
- Tyler Cook -- It's a small sample against questionable competition, but Cook certainly looks better than last year. The free throw shooting may still be an issue (6-11 is still a small sample), but he's still dunking and finishing at the rim with ease. On top of that, the five assists and no turnovers in two games so far indicates that he is trying to be a more willing passer this season. He also looks like he wants to bring the ball up court more often this year.
- Cook (continued) -- He also has five dunks already this season. You didn't think I forgot about his dunk counter, did you?
|Tyler Cook Dunk-o-meter||Games||Dunks||Dunks Per Game||Made field goals||Dunk Rate||Estimated Season Total|
|Sophomore Year Tyler Cook||2||5||2.5||8||62.5%||78 (31 Games)|
|Sophomore Year Aaron White||38||56||1.5||140||40.0%||56|
|Tyler Cook Career||29||55||1.9||136||40.4%||N/A|
|Aaron White Career||140||201||1.4||590||34.1%||N/A|
- Luka Garza -- Iowa's freshman center continues to look like an absolute beast. 27 points, 18 rebounds, and five blocks in 37 minutes is a fine, fine stat line. The competition caveat needs to be kept in mind, but Garza isn't yet showing any of the struggles that young bigs sometimes have -- mostly offensive issues and foul trouble. He also hasn't faced a roster with anyone taller than 6'8" on it, so I won't get too excited quite yet.
- Jack Nunge -- Nicholas Baer may be hurt, but Nunge has looked plenty capable of filling his role through two games. Yes, yes, we can't make any concrete statements as of now, but Nunge is blocking shots, rebounding, picking pockets, and hitting threes. What more can we ask of him?
- Cordell Pemsl -- The opener against Chicago State wasn't great for Pemsl, as he shot just 2-5 from two-point range, logged four fouls, and turned the ball over twice in just 13 minutes. Thankfully, the old Pemsl returned against Alabama State to the tune of 15 points (6-9 from two-point range), five rebounds, one block, and one steal. He again had two turnovers, but he at least stretched that over 24 minutes this time. Still, though, fewer turnovers and fouls, and better free throw shooting would be a much welcome sight in the future.
- Brady Ellingson -- Duplicate stat lines of nine points, four assists, and one rebound is a good start to the season for Iowa's sharpshooter. With no Connor McCaffery, Ellingson has filled in just fine at point guard and is continuing to knock down threes. Overall, the guy just makes smart plays when he is on the court.
- Ryan Kriener -- Outside of Dom Uhl, Kriener is the low man on the big man totem pole, and his inconsistent play so far probably isn't helping him move up much. The good? Kriener has shot 4-5 from the field (all two-pointers) and has six assists through two games. The bad? He's got seven fouls through those two games. His rebounding is also down so far and he had three turnovers against Chicago State. Mostly, though, the fouling is the biggest concern right now, considering that was something the Spirit Lake native struggled with last year. Fortunately, Iowa has enough depth that Kriener getting in foul trouble isn't that huge of a blow on any given night.
- Maishe Dailey -- Connor McCaffery's injury has benefited Dailey the most. When Bohannon has had to sit, Ellingson has slid over to the one, making room for Iowa's freakishly long wing to score 21 points in 38 minutes so far this season. He had three turnovers in the season opener, but he bounced back with zero against Alabama State. Moreover, his shooting has looked pretty good so far, as he is shooting 50% (eFG%) on non-dunk attempts. His playing time will obviously decrease as the competition stiffens, but Dailey has looked pretty good through two games.
- Dom Uhl -- Iowa's lone senior played just eight minutes against both Chicago State and Alabama State. And while he did have a nice putback slam on Sunday and he has rebounded well in his 16 minutes on the floor, he also had some turnover and foul issues against Chicago State and has made just one of his four free throws this year. Small sample yes, but Uhl's sample probably won't be very big all year.