Franalysis: Same Story, Different Night for a Struggling Hawkeye Team

By Matthew Lundeen on January 5, 2018 at 12:02 pm
Iowa continued to look like a last place Big Ten team against Ohio State Thursday night.
© Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa continued to look like a last place Big Ten team against Ohio State Thursday night.


Four Factors in Review

  Iowa 1st Half OSU 1st Half Iowa 2nd Half OSU 2nd Half Iowa Game OSU Game
Points Per Possession 0.90 1.29 1.23 1.15 1.07 1.22
Possessions 36 40 75*

*Possessions for each half don't add up to 75 due to rounding.


Iowa 2PT Near Rim 2PT Jumper 3PT FG FT
Attempts 35.3% 39.7% 25.0% N/A
FG% 54.2% 33.3% 41.2% 69.6%
Ohio State 2PT Near Rim 2PT Jumper 3PT FG FT
Attempts 48.5% 21.2% 30.3% N/A
FG% 65.6% 50.0% 35.0% 65.2%

In all honesty, I didn't watch this game that closely. I spent the entire first half watching from a distance at a restaurant, and by the time I got home for a decent chunk of the second half, I was only half paying attention. What I did see, though, was more of the same we saw against Michigan on Tuesday night. 

There were flashes of brilliance: Tyler Cook had some putback dunks; Nicholas Baer's shot might be coming back; Luka Garza showed a very diverse offensive game. On the other hand, there were still way too many offensive possessions where the game of basketball looked too hard for this collection of basketball players. They settled for some really bad shots, which is probably demonstrated best when you see that almost 40% of Iowa's field goal attempts were classified as two-point jumpers. And, on top of that, they shot just 13-24 on attempts near the rim. Isaiah Moss -- who finished with seven points on 3-10 shooting -- was the main problem here for Iowa, as he shot 0-4 from up close. 

Of course, offense wasn't the biggest problem for the Hawkeyes -- they scored 1.23 points per possession in the second half, after all. Instead, it was the defense that was consistently awful for 40 full minutes of play. Ohio State only had eight fast break points, but they frequently beat Iowa down the floor and scored easy buckets early in the shot clock far too often. After averaging 18 seconds per offensive possession in the first half, the Buckeyes only needed 15 seconds, on average, to dice up Iowa's zone defense after halftime. Despite playing a defense designed to take away shots near the rim, the Buckeyes still managed to outscore Iowa 42-26 in the paint, as guys like Keita Bates-Diop frequently attacked in transition and broke down Iowa's awful zone in the half-court. 

Overall, this category was the biggest difference maker. Iowa's offense struggled to consistently get good looks for large parts of the game, while the Hawkeye defense got bullied like a JV squad all game. 

Advantage: Ohio State


Team Turnovers Turnover% Steals % of Turnovers Forced by Steals Points Off Turnovers Pts Off Turnovers Per Turnover Forced
Iowa 11 14.6% 1 11.1% 8 0.89
Ohio State 9 11.9% 6 54.5% 11 1.00

Iowa was certainly better in this area on Thursday night, but turnovers did again play a part in letting yet another game get out of hand. While the 11 turnovers is nice compared to what we are used to seeing this year, they weren't exactly spread out evenly. Eight of those turnovers came in the first half, and it's not a coincidence that a competitive two-point game five minutes in started to get more lopsided as Iowa coughed the ball up on 23% of their first half possessions. Coupled with poor shooting, those first half turnovers put Iowa in an all too familiar hole that they were unable to dig out of with improved offense in the second half.

And the reason the improved offense in the second half wasn't enough to overcome the atrocious first half was another familiar story: the defense could not get stops. Iowa plays a hyper-aggressive form of defense, and yet they are 294th in the nation in opponent turnover rate and 253rd in steals, according to Kenpom. Teams can be good on defense without forcing turnovers, but they actually have to be able to stay in front of their opponents and that is something that Iowa can't do on the perimeter right now. And until they start forcing more turnovers or bring that 54% eFG% allowed in Big Ten play down, they aren't going to be very successful. 

Advantage: Ohio State

Offensive Rebounding

Team Off. Rebounds Available Off. Rebounds Off. Rebound% 2nd Chance Points 2nd Chance Pts/Off. Rebound
Iowa 15 43 34.9% 24 1.60
Ohio State 10 35 28.6% 14 1.40

After taking a few games off from hitting the offensive glass, Iowa was much better in this aspect of the game and it helped them not get completely annihilated. Tyler Cook was a boon for Iowa here, as he grabbed six of Iowa's 15 offensive rebounds and totaled 11 of their 24 second chance points. 

Ohio State was held slightly below the national average in offensive rebounds, but took advantage of the ones they did get. Still, this category heavily favored Iowa. 

Advantage: Iowa

Free Throws

Team FT Made FT Attempted FT% FT Rate (FTA/FGA)
Iowa 16 23 69.6% 33.8%
Ohio State 15 23 65.2% 34.8%

Both teams were nearly mirror images of each other in regards to free throws. Both  teams got to the line 23 times, but Ohio State's free throw rate was a little higher because they attempted 66 field goals to Iowa's 68. That said, Iowa made one more free throw than the Buckeyes, so I'm calling this a draw. 

Advantage: Push

Overall: Iowa Won 1 of 4 Factors


Keita Bates-Diop was obviously the player of the game, but Tyler Cook was yet again Iowa's best player by a large margin. He might have made a bigger impact on the game, but early foul trouble saw him take a seat on the bench for a little while. (Although, Fran, for the second time in as many games, did break tendency and reinsert one of his most important players back into the game in the first half with two fouls.) Still, he finished with 21 points, marking the second game in a row he's scored 20 and the fifth time this year. He came up one rebound shy of a double-double, and only turned the ball over once. He also had three more dunks.

Tyler Cook Dunk-o-meter Games Dunks Dunks Per Game Made field goals Dunk Rate Estimated Season Total
Sophomore Year Tyler Cook 17 35 2.1 91 38.5% 64 (31 Games)
Sophomore Year Aaron White 38 56 1.5 140 40.0% 56
Tyler Cook Career 44 83 1.9 219 37.9% N/A
Aaron White Career 140 201 1.4 590 34.1% N/A

Outside of Cook, both Jordan Bohannan and Luka Garza finished with 15 points. Bohannon finished with one of the quieter double-doubles I've ever seen, handing out 10 assists to go with his scoring. And Nicholas Baer showed an improved stroke on his jumper, scoring 10 points on 4-7 shooting (2-4 from three-point range). 

And that's about all that was good.

Jack Nunge played just eight minutes for the second game in a row. And he really struggled again on defense to defend athletic wings who can attack the basket. He has a versatile skillset, but right now he's not quick enough or experienced enough to be even an average perimeter defender in the Big Ten. 

Unfortunately, Iowa doesn't seem to have anybody that can defend the perimeter right now -- no matter whether they are in man or zone defense. Bohannon has a bad reputation on defense (and for good reason), but Maishe Dailey couldn't slow down Bates-Diop, and he also got crossed up by Andrew Dakich in the first half. Jack Nunge has no chance against slasher types, and while Ahmad Wagner is respectable on defense, holy hell is he easy to defend on offense when you stick him out on the perimeter. Last but not least, Isaiah Moss doesn't seem to be much improved from last year on defense. (Although, to be fair, defense is very team-oriented and it's hard to look good when the rest of your teammates are getting beat.)

Expectations were high going into this season, and while we all very well could have been incredibly-blind homer fans with ridiculously high expectations, I still find it hard to think that this group of players is this bad. Individually, this team has a lot of talented, young players on it. But, as currently constructed, this roster is clunky, rather than the well-oiled and dynamic machine we thought it could be before the season started.

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