Horace E. Cow's picture

Horace E. Cow

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MEMBER SINCE   August 08, 2016

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Comment 16 Mar 2017

I feel like there's a recipe out on how to beat Iowa: pressure the hell out of them on the perimeter and don't allow open threes. It's what Indiana did, and South Dakota copied their recipe pretty successfully.

The downside of that strategy is that a good ball-handler can just blow through the pressure and get to the hoop (plus it's handsy and can produce fouls), but sometimes Iowa is so into its motion that it doesn't do the simple, obvious thing – drive to the hoop – and instead follows the "rules" of the offense and gives the ball up when faced with pressure. That just allows the defense to recover and reset, though.

Bohannon actually did a good job of getting to the hoop as the game went on, but this seems like something lots of people on Iowa have the skills to do – Moss, Williams, Ellingson, Uhl, Jok. Sometimes I wish they would just keep it simple, spread it out, and go right at these teams that are hand-checking 30 feet from the basket.

Comment 09 Mar 2017

Not to make excuses, but Indiana was not your average 11 seed. They were rated #45 I think in Ken Pom going into the game, #31 (!) in Sagarin. Even without Anunoby, they are clearly a talented team. They had a tougher Big Ten schedule than us, especially down the stretch, and lost a ton of close games, so their 7-11 record is kind of misleading. 

Things got away from Iowa in this game, but by the numbers it should have been a loss, and it was. Iowa's been a terrible defensive team all year, and Indiana had the talent to expose our flaws. The team still finished the season very well, though, and the NIT should be a valuable experience. I'm having a hard time feeling too bad about this.

Comment 06 Feb 2017

According to the Internet Wayback Machine, Iowa's KenPom ratings after the Illinois loss were 68th in offense (110.3 adjusted efficiency) and 150th in defense (103.5). Now those numbers are at 50th (113.4) and 137th (103.9). How they moved up in the defensive rankings while their efficiency got worse, I don't know, but it looks to me like the past few weeks have been more about a jump in offensive efficiency than defense. Given the stinkburgers they produced on offense against Northwestern and Illinois, it probably was to be expected that just getting back to normal on O would improve their ratings, but to their credit, the offense has been averaging like 1.18 adjusted efficiency in these last three games, which would be top 25 in the country if they did it all year long.

And just subjectively, I think the O has looked better. It seemed like teams had figured out that the way to disrupt Iowa was to trap the ball handlers really aggressively on the pick and roll, and Bohannon and Jok didn't have the strength or speed to fight through those traps (Jok's injury made him really vulnerable in those situations). Now, they seem to not do those high ball screens as much. They swing it to the side and do more hand-offs and side pick and rolls. Also, splitting up Pemsl and Cook seems to have helped, since those guys have the exact same strengths and weaknesses on O and D.

Comment 06 Jan 2017

Agree on the fouling, but, along with the turnovers, I think a lot of that was due to exhaustion. The energy that their brain needed to tell them "hey, don't try a 60 foot pass to a guy who's covered" or "hey, don't foul a guy 40 feet from the basket" was just not available. That said, with this Wonderful Bench we have, why not get in a few subs for a minute or two in OT? An energetic Williams or Wagner might be better than an exhausted Pemsl or Baer, or even Jok when he was dead on his feet. You really got to see who Fran trusts the most, though: Jok, Bohannon, Baer, Cook, Pemsl.

My pet bugaboo for end-of-game situations with Iowa is: going way too early when the shot clock is off. It nearly cost us the game in regulation and Nebraska nearly got a buzzer beater off in the first overtime because we went early. If we have the ball and the shot clock is off, the other team should not ever get the chance to take a shot. The ball should be in the air as the clock is winding to zero. Either we make it or the game goes to overtime. Same with end-of-half stuff.

Comment 23 Oct 2016

I'm torn on this one. One the one hand, I think the generic numbers would probably back up KF's decision.*  On the other, if you think Iowa's offense was never going to get that close to the end zone again, or that their kicker was likely to miss that kick, then of course you go for the conversion there. I have to be honest - in the moment, my spidey sense was not screaming at me that he had to go for it there. It seemed like a close call. 

* If you assume that kick is good 75% of the time (which seems reasonable, even for a college kicker), then Iowa is down 5 with ~5 min to go and Wisconsin has the ball at around their 25. The Advanced NFL Stats calculator is no longer available to the public, but I was able to find some numbers saying that an NFL team in Iowa's situation has a 12.5% chance of winning the game. If they miss the kick, their chances go down to 3%. I also found numbers saying a 4th and 5 conversion in that situation is successful about 50% of the time. If Iowa converts to, say, the Wisconsin 15, their win probability goes up to 8%. If not, it goes down to 3%, just like a missed FG. So...

Win probability (Kick) = .75*13 + .25*3 = 10.5%
Win probability (Go for it) = .5*8 + .5*3 = 5.5%

The benefit of kicking is that then Iowa could win the game outright with a touchdown. It's not likely that they would stop Wisky and march down to score, but the path to victory is clear. That is why you see such a relatively large bump in their WP from making the kick. If they convert the 4th down, three things have to happen for Iowa to win the game:they still have to 1) score the touchdown, 2) convert the 2 pt conversion, 3) win in overtime/not leave Wisconsin enough time to win in regular time. 

I think we all have internalized the idea that Iowa is too incompetent on offense to run a good two-minute drill, so we're leery of any scenario that requires them doing that to win a game. But that cuts both ways – if Iowa's offense is incompetent, then their probability of converting that 4th down is lower, as is their probability of winning in OT. It's a tough decision either way. Maybe they should have gone for the gusto, on the theory that they were the worse team and they needed something high variance to win.  I don't know. Having a non-functional passing offense really cripples you in late game situations.