houksyndrome's picture



MEMBER SINCE   September 27, 2016

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Comment 18 Apr 2019

Texas is a good idea.  Huge population => Large talent pool.  We'd be recruiting against four programs that are currently pretty strong (Texas Tech, UT, Houston and TCU) plus Texas A&M.  The Oklahoma schools (and entire B12/SEC, for that matter) probably have significant recruiting presence in Texas as well.  So we'd be up against a lot of competition for recruits.  Then again, there are probably so many good recruits in that state that even the leftovers are pretty good.

I was being serious about Canada, though.  Have you seen lists of good players from Canada?  There are a surprising number of good players up there, lots of guys that I didn't realize were Canadian.  Foreign basketball, in general, could be a source of talent that is under-recruited by our current staff.  Gonzaga is the program that immediately comes to mind in terms of success with international recruiting but I'm sure there are other examples as well.

Comment 17 Apr 2019

I think hiring (A) a defensive guru, (B) Dean Oliver or (C) an assistant coach with ties to a recruiting hotbed are all reasonable ideas.  Aside from his ties with Iowa, where I agree with the OP that we don't need any in-state recruiting help, Oliver's coaching track record and youth should get him consideration for this job.  If we are going to hire an assistant coach with recruiting ties to a particular region, I'd consider hiring someone with strong ties to the Toronto region (or with strong ties to Canadian basketball, in general).  Canada is starting to produce a lot of big time prospects and I think that trend is only going to increase.  I think that's a talent pool that we should be trying to break into.

Comment 16 Apr 2019

I'm excited to watch that wrestling final.  I've seen the famous Ironside/Kolat match on youtube but, aside from that, I've never seen any of those guys wrestle.

Comment 13 Apr 2019

I like the (few) realist fans in their comment section who are like "WTF?  Iowa has owned us since we joined their conference.  Let's wait until we can actually beat them before talking smack."

Comment 11 Apr 2019

I'm one of the people who likes Nunge over Pemsl, long term.  There's three reasons:

1.  You are correct that Pemsl has been the better player thus far; however, I didn't see much progress in Pemsl between his freshman and sophomore seasons.  In particular, he remains extremely left-hand dominant, to the point where teams overplayed him in that direction his sophomore year and largely negated his ability to win one on one matchups in the post.  His shooting percentages didn't change much, IIRC, but I remember him often not even trying to score when he got the ball in the post his sophomore year, even when he was not being double teamed.  If we are going to make a concerted effort to get the ball into the post, then the post needs to either (A) draw a double team and find an open shooter/cutter or (B) shoot and score if he isn't being double teamed.  I saw Pemsl get shut down by single coverage way too often for my liking as a sophomore whereas he often defeated single coverage as a freshman.  I didn't track it, though, so it could be my own perception/biases.  My worry is that Pemsl has plateaued.

2.  Nunge has a promising outside shot.  Having a PF/C that can shoot threes is a big deal for offensive spacing.  When Cook and Garza were in the game together, only one of them (usually Garza) would be in the lane at any given time while the other would be out on the perimeter.  The other team would not guard that player very closely, though, and instead would keep an extra defender in the lane which makes it harder for our other post.  If Cook and/or Garza could magically hit 40% of their threes, then our offense would have been a nightmare for opposing teams (although it was still very good).  The really good Wisconsin teams at the end of Bo Ryan's tenure had bigs that could shoot the ball.  Obviously, we all know about Dekker and Kaminsky but before that it was Jon Leuer and Keaton Nankivil who also had solid outside shots.  Bigs that can shoot help out a LOT.

3.  Nunge's height gives him more potential as a rim protector and more ability to play center.  Pemsl has quick feet and we all just saw Virginia win a national title with 6'7-6'8 forwards that can switch everything so I am growing higher on Pemsl's defensive value.  But Nunge has decent feet, too.  He might not be quick enough to play the SF spot but I think he has a ton of potential as a future PF/C.

I'm not trying to be super down on Pemsl.  I love his strength and his quick feet but I am disturbed by the lack of development with his right hand.  I am also very intrigued by Nunge's size and outside shooting ability so I think he has the higher ceiling.

Comment 10 Apr 2019

The initial +/- stuff that I did suggested that we will miss Cook quite a bit.  I'll have an article about it later in the offseason but I was surprised at how large his contributions appear to be, especially on the defensive end, where I had generally considered him to be a liability.

Comment 10 Apr 2019

I think they'd be split between Nunge and Pemsl.  Basically, it would be a four man rotation inside with Garza, Pemsl, Kriener and Nunge.  That could still be a good front court.

Comment 09 Apr 2019

Regardless of whether or not Cook returns, if we are to get into the top 25, we must improve defensively, by a lot.  I don't see that happening given that we are losing both Baer and Dailey (plus maybe Cook).  I think next year's team will be pretty similar to this year's a top 40ish team that will make the tourney if they are able to win close games like this year's team mostly did.

Comment 09 Apr 2019

I 100% agree that we are really going to miss Baer because that dude was a good player.

That Box Plus Minus stat is an interesting one.  Importantly, it is not the same thing that I am measuring (i.e. real plus/minus data).  Rather, it uses box score statistics (FG%, Assist%, TO% etc.) to predict a player's +/-.  Basically, some guys like me, but who actually know how to program, took a bunch of NBA players, measured their actual +/- the way I did it (or from analyzing play by play data) and then did multivariable regression analysis to come up with a prediction metric that could predict a player's +/- from their box score.  But it isn't 100% accurate, I'm not up on the literature enough to know what the 95% confidence intervals are for a player's BPM.  I'm also under the impression that it was trained on NBA datasets which means that the exact coefficients the algorithm uses might not be ideal for college players.  Lastly, I think skepticism is warranted when trying to assess defensive value from box score stats because only steals and blocks are directly found in box scores and many good defensive players, particularly good perimeter defenders, don't rack up huge numbers of blocks and/or steals.

Comment 04 Apr 2019

That it was.  I'm actually putting together an article about the last month of the regular season as we speak.

Here's my overall take on Fran and this last season:  he usually puts a team on the floor that is good enough to win 50-67% of its conference games but not good enough to win the regular season title.  He does this without any real NBA-level talent, he's had two players get a cup of coffee in the league but that's it.  At the start of the 2018-19, zero former Hawks were on NBA rosters.  The teams that consistently finish ahead of us in the league all have a half-dozen or so former players who are currently on NBA rosters.  Still, with the exception of his first recruiting class (Marble, McCabe, Basabe), every one of his recruits that has stayed for four years has been part of at least one NCAA tournament win. 

Most of the vocal portions of the fanbase are not satisfied with the team's performance over the years and consider it "mediocre".  I actually think that his performance here is pretty solid because I consider the current Big Ten to be an extremely difficult league, most years.  Even the "door mat" programs like Nebraska, Penn State, Northwestern and Rutgers are able to field teams that are at a different level athletically, from where they used to be in previous decades.  The coaching in this league is outstanding as well.  I think Fran sees these things the way I do and feels that he (and his players) don't get the credit they deserve from the fanbase, a fanbase which is also pretty fickle about showing up to the games and loudly supporting the team.  I think his response to the question (and his overall demeanor when dealing with the Iowa press corps) has more to do with these overarching issues than the validity of that one question (which was certainly a valid thing to ask).

Comment 03 Apr 2019

I think you might be on to something regarding Fran being pissed off at the fan base / press corps, especially as it relates to his sons.  A number of Iowa players have been crucified on some of the internet message boards and I think that (1) this kind of stuff does get back to the team and (2) it really pisses Fran off.  In a post-game interview after the Cincinnati game a reporter asked a question along the lines of whether or not the tournament win over Cincy washed out some of the bad taste from the last month of the season and Fran wasn't having it at all.

Comment 27 Mar 2019

Also, if you pause that video at 0:21, you'll see Pat taking a pull up jump shot where he is shooting from above his head.  So that also makes me wonder if it's a strength thing where from up close he shoots with better mechanics than at long range.  His FTs also looked like they were from below his chin, though.