The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Dissecting the defense

Iowa guard Anthony Clemmons readies to take a free throw, the #9 ranked Iowa Hawkeyes beat the #22 Purdue Boilermakers 83-71 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa on Jan. 24, 2016(The Daily Iowan/Anthony Vazquez)

Iowa has drawn high praise for its defense so far this season and deservedly so. Giving credit where credit is due, the defense is two steps forward from a season ago.

But the stats in conference, despite a 9-1 record so far, lead one to believe the Hawkeyes are average on defense.

In conference play, Iowa allows 67.0 points per game, good for fifth. By contrast, the Hawkeyes score 78.7 points per game, good for second and more than enough to keep the Hawkeyes on the right side of the win-loss column.

The Hawkeyes do lead the conference in 3-point field-goal percentage, with opponents making just 28.4 percent of their attempts and are second in the Big Ten in blocks, thanks in large part to Jarrod Uthoff.

The more the numbers are broken down, the better the Hawkeyes look. Iowa leads the conference with a 3.9 turnover margin and are tied for first with Michigan State with a 1.5 assist-to-turnover margin.

Ken Pom Mania

The Iowa men’s basketball team topped one poll on Wednesday evening.

The Hawkeyes are ranked No. 1 in’s metric, which rates a team’s win probability based on how it has performed and against what kind of opponent.

A 5-point win over a top-flight team, for example, scores higher on the metric than a 20-point win over a team with a losing record.

For example, Iowa tops the poll after blowing out such top-flight teams as Purdue and Michigan State and also for blowing out the teams they should, as was the case with Wednesday night’s Penn State victory.

According to the ranking, Iowa has a better chance of winning a game right now than any other team in the country.

The national polls have taken notice, and now, the Hawkeyes have the attention of the computers as well.

Previewing Illinois

The Illinois men’s basketball team had high expectations preseason, but injuries have decimated the program, and the Fighting Illini sit at 11-12.

Illinois is down two starters, and Malcolm Hill can carry the team only so far.

Hill, a 6-6 guard, has played and started all 23 of the Illini’s games, and he averages more than 19.1 points per game in his 35.5 minutes.

Kendrick Nunn, a 6-3 guard, is second on the team with 17.4 points per game in 17 appearances.

The ceiling for the Illini, who are effectively out of the NCAA Tournament discussion, is wherever Hill and Nunn set it.

Despite the high flying tandem, the toughest part of playing at Illinois will likely be playing at Illinois. The State Farm Center, despite the team’s woes, still draws a ferocious student section.

If the Hawkeyes play as well as they did against Penn State, the Illini will be no match.


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