The Iowa Hawkeyes will play the Oregon Ducks in the second round of the NIT on Sunday afternoon, 4pm Iowa time.
What kind of opponent will Iowa be playing? Let’s take a look…the first set of numbers will look at pace of play and hardcore stats from Ken Pomeroy. Then after that, we’ll come around to other surface area aspects.
TEMPO: Oregon’s adjusted offensive tempo rank from Ken Pomeroy ranks 96th in the nation. For a comparison, Iowa is 70th, but 7th among BCS conference teams and the ‘fastest’ tempo among Big Ten teams, with Ohio State 2nd and Indiana 3rd. Oregon rates at 10th among BCS conference teams.
FOUR FACTORS: Pomeroy has a ‘Four Factors’ rating, based upon Dean Oliver’s (no, not that one) Four Factors concept. These four factors that are most important to basketball is shooting the ball, taking care of the ball, rebounding the ball and getting to the foul line. Shooting is the most important factor and thus the stats carry more weight.
You can glean some knowledge from a box score, but efficiency statistics are compiled differently that raw numbers. If you are 33 for 70 shooting the ball in a game, the percentage isn’t really that hot. However, if 10 of your field goals were three pointers, and the other team shot 55% from the floor but only attempted 60 shots, the first team did much better and will have a higher efficiency rating.
According to Oliver, here is how he weights the categories in importance, with 10 being the highest rating, at the NBA level:
1. Shooting percentage (10)
2. Turnovers per possession (5-6)
3. Offensive rebounding percentage (4-5)
4. Getting to the foul line (2-3)
Pomeroy explains that in the college game, getting to the line has a higher value than in the NBA.
It would be a good idea, if you are a college basketball fan, to familiarize yourself with these concepts as they are becoming more and more popular and thus more widely referred to. With this introduction out of the way, back to the numbers.
There are 345 division one teams. Oregon ranks a very good 35th in Effective Field Goal Percentage, or EFG%. Iowa is at 118, so nearly in the top third, which is also a solid rating. But Iowa’s EFG% Defense is 260th, with Oregon at 165. This means Iowa’s opponents are doing more damage per possession, which we have seen translate on the floor this year. There have been instances, including Tuesday night’s game against Dayton, where Iowa has surrendered far too many easy baskets.
This is the lone are of the Four Factors where Oregon has distinct advantage against Iowa, however it’s a significant factor given the importance placed on the EFG% as well as Oregon’s high success rate in this category combined with Iowa’s poor EFGD%. In other words, the Hawks are going to have to bring their ‘A’ game on defense Sunday evening.
Iowa is 62nd in turnover percentage with Oregon being 131st. This statistic is reached dividing turnovers by possessions. It doesn’t punish a team who may turn it over more as long as that team is getting a good number of possessions (Iowa), but it also does shine well on teams who do take care of the ball (Wisconsin). Purdue is #1 in the nation in this category, Wisconsin #2 and Northwestern #7. Three different styles, but each ranks well in this category which is why these stats are so interesting and useful. Iowa is 22nd among BCS conference school in this statistic. Oregon ranks 232nd in the nation in TOD%, meaning their opponents fare well in this category against them.
In offensive rebounding percentage, the teams have a similar ranking with Oregon at 147 and Iowa at 155. this stat is arrived at by using this formula: OR% = OR / (OR + DRopp). Take your offensive rebounds divided by the total number of your offensive rebounds PLUS your opponents defensive rebounds. It gives you a percentage of the rebound opportunities you have on the offensive end when factoring in all opportunities.
Free Throw Rate is calculated this way: FTRate = FTA / FGA and it shows how much a team gets to the line compared to their overall offensive scheme. Iowa ranks 94th in the nation in this category, but was 2nd in the Big Ten. That jives with what we highlighted throughout the season in that Iowa attempted more free throws than any other Big Ten opponent. Indiana was second in Big Ten free throw attempts in conference season, but on the whole the Hoosiers rank 1st in the league in this category. Oregon ranks 123rd in the nation, so not a huge difference here. On the flip side of this category, how your opponents far against you, Iowa’s FTRD% ranks 68th in the nation with Oregon 56th.
Iowa is also much higher rated in block percentage (54th) and steal percentage (47th) than is Oregon (166/119).
Oregon’s 3PA/FGA percentage (121st) is much higher than Iowa’s (302). Iowa doesn’t take a lot of three point shots compared to overall shots, the 10th fewest in this category of all BCS conference teams. Oregon’s percentage is near the upper third while Dayton was in the 30’s, a team who relies on three’s and had five players with more than 100 three-point attempts on the year coming into Tuesday night’s game, where they attempted 30 treys.
For the Ducks 29.4% of their points come from three’s, 50.4 from two’s and 20.1 from the line. For Iowa, those numbers are 23.3, 54.8 and 21.8.
Oregon is one of the most experienced teams in the nation, ranking 13th with an average age of 2.40 years. Iowa is one of the more inexperienced teams in the nation, ranking 208th at 1.54 years.
Ineteresting note, here is how the Big Ten teams rank in experience, from least to most:
2. Penn State
3. Ohio State
8. Michigan State
12. Nebraska (#2 nationally)
This might be something I revisit after the season as we take a long look at what each Big Ten team returns and loses. Quick take: Nebraska finished last in the league with the most experienced team, which does not bode well for them. Purdue and Northwestern will be trending down.
OK, let’s shift gears to more traditional observations.
First, Oregon’s court sucks. Let’s get that out of the way right off the bat. Next, I do like the fact that the game is played at 4pm Iowa time. Iowa goes out to the West Coast for this one, and actually will be gaining some time going that direction. My guess is they will fly out there Saturday and get a good night’s sleep because they don’t have to play til later in the afternoon. 4pm in Iowa is 2pm in Oregon.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Devoe Joseph is a senior guard who transferred to Oregon from Minnesota. He is averaging 17 points per game and has hit 42% of his three’s on 141 attempts, or basically the same percentage as Matt Gatens has hit this year. He had a great season in Pac 12 play, the third leading scorer in that league. At 6-4/180, he can create some problems.
EJ Sigler is their second leading scorer at 13 per game and their leading rebounder at 5.4 per game. He gets good production on the glass at 6-6 and despite the fact that he hands out around the three-point line quite a bit on offense, having attempted 123 of them this year. He’s listed as a forward but I see him more as a combo player.
Garrett Sims is their third leading scorer, a 6-2 guard. He is 69 of 146 on three’s this year for a sensational 47.3% as well as 2.6 assists per game. This is not a team who wants to mix it up inside, and I think the Hawkeye strategy will be similar to what we saw against Dayton; work the ball inside early and often to Aaron White, Zach McCabe and Melsahn Basabe. Oregon’s transition defense can also look a little spotty at times based upon the game clips I watched on Wednesday morning as well as some of their game against LSU.
Oregon shoots free throws well (72.7% in P12 play), they shoot the three well (39.7 in P12 play) and are middle of the Pac12 in most other categories, trending bottom half on defense.
The bottom line is simple for Iowa; bring the same kind of focus and intensity on the road as we have seen at home during the majority of the Big Ten season. It’s easier said and done with an inexperienced team, but at this point of the season and given the competition in this year’s Big Ten, Iowa should not wilt under the pressure of the road. The Oregon crowd was hardly inspiring on Tuesday, but given this is a Sunday afternoon game, I would expect more fans in the stands than the 5,189 who showed up for their game against LSU.