Time Stands Still - Michigan State v. Iowa Preview


5:30 PM EST

There was a time in the days of Adam Haluska where Iowa was good; that time ended when Northwestern State bounced the three seed Hawkeyes from the NCAA tournament in 2006. Steve Alford left, and enter Todd Lickliter, who gets upset whenever the Hawkeyes don't hear the shot clock expire on offense.  Four factors and more after the jump.

Michigan State has the advantage in all four factors, including (surprisingly) turnover percentage.  They still play at a glacial pace, averaging 63.6 possessions per game.  This ranks Iowa 322nd in the nation for tempo, and I'd say bring a crossword puzzle during Iowa's possessions to keep yourself occupied if they didn't turn it over so often.

Because of tempo, the logical thought is that the Hawkeyes are most like Wisconsin out of the teams that Michigan State's faced.  However, I think Iowa's most like The Citadel: A team that slows the pace down and takes a lot of threes.  Threes make up nearly half of Iowa's total shots (49.3%, fourth most in the nation).  Now this might be reason for a heart attack if Iowa was a good three-point shooting team, but they're merely average at 33.9%.  They do shoot twos well at 51.9%, which begs the question - why doesn't Iowa shoot more from inside the arc?  Shooting their threes at 33.9% equals out to shooting twos at about 50.9%, which means the Hawkeyes are better off going inside, because of the slightly better percentage and the increased probability of drawing a foul.

The Hawkeyes' star player is Matt Gatens.  He's on the floor 91.8% of the time for Iowa (8th in the nation in that stat) and has the best three-point percentage at 41.1%.  Jarryd Cole is the most efficient scorer on the team with an EFG% of 62.2%.  Anthony Tucker has attempted the most threes on the team, but he's not particularly good behind the arc with a three-point percentage of 31.3% (EDIT - Tucker's been suspended indefinitely and most likely won't play today.  Mea Culpa.  HT: FromTheBarn).  There's other Hawkeye players, but you'll have plenty of time to research them when Iowa's passing the ball around the perimeter.

As for Michigan State, they just need to play how they played against Wisconsin - tenacious defense, patient offense, and plenty of coffee on the sidelines to stay lucid.  Kenpom has the Spartans winning this game 75-63 in a 64 possession game.  I don't think the score will get that high, but the margin sounds pretty accurate.


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