Previewing MSU at Iowa

USA TODAY Sports
Your Michigan State Spartans vs. the Iowa Hawkeyes
Carver-Hawkeye Arena - Iowa City, Iowa
Jan. 28, 2014, 7 p.m.

TV: ESPN
Online streaming: WatchESPN.com

Is MSU going to get the same performance out of the bench as it did against Michigan? More than anything, that will be the biggest factor in this game.

They got up for the big rivalry game and almost got the victory. But with that heartbreak and now traveling on the road to a place MSU never plays well, will that same energy and effort be there?

The Hawkeyes are the top team in the Big Ten in KenPom, with a record of 16-4 and 5-2 in the Big Ten. The four losses are all to KP top-20 teams, three on the road and one on a neutral site. We knew coming into the year that the Hawkeyes were a Big Ten darkhorse. Tuesday's game is for second place in the Big Ten, and MSU probably kept Iowa out of the NCAA Tournament last year.

Iowa runs nine deep, all playing more than 13 minutes. This is one of the deepest teams in the country. MSU is out two starters (Payne again "slim to none") and Keith Appling "can't shoot." MSU is going to need contributions from Russell Byrd, Alex Gauna, Gavin Schilling, Alvin Ellis and Kenny Kaminski, like they did on Saturday.

Iowa is No. 5 in adjO and No. 16 in adjusted tempo, at 72.6 possessions.The Hawkeyes shoot 37.7 percent on 3s and 51.2 percent on 2s, which are good numbers, but not great. Only 25.6 percent of their shots come from behind the arc. However, Iowa is No. 38 at getting to the free-throw line and shoot 72.5 percent there, No. 61 at holding onto the ball and No. 14 in offensive rebounding. They do just about everything well on this side of the ball.

The depth is mentioned above. Nine players average at least 13 minutes, and four average at least 8.9 points per game, led by Roy Devyn Marble (17.4 points 4.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists) and Aaron White (14.6 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists). Melsahn Basabe averages 9.3 points and 7.6 rebounds, shooting 67.6 percent from the floor. Also, I always say his name like Scar says "Sarabi" in Lion King.

On the other side, Iowa is No. 17 in adjD with opponents shooting 43.5 percent on 2s (No. 35). Opponents only make 28 percent of three-point attempt, yet almost 38 percent of shots come from behind the arc. MSU will probably be taking a lot of 3s. They'd best hit them if they want a chance. Gary Harris and Travis Trice have been good from deep recently, while Appling and Denzel Valentine have not. Kaminski could get a number of looks on offense in this one.

Iowa doesn't force a lot of turnovers (No. 119), but opponents don't often get to the line (No. 32)

Iowa is very good on the glass, grabbing 38.6 percent of misses (No. 14) and allowing just 28.4 (56). Against Michigan, MSU took and held a lead while rebounding almost 40 percent of misses, but as Michigan came back, MSU finished at 30 percent. That again comes back to the energy from the bench, given the lack of experienced options inside.

Quite frankly, this is not a good matchup at all for MSU. Iowa is deep and runs, while MSU is shorthanded. Iowa is No. 10 in effective height, while MSU is missing most of its starting frontcourt. To win this game, MSU will need a great performance from the bench, slow the game down and Harris will probably have to score at least 30 percent of MSU's points. It's hard to see the Spartans get this one, but if they do, it puts them into a great position with their next Big Ten game not coming for more than a week.

KenPom predicts an 81-74 win for Iowa, giving MSU a 28 percent chance, and that's not accounting for the absence of Payne and Dawson.

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