If this team does not beat Iowa tomorrow night, the world will end. No joke. Everyone leaving Hilton at the usual 4:00 mark regardless of score to get a beat on traffic, will be heading straight to Hy-Vee to get stocked up on food supply, dashing home, and locking themselves in, hoping to survive the Apocalypse.
For me, I don't leave until after the game, so I will have to cross my fingers to make it home.
To see what the chances of this happening are, let's see what the stats say:
|.912 points allowed/poss
|.998 points allowed/poss
On paper, we've been better than Iowa in almost every phase of the game: offense, defense, shooting, taking care of the ball, and rebounding. Getting to the line is a push, but if ISU does everything else better than Iowa, they'll win this game easily.
I know there are some Cyclone fans that are worried about this game, looking at how poorly ISU has played the last couple of weeks. If you take the Cal Game and look at the Four Factors (eFG%, TOV%, OREB%, and FT Rate), ISU's numbers in TOV%, and FT Rate would've logged higher than Iowa's average, but Iowa's averages in eFG% and OREB% were higher than ISU's in that game. It's clear that ISU has to play better than the Cal Game.
The good news is that if you look at how ISU played against UNI and Northwestern, it would appear that playing at that level would be enough to get past this Hawkeye team with relative ease.
When I look at Iowa, a couple of things concern me:
- They jack up a lot of 3s. Two nights ago, they threw up 26 3 pointers, which is about their season average. Luckily, they've been only shooting 32% from beyond the arc,but if they somehow get hot tomorrow night, it's going to boost their eFG%.
- They outrebounded UNI, a team that made our rebounding look weak.
Other than that, I'm not too concerned. They don't attack inside enough, aren't particularly good at shooting from outside, and turn the ball over a lot. That doesn't mean they aren't capable of having a better-than-average game, but it's clear this is a worse team than ours. Last year, Iowa's front court led by Cyrus Tate, shut down Brackins, but Tate is now gone, and Iowa looks weaker inside.
McDermott and his staff has had almost a week to get the players prepared for this game. I am going to be looking at some kind of improvement on the offensive end (more moving around, more going inside), and with rebounding. This team needs to respond to playing soft and looking as bad as they have been.
If we do lose this game, it's going to be a signal that something is seriously wrong in the program. I sincerely hope that is not the case, and we roll the Hawks by 20.