Hoops Preview: Iowa Part Two

Submitted by Brian on February 14th, 2018 at 1:39 PM


WHAT #27 Michigan (20-7) vs
#96 Iowa (12-15)
WHERE Crisler Arena
Ann Arbor, MI          
WHEN 6:30 PM
LINE Michigan –11 (KenPom)

Fran McCaffrey is absolutely correct about Big Ten officiating.


Michigan overcame the Trohl Center in their most recent outing, and now they get the platonic opposite of the deliberate, steady, clang-tastic Badgers. Michigan's offense continue to oscillate between clobberin' and clobbered, with little in between. This is going to have to be a clobberin' outing, what with Iowa's miserable defense and excellent offense.

This is Michigan's last should-win of the season, with a home game against a very good OSU team next and then two road games against high NIT seeds to finish the season. Losing this one would be a bleah lead in to crunch time.


Projected starters are in bold. Hover over headers for stat explanations. The "Should I Be Mad If He Hits A Three" methodology: we're mad if a guy who's not good at shooting somehow hits one. Yes, you're still allowed to be unhappy if a proven shooter is left open. It's a free country.

Pos. # Name Yr. Ht./Wt. %Min %Poss ORtg SIBMIHHAT
G 3 Jordan Bohannon So. 6'0, 180 78 20 122 Not at all
SG forced to play point, good A:TO ratio. Lethal shooter, but terrible inside the line.
G 4 Isaiah Moss So. 6'5, 205 59 22 107 No
Multi-purpose O weapon w high shot volume and middling efficiency. Again, force inside line.
F 51 Nicholas Baer Jr. 6'7, 210 43 16 107 Sort of
Defensive pest and OREB threat is mediocre scorer.
F 5 Tyler Cook So. 6'8, 215 67 26 110 Very
Skilled 4/5 took it to M in first matchup. Keep away from rim, if you can.
C 55 Luka Garza Fr. 6'10, 235 50 24 120 Sort of
Rebounding machine w solid block rate, efficient, low TO interior scorer. Some range.
F 35 Cordell Pemsl So. 6'8, 240 42 19 111 Very
Hambeast PF rebounds everything and dunks off assists.
C 20 Jack Nunge Fr. 6'11, 225 41 19 113 No
Stretch 5 still a bit skinny; poor DREB gent.
F 25 Maishe Dailey So. 6'7, 195 40 16 107 No
Wing is another guy Michigan should run off the line as his efficiency drops inside it.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the preview.]



Tyler Cook: very good at basketball, CRAZY EYES

This is a fairly typical Iowa team in that they have an enormous fleet of tall guys and a bench that never ends. There is one rotation player shorter than 6'4", point-guard-type-substance Jordan Bohannon. There are only two other guys outside the gray shorter than 6'7". And as far as that bench goes: three Iowa "starters" average under 60% of available minutes; the rotation goes legitimately 11 deep with guys getting at least eight minutes a game.

It's also a fairly typical Fran McCaffrey team in that their offense is better than their defense, but rarely has the gap been so stark. Iowa enters this game with Kenpom's #28 offense... and its #248 defense. That's the next section, mostly, but keep it in mind as we run down a squad that's got legitimately intimidating offensive stats: they are 3-11 in conference for a reason that individual stats largely fail to cover.

Anyway. Back to Bohannon: despite being miscast as a point guard by virtue of being the only short guy on the roster, he's coping pretty well. He's got a top 100 assist rate and is a knock-down shooter (44%) from deep, on high volume. He's also an 89% FT shooter. His main weakness is that if you can force him off the line without opening up an assist, he's hitting 41% from two. Hopefully Simpson will be able to force Bohannon into those two pointers that don't go so well.

I-guess-we'll-call-him-a-shooting-guard Isaiah Moss is a similar player at 6'5". He's not as good of a 3P shooter but he's pretty good (38%); he's fairly dire inside the line. The main difference between Moss and Bohannon is the frequency with which Moss ventures inside: 60% of Moss's shots are twos that he hits at 43%. Bohannon takes two thirds of his shots from deep. Moss does not offset this with additional foul calls because he does not drive to get to the rim; he drives to set up pull up jumpers. He's actually very good at them (42%), but those are bad shots. Somehow they're better than his shots at the rim.

Michigan's defense will be playing well if Moss and Bohannon are getting a lot of usage from two.

It will not be playing well if PF Tyler Cook is getting the lion's share of usage inside the arc. You probably remember Cook from the first matchup. If you do not remember the guy who went 10/15 from the floor and 8/11 from the line, please seek medical attention. Cook is a dude, a high-usage, high-efficiency post who is constantly fouled. He's eh from the line (66%) and isn't a shooter, but he's a rebound vacuum at both ends and is not a person Mo Wagner can check without help, probably.

Those three guys all play at least 60% of Iowa's minutes and have defined roles. The rest of the roster isn't so much two starters and a bench as it is five dudes who all play 16-20 minutes a game.

Freshman post Luka Garza is inching towards 24 minutes a game as the season progresses and is the most starter-ish of the five; he is a 6'11" guy with a top 50 OREB rate, a Beilein-worthy TO rate, and 24% usage who is shooting 59% from two and has a little bit of stretch in him. Like many freshman posts he can have issues with foul trouble, but if you close your eyes and ignore Iowa's defensive stats Garza looks like the next star center in the league.

Nicholas Baer, Cordell Pemsl, and Jack Nunge, and Maishe Dailey are the 16-minutes-a-game brigade. Nunge is the backup center (ish—Cook fills that role on O when Garza is out); he's another near-seven-foot freshman with three point range. His main issue right now is rebounding, and how he doesn't do it on defense.

Pemsl is a burly PF sort who vacuums in rebounds and wants nothing more than to pound your face in at the rim. He's not a shot creator; he's the guy dunking on you after someone else forces your help defense to rotate. Baer is similar; he's not quite as much of a DREB beast but he hits the offensive boards and is a defensive pest. Unfortunately for him he's a 30% three point shooter who takes most of his shots from out there.

Dailey is 6'7" and gets classified as the backup PG by Kenpom because he does not OREB. He's not much of an A:TO guy. He is another 40% three point shooter whose efficiency collapses inside the line.

An astounding six other guys show up on Kenpom, but none of them have seen more than 4 minutes a game over Iowa's last five games, so they're unlikely to have a big impact. FWIW, Brady Ellingson is guard sized at 6'4" and has hit 40% from three in limited opportunities so far. The other fringe guys are bad at offense.


Screen Shot 2018-02-14 at 12.30.50 PM

So: those defensive numbers. The raw numbers look insane to anyone used to Beilein ball, and then you check the tempo. Iowa is 70th in adjusted tempo nationally, and if they had their druthers it would be a heck of a lot faster. They're 32nd on offense, by far the fastest team in the plodding Big Ten. (The B10 is 30th of 32 conferences in tempo.)

But those OREBs come at a price. Iowa's giving up 59% eFG in transition and has a big chunk of their defense (21%) in that phase. Michigan, by contrast, is at 47% eFG. 

Iowa's other main issue is preventing shots from the good bits of the floor. Compare it to Michigan's system, which is making chicken salad nightly. The following  chart is a breakdown of where opponent shots come from:

Michigan Iowa
RIM 23% 36%
2PJ 47% 28%
3PT 30% 36%

That 3 point number isn't that bad, it's average. The rim number is.

Iowa's other other main issue: forcing turnovers. They're in the 300s in that department, and since they're mediocre at DREBs the opposition gets a lot of shots up. Those shots are at the rim or from three, and opponents tend to make those shots.

This probably has something to do with Iowa having just one guard on the roster, and that guy is Jordan Bohannon. For all of Bohannon's many assets, being able to stay in front of people is not one of them.

On the bright side for the Hawkeyes, their offense is a beautiful thing, with a top-ten assist rate nationally, excellent shooting from both two and three, and a near-clobbering OREB rate. Clean up your turnovers and Iowa's O could be top ten. And since Iowa is 333rd in experience this year and returns literally everyone except Dom Uhl... oh no I've just talked myself into "Iowa's going to be good next year" again.


Repeat your DREB performance from game one. Iowa's nonstop board assault didn't amount to much at Carver-Hawkeye; they managed to grab seven of their misses, 23%. Michigan was just one OREB behind. That is a big W against the #1 OREB team in the conference. Nothing since has indicated that was a fluke.

Help Mo. Wagner had a dud of a game in the previous matchup, scoring four points on six shot attempts and turning it over twice. He got a brutal matchup against Cook, which didn't go well on the defensive end and may have hurt him on offense. He got just 16 minutes. Michigan played Teske and Mo together in the last game for a little bit and that could be a way to get him an easier matchup, especially if Garza is off the floor.

The other thing Michigan might consider is doubling off of miscellaneous Iowa guys who aren't Bohannon or Moss. Cook's assist rate is just okay, and he offset his offensive performance in the previous game with four turnovers.

Z is gonna give it to Bohannon. The previous game was Simpson's breakout: 15 points on 10 shot equivalents, seven assists, no turnovers. Bohannon cannot stay in front of him, and once the Iowa defense starts rotating bad things happen for them. Simpson's usage has to hit 20% here, and his hockey usage* should be even higher.

*[A term I just made up that gives credit to the guy who unbalanced the defense and caused the rotation that led to an assist, even if that wasn't the most recent pass.]


Michigan by 11.


Indy Pete - Go Blue

February 14th, 2018 at 1:53 PM ^

Iowa is never easy, and now they are actually playing pretty well.  This game means a lot to the resume - as in, a loss would be a serious blow.  Mo and friends will hopefully bring the A game tonight.  Let's get it blue!

L'Carpetron Do…

February 14th, 2018 at 2:13 PM ^

Yes the record is bad  but they're playing a lot better than they were earlier in the season.  They don't look like a terrible HS team anymore, def getting better.  If Bohannon is hot and the other team is off they can hang around for a while. Their D eventually catches up to them though.  I wouldn't be surprised if they steal a game from someone on the first day of the B1G tournament.


February 14th, 2018 at 3:06 PM ^

but that was at home.  They've lost four consecutive road games by double-digit points - that includes a trip to Rutgers.  They're 1-8 all-together on the road this year, only 2 of those 9 games non-double-digit losses (the win at Illinois and a 6-point loss at ISU).   

You can take nothing for granted in this world, but I'd take Michigan and I'd give the 11 (the current Vegas spread).  A team that's struggled all year (and is possibly losing interest), reaching the regular season's end, for a mid-week road game against an NCAA-bound team:  that's a recipe for a double-digit win for Michigan.


February 14th, 2018 at 4:47 PM ^

but have been pretty much crushed by everyone on the road lately - including PSU by 25 and Rutgers by 14.  Their only wins in the B1G are home Wisconsin, home Minnesota and at Illinois.  Certainly nothing to write home about.

They've been dropping in kenpom throughout the season, so they're objectively not playing well recently.

Of course, they're not going to miss tonight, now. 

Wolverine In Iowa 68

February 14th, 2018 at 2:17 PM ^

I will NOT piss off the KenPom gods by saying anything like "Iowa fans do not expect anything good to happen for their team tonight."  The last time I said something close to that, it did not end well. 


So I'm going to just say that teams seem to have better than average games against us when we're not looking, so we need to come out sharp and fast, and beat them down quick, so we can beat them by 11 as predicted.

Trader Jack

February 14th, 2018 at 2:29 PM ^

This is just a guess, but I wonder if Simpson's struggles from the free throw line are related to the change in shooting form he's undergone to become more proficient at shooting threes.


February 14th, 2018 at 4:33 PM ^

I've got a feeling we're in for a battle tonight (and for the rest of the season). Beilein was right the first meeting, shutting Bohannon down is crucial, I hope the guys got thag beat into tbeir heads again. Cook is going to own the post and likely score 25 again so we need to limit 2nd chance opportunities like Pemsl and Garza cleaning up 2nd chances. We've been good at it, it must continue. Garza has become a better player the past few weeks and is rounding into a college ball player. He will be a tough matchup. I wonder if we see Mo and Teske out there together again to combat the size (Livers likely out again I assume).


February 14th, 2018 at 5:11 PM ^

early in the season when it was apparent we needed less Robinson.  That was taken care of with the emergence of Livers, and then he went down and I didn't even get to see it against Wisconsin! (missed the first half)

Hopefully see it a bit more tonight - the matchups are pretty good for it. And hoping to see Mo and Teske run the pick and roll.  Just once, please.  Pleeeeeaaaase.

Also, just went back and looked at the box score to figure out how we comfortably won on the road despite Mo having a terrible game in which he didn't even play half our minutes.

Oh yeah.  The Livers breakout game. He had an absurd 13 points on 6 shots!  Plus 3 assists and an OREB for a 177 ORtg.  Simpson was also excellent as Brian mentioned in the article and Teske was great in relief of Wagner.