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Friday, November 19, 2004
 
Iowa 85, Western Illinois 62
There was a lot to like in Iowa's victory tonight. Number one in my book is the performance from the free throw line. The Hawks set a school record for most FT attempts without a miss by going 20-20. Given the team's woes at the line from Alford-coached teams and throughout the exhibition season, this was a nice surprise.

Iowa had a well-balanced scoring attack with six players hitting double figures in points. Pierre Pierce again led the way with 16, although I'll be the last to compliment him on his performance. He certainly lived up to his inclusion on the Big Ten Wonk's All Head Case Team, coughing the ball up five times and unnecessarily forcing a lot of drives and shots. I say unnecessary because he too often feels like he needs to take on the three or four defenders while other scoring options wait for the ball. He ended the night shooting 6-15.

Oh right, I was talking about how there was a lot to like tonight. Hawk fans were no doubt excited to see Adam Haluska play his share of minutes and contribute 14 points in his much-heralded debut. He scored his first Hawkeye point on a free throw and later added two three-pointers. The other double figure scorers were Erek Hansen, Greg Brunner, Doug Thomas, and Jeff Horner.

Notes/Thoughts



 
Who Knows
I read somewhere that Western Illinois's new players compose "a recruiting class that was ranked in the top 25 in the nation by several scouting services," with no mention of the scouting services. Athlon Sports claims "the Leathernecks had a great recruiting year" without going into any detail. It's hard to project how good WIU will be tonight - the team has 10 new players and none of tonight's starters were with the team a year ago.
All five projected starters for Western Illinois in tonight’s game are new to
the program, including Florida International transfer Eulis Baez, and two of the
Leathernecks’ scoring leaders from a year ago, Will Lewis and T.J. Gray, will
fill reserve roles.

From QC Times

Thursday, November 18, 2004
 
Season Opener
Iowa starts its season Friday night with a game at home against Western Illinois. The Leathernecks finished last in the Mid-Continent Conference with a 1-15 record last year, en route to a 3-25 season. Despite winning only one game in the conference and returning only five players from that team, their conference preseason poll has them improving to seventh in the nine-team league. Other publications pick them at either eighth or ninth.

WIU played two exhibition games, beating Saint Ambrose 107-66 and SIU-Edwardsville 71-64. They used their up-tempo style to force 25 turnovers in the first game and 22 against SIU-E.

Players to watch include Eulis Baez, Will Lewis, T.J. Gray, and David Jackson.

Baez is a 6'8" transfer from Florida International. He averaged 12.7 points and 8.2 rebounds per game there as a junior. He managed to grab 14 rebounds, dish out 7 assists, and score 19 points in 27 minutes against Saint Ambrose.

Lewis is a senior who averaged 9.9 points and 4.7 rebounds last year. The 6'6" forward scored 17 and 21 points in the two exhibitions.

The 5'9" Gray was a member of the conference All-Freshmen Team a year ago after averaging 10.0 points a game and 3.1 assists. He is the Leathernecks' leading returning scorer.

Jackson, a freshman, averaged over 23 pts/game for his Memphis high school. The 6'4" guard was nominated to play in the McDonald's All-America game.

Western Illinois fits into the schedule in a good spot. The game should allow Iowa to get its opening game jitters out of the way against an easily beatable opponent. It will also give the Hawkeyes practice against a fast-paced team, which will hopefully help prepare them for the athletic and up-tempo attack of Louisville next week.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004
 
Learning From His Mistakes
Louisville head coach Rick Pitino felt Iowa was able to catch his team off-guard last season by playing two games before meeting his squad, which had played none. He can't make that excuse this year. Pitino scheduled a game against a D-II team in Hawaii for this Saturday, two days before playing Iowa. His team will fly out on Thursday, while most of the other teams in the Maui Invitational will make the trip on Saturday. Read about it here.

 
Just in Case You Cared...
Hawkeye Hoops passed 1,000 viewers today! That's an exciting little milestone for me, since it means that there might actually be a few people reading what I've been posting. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you continue to check back for Hawkeye and Big Ten basketball news throughout the season.

 
Wednesday Press Conference
Check out Hawkeye Nation's transcript of today's press conference with Coach Alford.

Looks like Erek Hansen's starting spot is safe for now - Alford says starting Adam Haluska in place of Mike Henderson is the only lineup change that would occur, if any. For those who haven't been keeping up, that means the starters for Friday will be:

C Erek Hansen 6'11"
F Greg Brunner 6'7"
G Pierre Pierce 6'4"
G Jeff Horner 6'3"
G Mike Henderson 6'2"/ Adam Haluska 6'5"

Alford once again sang the praises of freshman guard Carlton Reed, saying "He's got a lot of savvy and poise for a young player. And it just hasn't been the two exhibition games. He's practiced that way. He's had probably two or three poor practices sinec we started."

 
Defensive Numbers
More stats you didn't even realize you wanted to know - today's tables take a look which returning Big Ten players were best at accumulating steals and blocks in 2003-04. Enjoy.

Steals/40 min Leaders (Among Returning Players)
PlayerTeamMinStlStl/40
Pat Ewing Jr.Ind331333.99
Mohamed HachadNW881572.59
Tony StockmanOSU972612.51
Daniel HortonMich1074602.23
Brent LawsonMinn283152.12
Paul DavisMSU847442.08
Ryan TapakInd338172.01
Mike WilkinsonWisc1042522.00
Shannon BrownMSU687331.92
Chris HillMSU971461.89
Mike HendersonIowa13261.82
Dee BrownIll1153511.77
Brian RandleIll354151.69
James AugustineIll904381.68
Vedran VukusicNW1019421.65
Brandon Fuss-CheathamOSU730301.64
Aaron RobinsonMinn419171.62
Graham BrownMich673261.55
Jeff HagenMinn449171.51
Ben LuberPSU1064401.50





Blocks/40 min Leaders (Among Returning Players)
PlayerTeamMinBlkBlk/40
Erek HansenIowa253406.32
Courtney SimsMich750683.63
Brent PetwayMich446282.51
Pat Ewing Jr.Ind331172.05
James AugustineIll904421.86
Chris HunterMich332151.81
Nick SmithIll552241.74
Mike WilkinsonWisc1042411.57
Matt KieferPur588231.56
Greg BrunnerIowa836321.53
Brian RandleIll354111.24
Terence DialsOSU803201.00
Paul DavisMSU847190.90
Zach MorleyWisc810160.79
J.C. MathisMich40780.79
Matt SylvesterOSU16430.73
Sean KlineInd46880.68
Andreas HelmigkWisc30550.66
Roger Powell JrIll856140.65
Vedran VukusicNW1019160.63

Notes

- Mike Henderson probably shouldn't be listed since he played so few minutes last year, but hey, what good is a table on a Hawkeye blog if there are no Hawkeyes in it?

- Mike Wilkinson (Wisconsin) and Paul Davis (Michigan State) have been listed in all four tables (points, rebounds, steals, blocks) I've made the last few days. I guess that's why they're All Big Ten.

- Wow, Erek Hansen. He should have no trouble leading the conference in blocks if he swats shots anywhere near as often as he did last year.

- Damn you Blogger. Damn you.



Tuesday, November 16, 2004
 
Rebounding Review
Another post similar to yesterday, but this time we're looking at the Big Ten's best returning rebounders (based on rate, not totals).


2003-04 Rebounds/40 min Leaders (Among Returners)
Player TeamMinRebReb/40
Pat Ewing Jr.Ind33110212.33
Greg BrunnerIowa83623911.44
James AugustineIll90424210.71
Brent PetwayMich44611210.04
Terence DialsOSU8031989.86
J.C. MathisMich4071009.83
Aaron JohnsonPSU6101499.77
Zach MorleyWisc8101869.19
Jeff HagenMinn4491029.09
Chris HunterMich332748.92
Paul DavisMSU8471878.83
Courtney SimsMich7501618.59
Mike WilkinsonWisc10422198.41
Graham BrownMich6731398.26
Brian RandleIll354738.25
Roderick WilmontInd330688.24
Nick SmithIll5521077.75
Sean KlineInd468897.61
Ricardo BillingsOSU459867.49
Roger Powell JrIll8561607.48


Quick Notes
- Can Pat Ewing Jr. get some playing time? He led all conference returners in rebounds and steals (by a wide margin), and he was near the top in blocks as well (again, all these stats are measured per 40/minutes). I'll admit that I didn't get to see him play last year, so feel free to tell me that he doesn't deserve more than 12 minutes a game.

* * * Update * * *
File this under "Exhibition games don't really matter, but. . ."
- Through Indiana's first two games, Pat Ewing Jr. has 18 rebounds in 37 minutes (or 19.46 reb/40 min). Not too shabby. He also scored 30 points in that time, for a crazy 32.43 pts/40 min.

 
Less Than A Week Until Maui...
In the comments to one of my earlier posts I noted that I thought Iowa might have a disadvantage in the Maui Invitational due to their schedule prior to the tournament. Iowa plays Western Illinois this Friday, flies to Hawaii on Saturday, then starts a three-games-in-three-days tourney on Monday. That seemed like a really quick turnaround to me, but most of the tournament's other teams will be in a similar situation.

Friday, November 19
Stanford vs. San Francisco (Oakland, CA)
North Carolina vs. Santa Clara (Oakland, CA)
Western Illinois at Iowa
Texas State at Texas

Saturday, November 20
Louisville at BYU Hawaii (Laie, HA)

Others
BYU and Tennessee will have no regular season games under their belts when the tournament starts.

Chaminade opened their season last night with a win over Winona State, 67-64.

* * * Update * * *
I guess the Hawks aren't the only Iowa basketball program making a trip to Hawaii this season. I was scanning Chaminade's schedule and saw that Waldorf College from Forest City is making a trip out there to play the Silverswords on December 19.

Monday, November 15, 2004
 
Slow Day
Iowa doesn't play again until Friday, and I have a pretty busy week, so posting might be a little light for the next few days. Right now I'm thinking I'll run a few tables of the top returning players in the conference for various statistics. If that doesn't make you tremble with excitement, drop back at the end of the week for some talk about the season opener against Western Illinois.

A while back I posted some tables that listed the league's leading returners in points, rebounds, and assists. Today I want to take a closer look at points scoring and see who scored at the highest rate. Rather than just points per game, though, I want to rank players by their points per 40 minutes of playing time. This enables a more direct comparison by comparing what players score given equal amounts of playing time. Of course other factors will affect a player's scoring rate, like the tempo his team plays and the other players on the court, but this at least gives us a rough idea of how well guys can put up points.

Points per 40 minutes is simple to calculate. Divide points by minutes played, and multiply the result by 40.

In the interest of saving a little time, I'm not making the outlined tables like I did last time. Sorry if it gets a little sloppy.

2003-04 Big Ten Leaders (Among Returners), Pts/40 min
Rank, Player, Team, Minutes, Points, Pts/40 min

1. Paul Davis...............MSU....847...474...22.38
2. Bracey Wright...........Ind...1111...536...19.30
3. Pierre Pierce.......Iowa...1000...468...18.72
4. Lester Abram.........Mich....913...405...17.74
5. Roger Powell Jr.......... Ill...856...371...17.34
6. Chris Hill.................MSU...971...415...17.10
7. Deron Williams..........Ill...1017...420...16.52
8. Tony Stockman......OSU...972...393...16.17
9. Nick Smith...................Ill...552...223...16.16
10.Mike Wilkinson......Wisc..1042...419...16.08
11.Vedran Vukusic......NW...1019...400...15.70
12.Terence Dials.........OSU...803...313...15.59
13.Daniel Horton.........Mich..1074...415...15.46
14.David Teague.............Pur...922..356...15.44
15.Dee Brown.................Ill...1153...440...15.26
16.Greg Brunner.......Iowa...836...316...15.12
17.Maurice Ager..........MSU...676...254...15.03
18.J.J. Sullinger...........OSU...811...304...14.99
19.Kelvin Torbert.........MSU...863...321...14.88
20.Luther Head.................Ill...863...319...14.79

Notes
1. I'm looking for a good year from Ohio State's Terence Dials. He didn't rank very high on the points per game list because he only played 26.8 minutes a game last year, but he finished well on this list. OSU lost last year's starting center Velimir Radinovic, so Dials should see an increase in his minutes, and should therefore score more points. Dials is also the fifth-best Big Ten returner in rebounds per 40 min (check back for that tomorrow).

2. Illinois leads the list with five out of the 20 spots. Michigan State has four players listed, and Ohio State has three.

Sunday, November 14, 2004
 
Iowa 85, Laval 77
Iowa got another exhibition win today, but this one didn't come too easily. Laval kept within striking distance for most of the game. Carlton Reed hit a three at the buzzer to give Iowa a 44-33 halftime lead. Laval whittled the deficit to three in the second half, and were only down by six points at one point in the last minute of the game.

Coach Alford was not pleased with Iowa's defensive effort, and in a postgame interview he said they have a lot of work to do to prepare for next week's season opener. He said that the Hawks were too focused on the individual player they were guarding and did not offer enough help on defense, which Laval exploited with lots of screens and sharp cutting. Laval ended the game shooting 49%, including 9-20 from the perimeter.

Game Notes

Box Score



 
Almost Game Time
Iowa plays its last exhibition game at 2:05 this afternoon. Laval University comes here from Quebec to challenge the Hawkeyes. Laval doesn't have any starters over 6'7", so maybe Iowa will try to work the ball inside today and see what the big guys can do. I'd like to see Hansen get a few more touches today, just to see if he's a viable option offensively. I can't say I know anything else about Laval, but stop back after the game and I'll have a wrap-up of the game and all the big Hawkeye performances.


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