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Sunday, February 06, 2005
 
Stats Update
I added a page to rank Big Ten teams by a few different statistics for conference games -
- off/def efficiency
- adjFG%
- TO/poss
- off rebound rate
- FTA/FGA

The link is in the upper right corner of the sidebar. I'll try to keep it updated each Sunday night.

 
Iowa-MSU by the Numbers
The big question coming in to yesterday's game was how Iowa's offense could handle the loss of leading scorer Pierre Pierce. Conventional wisdom said that Pierce's contributions were irreplaceable, and Iowa's offense would struggle without him.

While the Hawkeyes did struggle to penetrate at times, and shot very poorly from the field, the offense was just fine. Defense cost them their game this weekend.

Let's do the math (here's the box score) -
MSU = 55 FGA - 12 Oreb + 9 TO + 0.4 x 29 FTA = 63.6 possessions
Iowa = 52 FGA - 13 Oreb +8 TO + 0.4 x 42 FTA = 63.8 possessions

So there were roughly 64 possessions in this game.

Iowa scored 64 points on their 64 possessions. That's an offensive rating of 100, compared to Iowa's 102 through its first 7 Big Ten games. Keep in mind that that 100 came against the Big Ten's second-best defense. MSU's current defensive rating is 98, compared to the league average of 104. So I don't think there's any reason to panic about Iowa's offense.

Iowa's defense was lit up to the tune of a 117 defensive rating. That was mostly due to MSU limiting its turnovers and shooting well on a high number of free throws.

A quick look at some other notable numbers -

adjFG%
MSU - 47%
Iowa - 31%

TO/poss
MSU - 14%
Iowa - 13%

Oreb rate
MSU - 34%
Iowa - 32%

FTA/FGA
MSU - 0.53
Iowa - 0.81

I was worried coming into the game that MSU would crush the Hawks with offensive rebounding, but that didn't turn out to be the case. The Spartans grabbed 12 offensive boards to Iowa's 23 defensive rebounds, a rate below their third-in-the-Big-Ten 37%. So it was a good effort by the Hawks on the glass (hmmm, Erek Hansen plays only 14 min, Iowa does OK on allowing offensive rebounds......is there a correlation?).

So as you can see, Iowa dug itself a huge hole with its poor shooting, but closed some of the gap by shooting a lot of free throws. Haluska and Horner shot almost half of the free throws, leading to a very respectable 76% for the day.

Here's how the players did individually -

Player....................Min........Floor%......Off Rtg.....%Poss
Greg Brunner........23...........0.633...........132........28.0%
Erek Hansen..........14...........0.379.............95........17.0%
Adam Haluska.......35...........0.615...........131........29.0%
Jeff Horner............38............0.393............97.........21.1%
Mike Henderson.....33............0.296............55........12.0%
Alex Thompson.....14............0.325............72.........26.7%
Doug Thomas........22...........0.217.............38........18.3%
Carlton Reed..........17...........0.077.............17..........6.7%
Seth Gorney............4............0.000..............0..........0.0%



 
Michigan State 75, Iowa 64
Enough Iowa fans crowded into Carver-Hawkeye yesterday to give the Arena its first sell-out of the season, and they were treated to a strong second half comeback. Iowa played a decent game, without the services of recently dismissed leading scorer Pierre Pierce, but ultimately came up short and lost 75-64.

The Hawks started the game very cold from the field and could only muster 5 field goals in 22 first half attempts (23%), and didn't hit their third field goal until the 4:52 mark. They seemed to get fouled every time they went inside, though, and kept the game within reach by shooting 23 first half free throws, making 16. Greg Brunner picked up his second foul before the first TV timeout, and his absence was a major factor in the team's offensive struggle. Iowa was able to keep the deficit around ten points, but Michigan State banked in a three to beat the shot clock on their last possession of the half to lead 39-27.

MSU opened the second half with a 14-4 run in the first 4 and a half minutes to reach their largest lead of the game (22). Iowa answered with a 16-4 run of its own, fueled mainly by the rebounding and 7 points from Brunner. But he picked up another foul with just over 9 minutes left, and Iowa would again struggle without him.

The Iowa crowd was as energetic as it has been all season, and even stood for extended periods of time, especially at the end of the game. As far as pure excitement at a basketball game goes, there aren't many moments greater than the crescendo of crowd noise during a series of successful plays. The following run was one such set of plays -

3:00 MSU 67, IA 58
2:42 offensive rebound, Doug Thomas
2:42 2 FTM, Greg Brunner, 67-60
2:21 steal by Doug Thomas
2:07 layup by Greg Brunner, 67-62

Michigan State found Paul Davis open on the baseline on their next possession. He went up for what looked to be the exclamation point two-handed dunk. But Brunner slid over and and reached up for what looked like a game-saving block. The crowd initially erupted, but a late whistle turned into Brunner's 5th foul, and with 1:25 left, it looked like all hope was lost.

Just when Iowa needed help the most, Paul Davis missed both free throws. On the other end, Jeff Horner drove into traffic and threw up an off-balance runner that somehow kissed the backboard and spun into the basket, and a ref's whistle pierced the frenzied screams of the crowd......count the basket! But Iowa's magic act would end there. The refs somehow called Horner for a charge (yet counted the basket). I've never understood that call, and I won't pretend to now. I will say that on the news it looked like the MSU player was clearly under the basket when Horner fell onto him after his shot.

The call proved to be the rally killer, as MSU made two free throws on Horner's foul to reach a 5 point lead, then added six more in the final minute as Iowa scrambled to stop the clock. All in all, it was a great effort from a group that looked overmatched against the Big Ten's best defense.

Game Notes




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