Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Slow and Steady could be Deadly

See how I rhymed the title there? That's good writing. Anyway, I'm going to attempt to preview the Gopher/Iowa game taking place tomorrow night, but keep in mind Iowa is very boring so this might put me right to sleep - much like your reaction to this post, no doubt.

When I say boring, I'm not just talking about their stupid team in their stupid state where they have a casino that won't let you in if they can smell alcohol on your breath, even if it's the morning after drinking the beer they sell in their stupid casino, I'm talking about a boring, boring team. They rank 344th in the NCAA in tempo, which ranks dead last in Division I. The scary thing, and make no mistake, Iowa is scary especially in Iowa City or Des Moines or Dubuque or wherever the hell they are, is they are very efficient with those few possessions. The Hawkeyes rank fourth in the country in effective field goal percentage, which essentially weights three pointers made more than two pointers made. They also rank 6th in 3-point shooting percentage, and 25th in 2-point field goal percentage.

They are not only proficient in shooting the three, but they shoot a ton of them. Forty-eight percent of Iowa's shot attempts are from beyond the arc, which ranks fifth in the country. And it's not just one guy who hoists 'em, the Hawkeyes have four guys in the top 25 in the Big Ten in 3-point attempts, with traitor Anthony Tucker fifth, Devan Bawinkel (what?) 18th, Jake Kelly 24th, and Matt Gatens 25th with all but Kelly hitting over 40% and Gatens leading the conference at 54%. Basically, their offense is to pass-pass-pass until you fall asleep and they get an open three pointer. If Dan Monson was still the coach this would be a slaughter by Iowa, as I'm pretty sure he didn't even tell his guys they could go beyond the three point line to play defense. With Tubby here, this is less of a concern as the Gophers only allow opponents to hit 32% of their threes, ranking in the top quartile in the country. Even better, the Hawkeyes are one of the worst in the country at offensive rebounding, so that particular Gopher weakness shouldn't come in to play. SHOULDN'T.

As far as defense goes, the Hawkeyes sort of have a reputation of being a tough defensive team, at least in my head, but they are pretty much smack in the middle of average. Their defense just looks better because they play at such a slow pace, the opposing team doesn't have much of a chance to score a lot. They don't turn teams over at all, and don't defend the three very well.

Individually, the Hawks are guard orientated, with their top four scorers (Tucker, Gatens, Jeff Peterson, and Kelly) guards and only one of their top seven in minutes who is taller than 6-6 in Cyrus Tate. The rest of the big guys are a mishmash of young guys of dubious potential whose only role is to set screens and attempt to slow down the other team's post players.

This shouldn't be a problem. The biggest key is patience and discipline. Iowa will make you work all 35 seconds on defense and offense. On defense, stay disciplined and stay on the ball. They can't beat the Gophers speed off the dribble, and they won't be able to score in the paint. Don't get lazy or reckless and end up giving up the open three, and things should be fine. On offense get out and run. Iowa doesn't offensively rebound, and they don't have the athletes to keep up with the Gophers. So run. And if it's not there, don't force it. Run a solid offense. The shots will be there both in transition and the half-court, as long as they stay patient.

That being said, since this is still the Gophers - Tubby or not - I fully expect a disappointing effort. Be honest, so are you. Too many forced shots and too many lapses on defense will lead to a ten point Iowa lead at half, and the Gophers will tighten it up at the end, but too many Iowa threes and an inexplicable offensive rebounding explosion by the Hawkeyes will bring it to the wire. That's where I'm expecting traitor Andrew Brommer to hit two improbable free throws at the end of the game to win it for the Hawks, despite his unfathomable 5-22 (23%) season at the line so far. Hawkeyes take it, 55-54.

Also, can I just quickly ask what the hell ESPN is thinking with this NBA-NCAA announcer swap? Two NBA announcers will be calling tonight's Davidson/Duke game, while some guy and Dickie V call some stupid NBA game. What is the point? Just when I think ESPN can't get any more stupid or hokey, they pull this retarded crap. Great, instead of listening to people who know about the college game slobber all over Stephen Curry, I get to listen to people who don't know shit slobber all over him instead. I just don't get it, man. Can't you just give us freaking sports news and sports highlights and leave the cutesy crap to E! or MTV?


Anonymous said...

Hottest chick yet.

snacks said...

no way they lost tonight. but I do expect it to be ugly.

Amanda Jax said...

Soudns like Anthony Tucker is out for tonights game with Mono. I guess Tucker makes a habbit of making out with sluts while trying to drink himself to death. Also, who blacks out at .018??? This Tucker kid drinks like WWWWW.

tubtastic said...

Gophers by 15 - Hoffbauer and Colt go off and Kevin Payton desecrates an ear of corn in pre-game warm-ups causing the Carver-Suckeye fans to self-mutilate themselves and soil their overalls.

snacks said...

snacks said:

"no way they lost (sic) tonight. but I do expect it to be ugly."

I feel like dawg after the louisville game. Dead on.

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