Friday, January 14, 2011

Game Preview: Minnesota Gophers vs. Iowa Hawkeyes

Seeing as how it's already Friday, I'm going to make this preview short:  Iowa sucks.

Ok, I'll give you a bit more.  Iowa is a decent defensive squad, but a god awful offensive team.  They rank 150th or worse in the country in every offensive metric other than offensive rebound percentage, where they're ok (57th).  They're a bad shooting team (34% from three - 165th in the country, 47.6% from two - 173rd, and 64.5% on free throws - 284th), who turn the ball over all the time (21.7% of possessions, 224th in the country).  And although they're good at forcing turnovers and rebounding, they also let other teams shoot the lights out (166th vs. 3-pointers, 211th vs. the two-pointer).  Really, they're not a good team, and the Gophers should roll.

So why wouldn't they?  Other than the obvious hangover after the biggest win of the year, Iowa does actually have some decent players who, if a couple are playing well, could make this more work than it needs to be. Matt Gatens can still light it up at times, averaging 13.2 ppg and shooting 37% from three.  He just dropped 20 on Northwestern and hit up Illinois for 21 earlier this year. 

Bryce Cartwright, their new Fresno transfer point guard, is one of the top assist men in the conference (4.6 per game) and also scores 11 per, relying on penetration to lead to his points and easy buckets for his teammates.

Melsahn Basabe is maybe their most interesting player, having signed with McCafferey at Siena and then followed him to Iowa.  Basabe has games where he's invisible, but then will have games like he had against Ohio State where he scored 22 points, grabbed 13 boards, and blocked 6 shots while battling super stud Jared Sullinger or the 12-14-7 he put up against Iowa State.  I'm looking forward to him and Mbakwe battling.

Eric May showed a ton of promise as a do-everything type of player last year as a freshman, but hasn't really improved in year 2.  He's scored just 3 points in Iowa's last two games and has seen his minutes dwindle a bit.  He might be hurt, but I don't really know because I didn't look it up.

Then they've got a bunch of dorky big guys like Zach McCabe, Andrew Brommer, and Jarryd Cole - any of whom could potentially have a big game since they are all likely to get a lot of minutes as Iowa tries to deal with Minnesota's size, but probably won't.

Look, Iowa isn't as bad as I thought they were going to me, but that's still a far cry from being a good team.  I am expecting a bit of a slow start out of the Gophers, however, since they're going to be flying a bit too high and will likely take the Hawkeyes a bit too lightly, but their too talented to be seriously threatened here.

Minnesota 76, Iowa 62

1 comment:

Shina Willson said...

very informative and interesting blog.
Thanks for sharing:-)