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Hawks' Bully 'Cats: Love That Tempo Free

Fran McCaffrey sent waves and waves of handsy Hawkeyes to harrass the 'Cats out of their precision offense. Let's check out the tempo free take.

Make that a double, bartender.  Oy.
Make that a double, bartender. Oy.
Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Sorry I've been out for the last few games, SoP'ers. My home laptop died, and I had to wait a while before my brand new Sager 9150 arrived. Now I'm kicking out these posts on a sweet Core I7 CPU.

Pace and Points per Possession

I had Iowa with 63.8 and NU with 61.2. let's call it 62 possessions.

In terms of efficiency:
'Cats: 0.91
Iowa: 1.14

Four Factors

Effective Field Goal Percentage:

'Cats: 40.3%
Iowa: 52%

Turnover Percentage:

'Cats: 17.7%
Iowa 19.4%

Offensive Rebound Percentage:

'Cats: 33.3%
Iowa: 28%

Free Throw Attempts/Field Goal Attempts:

'Cats 22.8%
Iowa: 44%

Takes on the Tempo Free:

  • Even with all of those missed layups/inside shots, Iowa was able to score at a 52% eFG. They were pretty good from mid-range, and just decent enough from long distance (33%). Meanwhile, we couldn't make shots. (sad trombone)
  • Both teams did pretty good with TO% - given it's young guards, Iowa is really good with protecting the ball. At the same time, neither teams were known for forcing TOs.
  • At the half, NU had taken 40% of OREB while giving up only 18% on their end. As Swop and Olah went down, those numbers evened out - but NU still finished with a good performance on the glass. Of course, OREB matters less when the other team is making shots, but in that first half, that kept us in the game.
  • Iowa knows how to get to the line - and they performed better than their season average (70%) at FT. That gave them 4 points more than usual from FTs. With Swop and Olah gone, we stayed very perimeter in the second half and were not able to force the bonus in the 2nd half like we did in the 1st. A bright ray of sunshine: the 'Cats were 11-13 from the FT line, a super 84.6%. Only if they could've just shot like that all year -- their in-conference FTA/FGA is 38.3, good for 3rd in conference. Outside of TO%, its one of their few "elite" offensive stats.

The 'Cats "3 Factors"

Savvy Veteran Watch (a.k.a. "How'd Swop, Sobo and Reggie do?")

Swop: 26 m, 8 pts, 7 rebs, 1 stl, 1 TO
Reggie: 34 m, 13 pts, 6 rebs, 3 ast, 2 stl, 5 TO
Sobo: 38 m, 4 pts, 4 rebs, 2 ast, 3 TO

Even without Olah, Swop was battling tough underneath. He would've finished at least 12-12 and given us a fighting chance if it wasn't for that knee injury. Meanwhile, Reggie just did not look right after getting conked. He appeared to be frustrated by Iowa's handsy defense, and made many looks to the refs out of exasperation. Finally, Sobo did not produce - he needed to hit from distance to open up the middle, and it didn't happen. Of the 'Cats "3 Factors" - veteran play is probably our biggest factor, and when these guys didn't produce (or were straight up knocked out of the game) then we were in major trouble.

How'd we do at the 5?

Alex Olah: 10 m, 6 pts, 4 reb
Mike Turner: 25 m, 1 pt, 1 reb, 2 ast
Nikola Cerina: 3 min, 2 ast

The second of the "Cats 3 Factors" is our play at the 5, and before the injury, had liked the "platoon" that Carmody was using. By rotating them in and out, it seemed to preserve Olah's legs, and while he's not a scorer, at least Turner can facilitate the offense. Unfortunately with Olah's injury, that went out the window. Given all of the punishment that Olah's probably dealt with in the B1G, it was scary to see an errant forearm (flailing hand?) cause the big Romanian to crumple. Everyone's calling for Cerina, but I'm not buying it - he can't move worth jack out there. And in this precision offense, or at least on the man-to-man, if you can't move laterally, then you're screwed.

Life without Drew and Jershon

Ladies and gentlemen, here is your wing play:
Kale Abe: 12 m, 8 pts, 1 reb, 1 stl
Marco: 24 m, 8 pts, 2 reb, 2 stl, 0 TO
Tre Demps: 23 m, 8 pts, 3 reb, 2 ast, 1 TO

On any other night, I'd be happy with this production. 24 points, 6 rebs and 3 steals? Of course, that's assuming that the Hearn/Swop/Sobo combo would've given us season averages. Loved seeing Kale bounce back after an airball (although defensively, he's still got alot of work to do in terms of his positioning). Tre was Tre - in that he looks pretty good in setting his shot up or finding that open shot on the slip screen for 3. Unfortunately, just cause it looks good coming off his hand, does it mean that it's going in. Finally, Marco looked good. However, he just couldn't do enough.


  • Aaron White killed us last game, but this time it was a full team effort. If it wasn't Basabe establishing himself inside, it was Roy Devyn Marble being a terrific slasher and shooter. If it wasn't Aaron White banging inside, then it's Oglesby hitting from distance. Iowa played tough - but I'd expect that as they were at home (and got the benefit of the calls), and had their tourney hopes on the line.
  • That being said, if Olah and Swop play all their minutes, the 'Cats had a fighting chance in this one and the 'Cats had acquitted themselves much better than the previous loss. While our FG percentage defense didn't show it, I thought our defense was much better in the first half (due to the defensive boarding).
  • Moving forward: 'Cats head to Columbus to take on a salty bunch of Buckeyes who just dropped back to back games. Yeah, I know - this seems to be when the 'Cats are at their best, when everyone else has written them off. However, without Olah and Swop (not confirmed, but I'm guessing that will be the case), this has road beatdown written all over it. Burn or no burn.