Initial thoughts on Northwestern's 67-62 win over Iowa:
- Chris Collins doesn't like efficiency stats. We've sort of come to an understanding that we're going to disagree there. But I'd like to think he'd like efficiency stats a little more if they said nice things about his team. So here's a look at some stats that can help you see just how crazy this offensive performance was from NU:
- At the half, NU had 1.15 points per possession. To put that in perspective, the Wildcats averaged .881 PPP in Big Ten play. That's a difference of roughly 16 points in a typical NU game in the Big Ten (60.7 possessions). That's an incredible game for the Wildcats.
- On that same note, Iowa has averaged 113 PPP in Big Ten play, good for second in the conference. The Hawkeyes had 1.02 PPP in this game. Great defense from the Wildcats
- NU didn't have an offensive rebound in the second half, but the Wildcats rebounded the ball very well in the first half. They rebounded 41.67 percent of their misses in the first 20 minutes. They had only rebounded a Big Ten-worst 20.1 percent of their misses in Big Ten play. Of concern is that Iowa rebounded 44 percent of its misses, but didn't convert on high-percentage shots near the basket.
- Iowa had 18 more FGAs and 5 more FTs than NU... and the Wildcats still won by 5.
- The Wildcats had an effective FG percentage of 64.8 percent. During Big Ten play, their eFG% was 43.4 percent.
Now on to non-stats...
- Collins said that this was the best game his team played all season. It's right up there with the win over Wisconsin. It was by far the best offensive performance against a solid opponent, and it was also a good defensive showing given how good Iowa has been on offense.
- Our Josh Rosenblat noted that NU went the first 10 minutes of the game without taking a mid-range jumper — it was all layups and threes. That's a good thing, efficiency-wise, and according to Drew Crawford, it was by design. The plan was to attack off the dribble, then kick if the Iowa defense collapsed and go strong to the hoop if it didn't. That's by far the most effective offense for this team, and it works even better when 1) Crawford and Demps are the ones driving, and 2) the "shooters" are actually hitting shots.
- NU will play Michigan State tomorrow at roughly 8 p.m. CT in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals. Tre Demps noted that the last time the two teams met, the Wildcats played well on offense, but struggled on defense. The goal will be to replicate tonight's performance.
- Collins called Michigan State the "standard of excellence" in the Big Ten.
- Were you vocal about NU's slim chances in this game? Well, do the same thing again tomorrow. According to Crawford, "The fact that nobody really gives us a chance, that's big-time motivation."
- This is Kale Abrahamson's first win over his home-state team. The last two losses came by 26 points each. He was really excited about this one in the locker room after the game.