Iowa at Wisconsin
Yesterday I mentioned how Wisconsin's putrid long range shooting led to their upset loss versus Iowa, but Jim Polzin of the Wisconsin State Journal says that the real surprise is how easily Iowa was able to score against the Badgers.
Offensive slumps are nothing new to a team that relies heavily on its streaky shooters. The real head-scratcher was watching UW's defense look as bad as it did against Iowa, a 16½-point underdog.
The Hawkeyes (9-6, 1-1) only made two 3-pointers and still averaged 1.11 points per possession, the first time this season a team averaged better than 0.98 against the Badgers. Iowa scored on seven consecutive possessions late in the game and shot 49.2 percent overall to produce the most points by a UW opponent this season.
Rick Brown of the Des Moines Register reports that a brutal film session, in which Iowa players were forced to recap their loss to Purdue, helped pave the way from the win in Madison.
The film was Iowa’s 79-76 loss at home to Purdue Wednesday, a game where the Hawkeyes’ defense had coach Fran McCaffery incensed afterwards. Purdue shot 50 perfect from the field, and got numerous shots in the lane to squelch Iowa rallies.
Lesson learned. Iowa played much better defense Saturday, limiting the Badgers to 34.8 percent shooting in a 72-65 upset victory over the nation’s 11th-ranked team. Iowa also outrebounded the taller Badgers, 41-39.
OK, the reality is Wisconsin actually had a higher offensive rebounding percentage (37.0% to 35.3%) and was out-rebounded mostly on the defensive end thanks to all the missed threes. The real point is, they did a great job closing out Wisconsin's shooters, and the Badgers did not adjust by driving to the basket. Iowa won the free throw rate battle, 28.8% to 24.6%.
Michigan State at Nebraska
Draymond Green was held to zero assists on Saturday for the first time since his freshman season, but David Mayo of the Grand Rapids Press says that wasn't necessarily a bad thing.
But on a day when some key teammates struggled, the Spartans didn’t need the unselfish Green. They needed their best player to become a scorer, and he did, with 19 points, including 9-of-9 free-throw shooting, to push the comeback after a first half when Michigan State never led.
Ohio State at Indiana
Yesterday I noted that Ohio State turning the ball over at the end of each half helped turn the game in Indiana's favor. John M at the Crimson Quarry agrees that turnover margin was the main reason the Hoosiers pulled out of Saturday's foul fest with a win.
The turnover numbers are key. As I noted in my preview, Ohio State excels at taking care of the ball and forcing the other team into lots of turnovers. The same is true of IU, of course, but it was the Hoosiers who held to form. Ohio State coughed the ball up on 24 percent of its possessions, its worst total of the season, and forced IU into turnovers on only 16.6 percent of its possessions, the second-lowest for OSU of the season (only notoriously sure-handed Northwestern has taken better care of the ball against the Buckeyes this year). The turnover numbers were key, because in nearly every other respect (IU was modestly better at three point production), the Buckeyes had a modest advantage.
As you can see in the graph below, Ohio State was a little better than IU in each of the four factors that didn't involve turning the ball over.
Illinois at Purdue
BoilerTMill at Hammer and Rails was just as surprised as everyone else that Purdue was able to defeat Illinois so handily even without the usual production from Robbie Hummel.
If you had told me that Robbie Hummel would be outscored by Travis Carroll on Saturday I would likely have asked if we had replaced Illinois on the schedule with Cascade High School, one of Carroll's old Hendricks County foes. We're not going to have many games this year in which Rob is an almost non-factor, especially in the deciding minutes of the games, yet we when in a blowout. What we got yesterday was basketball nirvana. After Illinois trailed by only two at the half, Purdue came out and delivered 10 minutes of basketball perfection.
Purdue lit up the Illini from long distance in this game. With much thanks to Ryne Smith's 4 of 5 and D.J. Byrd's 2 of 3, Purdue hit on 53% of three-pointers.
The other D.J., Richardson of Illinois and his backcourt mate Brandon Paul both had successful scoring scoring games with 15 and 17 points, respectively. The problem for Illinois was getting the ball in the hands of Meyers Leonard. Although limited early on by foul trouble, Leonard still played 24 minutes, but he was only 2 of 4 from the field and 3 of 4 from the stripe. All that got the big man was 7 points to go with 3 turnovers. Not the best line against a Purdue team that doesn't have JaJuan Johnson anymore.