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It’s time to buy into Iowa Hawkeyes Basketball

You can look at Iowa’s 89-82 victory however you want.

I guess it was concerning Iowa gave up 82 points to a team which averaged 58 points per conference game coming into the season. Between you, me, and the fence post, we knew Iowa’s defense wasn’t good. But it doesn’t have to be good. The fast pace of the game meant Iowa gave up just 1.09 points a possession, though, which is a winning number. The only game Iowa has lost with a better defense this year is to Wisconsin.

Offensively, it was incredibly impressive. Iowa was comfortable leaning on flaming hot perimeter shooting throughout much of the first half (9/19) before powering it inside during the second half against a fatigued Nittany Lion back line for 32 points in the paint. All against a top 20ish defense who gave up 89 points just one other time, against North Carolina State, in a game with 5 more possessions. In other words, it was the best offensive performance Penn State has allowed this season

You can say whatever you want about this Iowa team. I’m ready to say they’re good. Perhaps really good.

They’re currently 11th in adjusted offensive efficiency (up from 14th prior to the PSU game) and 86th in adjusted defensive efficiency (down from 82nd). In KenPom’s history (2002), 14 out of 17 teams with an offensive efficiency between 10th and 20th and a defensive efficiency between 75th and 100th have gotten into the tournament.

Iowa has shown that the progress made is not a fluke. Last year’s offensive numbers (a significant jump over Peter Jok’s senior season) are holding weight as Iowa has improved upon them. The offseason focus on the defense is proving to be true.

Finally, Iowa’s tighter rotation is allowing guys to shine – particularly Ryan Kriener and Isaiah Moss. The cavalry came in Joe Wieskamp and Connor McCaffery. They’re able to beat Big Ten teams, on the road, without their best player, Tyler Cook.

After Sunday’s game against Illinois, the competition steps up big time. Even Illinois has proven, once again, nothing comes easy in the Big Ten. If Iowa can continue to play like they have been, there’s reason to believe this team is as good as any during Fran’s tenure.

14) Penn State Nittany Lions; 7-11 (0-7) (LT: 12)

13) Rutgers Scarlet Knights; 8-8 (1-5) (LT: 13)

12) Northwestern Wildcats; 10-7 (1-5) (LT: 11)

11) Illinois Fighting Illini; 5-12 (1-5) (LT: 14)

10) Minnesota Golden Gophers; 13-4 (3-3) (LT: 7)

9) Wisconsin Badgers; 11-6 (3-3) (LT: 6)

The main reason I am taking Power Rankings onto this blog other than having another point of record before getting hitched is an Ethan Happ rant:

If any Hawkeye shot free throws as poorly as Ethan Happ has for the last four years, it would hardly matter what else he did, he would be reviled. I do not understand how someone can be so bad for so long at free throws. He has GOTTEN WORSE. It’s literally unbelievable. And he’s #2 in KenPom rankings. WHAT THE HELL

8) Indiana Hoosiers; 12-3 (3-3) (LT: 4)

7) Ohio State Buckeyes; 12-4 (2-3) (LT: 3)

6) Nebraska Cornhuskers; 13-4 (3-3) (LT: 5)

5) Iowa Hawkeyes; 15-3 (4-3) (LT: 9)

4) Purdue Boilermakers; 11-6 (4-2) (LT: 8)

3) Maryland Terrapins; 15-3 (6-1) (LT: 10)

Sorry, I had to break my totally arbitrary rule of not moving a team more than four spots but the Big Ten’s second tier is very murky.

2) Michigan State Spartans; 15-2 (6-0) (LT: 2)

1) Michigan Wolverines; 17-0 (6-0) (LT: 1)

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