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KenPom Case Study: Iowa’s Defensive Efficiency

Increasingly there are media and fans who talk about KenPom.com. In theory, this is wonderful. We believe the site is an excellent resource and appreciate the continual work that Ken has been putting into it. A subscription is highly recommended.

Much of the site is a database of information that many others calculate themselves. “Basic” advanced statistics for college basketball are difficult enough for much of the media and fans to understand, but when you get to the unique proprietary analysis (i.e., KenPom rankings), even those with a grasp of the basics are often confused.

Continue reading KenPom Case Study: Iowa’s Defensive Efficiency

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2012-13 Preview: #8 Iowa Hawkeyes

Fran McCaffery has things headed in the right direction for Iowa and it’s possible that a year from now the Hawkeyes will be in the conversation of Big Ten championship contenders.

There is a lot of talent on this year’s roster and it’s nicely spread out between classes. However, there are a few key questions that are unanswered as the 2012-13 season begins and these are enough to keep Iowa out of the top half of the conference until next year.

Glass Half Full 

Many players with experience but also room to grow 

Roy Devyn Marble (29.5 mpg, 11.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 3.6 apg) put together a strong sophomore year and could make a name for himself as one of the better players in the conference this season. McCaffery would like to see consistency in Marble’s shooting and for him to be the go to guy when a bucket is needed or when the game is on the line.

The preference would be to have Devyn stay off the ball, but he may need to play some point if true freshman Mike Gessell struggles.

Big shooting guard Josh Oglesby (18.7 mpg, 6.4 ppg, 37.2% 3FG) is a real threat from the perimeter and the Hawks will look to him to make up for some of the production lost from graduating senior Matt Gatens. As long as he maintains his confidence at a high level, the 6’5” Oglesby can be one of the better 3-point shooters in the conference.

Forward Aaron White, a 6’8” sophomore, had an impressive first year on campus. In 23.8 minutes per game he averaged 11.1 points and 5.7 rebounds. As a freshman, he was one of the conference’s top 10 rebounders on both sides of the floor. White shot well inside (56.9% 2FG) and could improve on his outside accuracy (17/61 for 27.9%).

Melsahn Basabe’s (20.1 mpg, 8.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg) play as a sophomore was down a bit, but he’s an athletic forward who can rebound, block shots and draw fouls. He’s lost weight since a year ago and we believe he can show nice progression as compared to last season.

Other returners including 6’5” senior Eric May (4.3 ppg, 2.4 rpg), 6’7” junior Zach McCabe (7.8 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 44.9% 3FG) and athletic 6’10” sophomore Gabe Olaseni (1.4 ppg, 1.2 rpg) provide other respectable options.

Impact freshmen

Adam Woodbury is a 7’1” center who was ranked #42 in the RSCI for the 2012 class. He provides the Hawkeyes with a big man who can post up on offense, but the key for him as a freshman will be how well he runs the floor and defends. On the glass, Woodbury should be able to mix it up with most anyone from day one.

Mike Gessell (#88 RSCI) is a true point guard and strong competitor who will be ready to contribute right away. How he blends in offensively and his ability to defend on the perimeter are very important to this year’s team.

Gessell should not have a problem being more efficient than former guard Bryce Cartwright, who was a senior last year. Cartwright would sometimes get praise because he did put some points and assists on the score sheet, but he was careless with the ball and unable to shoot well. 

Glass Half Empty


Iowa’s defense could not stop 2-point field goals last year and that remains a concern. Opponents frequently got to the rim for easy buckets and the Hawkeyes must improve defensively if they’re going to reach the NCAA tournament this year.

Certainly having big Adam Woodbury in the middle should help, but there are still significant concerns about Iowa’s defense.

Replacing Gatens

Senior guard Matt Gatens was incredibly productive last year (15.2 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 57.0% eFG, 75/183 3FG for 41.0%, 10% turnover rate) and others will need to pick it up in 2012-13. There are plenty of guys that can help, but one player isn’t going to replicate Gatens’ Value Add by himself.

Other Comments 

  • Iowa projects to be scary good in 2013-14. Eric May is the only scholarship senior this year and transfer Jarrod Uthoff, a versatile 6’8” forward who played AAU with Oglesby, will be eligible.
  • 2013 Recruiting: Peter Jok  is a 6’5” native of Sudan who has played his high school basketball in Iowa. Jok has seen his stock drop over the years but some of that can be attributed to injury. His commitment to Iowa this fall was met with a lot less excitement than it would have a few years ago, but there is potential. 

A Look Back at 2011-12 Preseason Preview Quote(s)
“Matt Gatens, a 6’5″ senior, is a solid wing and very important to this team. He has averaged double-figures in each of his first three season and prefers to shoot the trey. The shot is nice and his free throws are money (87% for his career), but the deep ball has not been consistent. After converting 40% of his 3FG attempts as a freshman, he’s been at 33% over the past two seasons. If he’s able to get his game going from deep and attack the basket a bit more, Gatens could average 15 points and help his team to exceed expectations.”

“The 2013-14 season especially looks to have lots of potential. That said, two years is an eternity and it’s a little too soon for celebration as the road to success is never as easy as it may seem.”

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Fact Check! Fran McCaffery’s new contract with Iowa

FACT CHECK: Iowa says men’s head basketball coach Fran McCaffery’s new deal puts him in the upper half of Big Ten Conference with regard to guaranteed compensation.

Is this claim factual? No.

How outrageous is this claim? Not very. Whether a simple mistake or a white lie, we’re talking about Iowa and a coaching contract we actually like. Let’s give them a break (especially after Licklighter).

“The seven-year agreement guarantees McCaffery a minimum average of $1.66 million annually over the length of the contract, beginning with a base salary of $1.3 million in 2012-13. The base salary moves McCaffery to the upper half of the Big Ten Conference in comparison to his colleagues.”

The University of Iowa said in July 2012 that a new deal between the school and head coach Fran McCaffery moves his base salary into the upper half of the Big Ten Conference in comparison to other head coaches. In this context the school is using “base salary” to mean guaranteed pay, but the comparison does not include various incentives that could be earned.

Overall, I like the contract. The school is providing a significant financial incentive for McCaffery to get the team into the NCAA tournament and to do so quickly. However, the claim of their head coach’s guaranteed compensation being in the upper half of the conference is simply untrue.

Specifically, let’s consider the six Big Ten teams who are likely to be preseason picks to finish higher than Iowa this season: Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State and Wisconsin. The head coach of each of those programs earns more guaranteed compensation than McCaffery’s new deal. We could go on (by looking at Purdue’s Matt Painter, for example), but we’re already comfortable stating that McCaffery’s guaranteed compensation remains in the bottom half of the conference and not in the top half as the University of Iowa has claimed.

Original article being fact checked:
Coach’s teams have revitalized the Hawkeye fan base

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